By Steve Adams
In a region where the call for more high-quality public water access is a constant, residents have a few more acres of it to look forward to—eventually. A $483,500 facelift is coming to what’s currently called College Creek Park, located at the intersection of Clay Street and Glenwood Street in downtown Annapolis.
Supported by a $200,000 Community Legacy grant from the State of Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (MDHD), the City of Annapolis’s large-scale revitalization of the now-dilapidated waterfront park will include site preparation and grading, making egress to the water from the street level easier; hardscape and plantings to stabilize the shoreline; site furnishing, lighting, and signage—all to make the park a more appealing destination for both residents and visitors.
“Public water access is a priority for my administration,” Mayor Gavin Buckley said in a press release announcing the city’s receipt of the grant. “Last year, we saw an opportunity to upgrade an existing location where water access is all but impossible because of the state of the existing structures at the site. I’m grateful to Theresa Wellman for finding this funding and to the Department of Planning and Zoning for working with the community to come up with a design.”
Once complete, the park will help achieve the grant program’s goal of “strengthening communities” by providing an attractive physical space in a neighborhood that has been designated a Sustainable Community.
“Mayor Buckley hopes the park will be a resource to the Clay Street community,” City of Annapolis Public Information Officer Mitchelle Stephenson told CBM Bay Weekly. “Water access can improve quality of life for residents of any neighborhood through recreational opportunities, the aesthetics of greenspace, opportunities for fishing and crabbing, and continued fostering appreciation of the ecology, the environment and the Chesapeake Bay.”
The revitalized park will be renamed and dedicated in honor of a pillar of the Clay Street and surrounding community: Robert Eades. A lifelong Annapolis resident who most recently lived on Pleasant Street, just a stone’s throw from the park, Eades served for decades as an activist for the city’s public housing communities, becoming a regular at City Council meetings, before he died from COVID-19 in August 2020.
Beyond its name, Robert Eades Park will represent the larger community by reflecting the substantial role that many local residents played in its design. According to Stephenson, a survey of the neighborhood revealed that respondents wanted a plaque to honor Eades, an accessible path to the water, and an observation deck as desired amenities. Residents of the Morris Blum senior housing complex provided input at meetings and the community reviewed the draft design completed by Annapolis Landscape Architects, LLC.
“The community provided input as to how the park would be used and what they wanted it to look like,” said Alderwoman Karma O’Neill (Ward 2) in a press release. “I am grateful for their ideas and participation. With the location directly across from Morris Blum Senior Housing and next to the Mary Moss Academy, I know this park will be used and enjoyed by people of all ages.”