Motion to Vote on Parking Garage MOU Fails

Annapolis Patch reports:

The Anne Arundel County Board of Education chose not to move towards a vote in establishing a memorandum of understanding with the Annapolis City Council.

A proposed downtown parking garage is facing yet another hurdle.

A motion to act on a memorandum of understanding with the Annapolis City Council regarding the project failed to pass with a 3-2 vote Wednesday by the Anne Arundel County Board of Education.

The memorandum is an agreement between the Anne Arundel County Board of Education and the City Council to work cooperatively on the proposal, if it passes the council.

The vote Wednesday wasn’t to determine if the memorandum would be reached, only to see if the board would actually vote on the matter.

“We don’t have any specific plans, that’s right,” Alderman Ross Arnett (D-8th Ward) said. “We have not been given the signal to go forth,” regarding the lack of a memorandum.

If plans for the parking garage are approved, it would sit on top of the Annapolis City Playground, which is situated near the historic Annapolis Elementary School.

Patricia Nalley, president of the Board of Education, expressed her disapproval of the overall project.

“I don’t see any good this does for the children,” Nalley said.

Board member Eugene Petersen abstained from voting, citing a conflict of interest because he’s a city government employee.

Alderwoman Sheila Finlayson (D-4th Ward) urged the Board of Education members to go forward with the project stating that the proposal includes plans for a new, larger waterfront playground and a new, smaller school playground.

“I ask you today to allow us to move forward,” Finlayson said.

Bob Burden, president and CEO of the Annapolis Chamber of Commerce, asked the Board of Education to vote in favor of the memorandum in order to open a constructive dialogue.

“We’re here to ask you as a stakeholder in engaging this vision and this idea, and looking at how this idea and its possibilities exist,” Burden said.

Chris Stelzig, the president of Annapolis Elementary PTA, who also started the anti-garage petition, previously told Patch that he doesn’t believe the city would deliver on its promise for a new playground and that the proposed location by the waterfront is unsafe. He shared his displeasure for the project at the meeting.

“I want my spring back, I want my day job back. I’m tired of having to come here and refute arguments that the city leaders should not be making,” Stelzig said.

The City Council will host a public hearing on the matter at its April 23 meeting. The Board of Education will revisit the memorandum item during its May 2 meeting, according to schools spokesman Bob Mosier.

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