Navy seeks comments on plans for larger Naval Academy alumni center
By MEREDITH NEWMAN | The Capital, Annapolis, Md. | Published: January 25, 2017
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (Tribune News Service) — The Navy is seeking public comment on its plans to create a new Naval Academy alumni center in Annapolis and the environmental impacts that could come with each of those plans.
The Naval Academy Alumni Association and the Naval Academy Foundation hosted a meeting to gather input from the public Tuesday night at the Loews Hotel in Annapolis. The meeting consisted of a handful of representatives from interested parties learning about the Navy's potential plans.
Right now, the Alumni Association is at 247 King George St. and the Academy Foundation is at 25 Maryland Ave. in Annapolis. The Navy is accepting public comments until Feb. 9.
In the plan's environmental assessment, the Navy wrote that its proposal would lease property to the academy's Alumni Association and the Academy Foundation on Naval Support Activity Annapolis.
The two nonprofits are proposing to build an "Alumni Service Center and Headquarters facility" or renovate a current building for the same purpose.
The two potential locations are the Perry Center, which houses the academy's laundry and mail facilities, or a medical building on the Naval Support Activity Annapolis' yard, located on Wood Road at Hospital Point.
The project began in October 2015 and the Navy plans to make a decision this May, said Matthew Klimiski, environmental division director of NSA Annapolis. The project would take about two years to complete.
Klimiski added that the goal of the project is to better use the space available at NSA Annapolis.
The NSA Annapolis is across the Severn River from the academy, and is more than 1,500 acres and has about 400 buildings, according to its website.
The Navy proposed two alternative sites: In the first scenario, the Navy would have a ground lease with the Alumni Association and the foundation. The two organizations would build a new 29,000-square-foot facility with a parking lot at the Perry Center.
The two organizations would move their staffs to the new facility, and the Alumni Association would use the property in Annapolis for events. The foundation's current lease would be terminated.
The construction of the building would lead to demolishing five buildings near the area. The staff in those buildings would relocate to other facilities.
In the second option, the Navy would enter a space lease with the organization for use of a building on Wood Road at Hospital point on the NSA Annapolis yard. The organizations would renovate the building. The Alumni Association would continue to use the Annapolis building and the foundation would terminate its lease.
The Navy also acknowledged a "No Action Alternative" in the proposal, in which the organizations would continue to operate in their current spaces.
If the center was built at the Perry Center, the environmental impacts would include a "minimal long-term adverse" impact on water resources, and could have impacts on parking, sidewalks and traffic.
The second option, at Hospital Point, could have "minimal long-term adverse" impact on noise in the area. The Navy said both options could have short-term effects on soil, air quality and biological resources in the area.
One of the major components of the environmental assessment looks at the plan's impact on the city's historic properties. Both alternatives are either near or in the academy's historic district or the Colonial Annapolis Historic District.
The Navy said in the plan that it will develop a programmatic agreement with the Maryland Historical Trust.
Roberta Laynor, Annapolis historic preservation coordinator, attended the public meeting on behalf of the city's Historic Preservation Commission. The group plans to submit comments, Laynor said, and wants to make sure the plans save as much historic property as possible.
Right now, the location of the Alumni Association can be limiting in size and parking, said Kristen Pironis, spokeswoman for the association. The idea of expanding is a "really exciting opportunity" for the organization, she said.
"It's going to be a better way to be a part of the Naval Academy community and serve our alumni," she said.
Residents can email comments about the project to firstname.lastname@example.org.