How does a Parking Garage Fight Climate Change?

two people holding a sign with the words easy parking for busy people.

Donor Engagement Manager Melanie Kincaid and Development Director Laura Wood celebrate climate resiliency (and a new parking garage) in Annapolis.

On June 14, two Maryland LCV staffers took a short break from work to wander down the street to celebrate the reopening of a parking garage in Annapolis. Their outing might sound like a boondoggle – but, in reality, the celebration was about not just a new parking garage, but an innovative approach to tackling and financing a climate change resilience strategy for Annapolis’s threatened downtown.

In 2017, when the existing garage was 45 years old, engineers determined it to be at the end of its service life and a complete replacement was recommended. In 2019, a group of 100 stakeholders, known as the City Dock Action Committee (CDAC) was appointed to focus on a resilience strategy for Annapolis’ downtown and historic City Dock.

City Dock was facing upwards of 50 days of “sunny day” or “nuisance” flooding each year. The Committee’s task was to come up with a resilience strategy to replace the blacktop and parking at City Dock with a world-class park, relocate the parking into a new parking facility, while providing a mechanism to fund the new garage and elements of the City Dock resiliency project. Since resilience projects can cost tens of millions of dollars, the City chose to redevelop Hillman Garage through a Public Private Partnership (P3) to provide up-front funding for the City Dock work.

Annapolis’s approach is worth celebrating, says Maryland LCV Development Director Laura Wood.

“As climate change threatens the places we love throughout the state, as well as our health and our economy, we need to be more creative about how we address this crisis,” said Wood. “Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckely has shown over the years that he is both creative and committed to aggressively addressing the city’s climate-related flooding challenges. Maryland LCV applauds his efforts and the public/private partnership that is innovatively financing new climate change infrastructure.”