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CRISFIELD — The City of Crisfield is submitting requests to U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen along with Congressman Andy Harris for congressionally directed spending, or an …
CRISFIELD — The City of Crisfield is submitting requests to U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen along with Congressman Andy Harris for congressionally directed spending, or an earmark, of $2.5 million to make essential improvements to the City Dock.
These applications are quite competitive, and city leaders are asking for residents and friends of Crisfield to add their names in support these applications by clicking the “Support for Dock” link on the city’s website, https://www.cityofcrisfield-md.gov/.
“The City Dock is critical infrastructure for Crisfield,” says grant administrator Jen Merritt. “It serves as the port for the U.S. mail boats to Smith and Tangier islands, which also transport medical supplies, medical personnel, and food to these islands. It also serves for passenger ferries to these islands as well as cruise ships.”
The funding requests are to address the needs found in a structural assessment conducted by the engineering firm Davis, Bowen, and Friedel Inc. The assessment of the Crisfield City Dock found that there is severe deterioration and significant storm damage to the support structure, and that it has exceeded its useful life and is not suited to resist wave forces from coastal storms.
The structural assessment recommends a more resilient design to resist the forces of wave action, including elevating the dock 18 inches. Capacity of the facility has been reduced to no more than 100 attendees, which hampers popular events that use this venue.
“Some Crisfield heritage events, such as the Spring Soft Shell Festival, have had to be moved from the dock to other locations. Previous events on the dock have held up to 2,500 attendees,” Ms. Merritt noted.
The City Dock is under study for a potential passenger ferry to locations along the Chesapeake Bay. A consortium including Visit Annapolis and Anne Arundel County (VAAAC) and five counties — Anne Arundel, Calvert, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, and St. Mary’s — are considering three respondents to a recent request for proposals (RFP) that may bring this ferry which would be a huge economic boost for Crisfield.
“The City Dock is the crown jewel of Crisfield,” Ms. Merritt noted. “Located where the main road into Crisfield, Route 413, meets the Chesapeake Bay, the City Dock has existed since the railroad was built in Crisfield in the late 1800s, when boats brought seafood to load on the train which came to the dock. The dock provides free water access to the public for fishing, crabbing, or viewing the sunset. The City Dock is a location for many cultural and community events, including the original Boat Docking competition which celebrated its 50th year in 2022.
“This unique event which began with professional watermen competing to safely dock their boats in a matter of seconds and is attended by about 2,500 people. The seating for the event has to be rearranged to accommodate the limitations of the dock.”
The southeastern pier of the dock is currently cordoned off. The estimated cost for this part of the project is $212,800. The City received a $90,000 grant from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MD DNR) Waterway Improvement Fund to upgrade this pier to current code requirements and materials.
An additional grant application for $160,000 was submitted to MD DNR in September of 2022 and the city anticipates information on the final status of the application next month.