North Beach Renaissance Underway

By Sarah Miller, Calvert County Times

HOLLYWOOD, Md.—“North Beach has gone from worst to first,” said Mayor Mark Frazer of the town during the official ribbon cutting of Sunrise Garden, located at Bay Avenue and Third Street.

The park marks a step toward the future for North Beach, going from a renaissance to planning and building the future of the municipality.

During the park’s opening celebration, Senator Mike Miller spoke to the shady past the town has fought to shed. Miller grew up in Southern Maryland and enjoyed hanging around North Beach, much to his mother’s dismay. Now, he visits the town for an entirely different reason. He has been an advocate for a number of the municipality’s projects in Annapolis.

“Mark and the town council had to sell their vision,” Miller said.

Governor Larry Hogan congratulated the town on its efforts during the park’s opening, which was his first public appearance since being diagnosed with cancer. He said he looks forward to coming back soon and watching the sunrise from the park.

In addition to Miller and Hogan, the park’s opening was attended by members of the North Beach Town Council and the Calvert County Board of County Commissioners, and Mayor Bruce Wahl from neighboring Chesapeake Beach.

The grand opening coincided with a visit from a Community Planning Assistant Team (CPAT) from the American Planning Association (APA). The team arrived Aug. 20 and spent three days meeting with town planners and developers, visiting local restaurants and business owners, and special interest groups.

“We believe North Beach is a special place,” Frazer said.

There is still undeveloped property on the waterfront, he said, and during the CPAT visit the planners made suggestions to capitalize on the prime real estate. Their preliminary plan, presented on Aug. 23, recommended putting a performing arts facility on the waterfront, and proposed an empty lot on Third Street and Chesapeake Avenue for a new building to house the Twin Beaches branch of Calvert Library.

The plan is intended to ensure North Beach property us used to best benefit local residents, visitors, and the town government itself, Frazer said.

In the future, Frazer hopes to see the town qualify to be a state Arts and Entertainment District.

“It’s a worthy objective but not an easy one to obtain,” Frazer said, adding that the town is currently not prepared to apply for the distinction.

The CPAT’s final report will be delivered within the next two months and will be posted on the town’s website. The CPAT plan will be used in considering the next projects the town will undertake. North Beach is currently completing a number of high dollar projects, Frazer said, and in the next year projects will include sidewalk and storm water management maintenance, but nothing as ambitious as the park. Planning in the next year will include town hall meetings, work sessions, and additional research to build upon the CPAT recommendations. There are no large projects on the immediate horizon, Frazer said.

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