Clock Ticking for Sailing Hall of Fame
Published on February 11th, 2017
The Capital Gazette provides this editorial regarding efforts to build the first-ever facility where people can participate in on-the-water experiences and immerse themselves in sailing’s history, art, and lore.
It would have been a jolt if the state Board of Public Works had not agreed to another lease extension for the National Sailing Hall of Fame. The board members — the governor, the comptroller and the treasurer — like the project and think it will be an enhancement to City Dock and an important asset for Annapolis’ reputation as a sailing mecca. And we feel the same way.
But after 10 years of waiting for the NSHOF to piece together $9.5 million for a building now trimmed to a modest 7,000 square feet, we’re fast reaching the point at which the organization needs to either get the project in gear or give up and release the space on City Dock.
We think NSHOF officials like Gary Jobson and Dick Franyo realize this, as do the members of the Board of Public Works. That’s why the three-year extension agreed to on Wednesday included a requirement that the NSHOF file an annual report on its fundraising. Jobson said the organization plans to reduce its programs and focus on getting the remaining money.
The lease is a symbolic $1 a year, the project has gotten $1.25 million in state aid, is down for another $1 million in fiscal 2019 and doesn’t have to meet matching requirements. Even with such generous assistance — and a good many wealthy members — the NSHOF is less than halfway toward its goal.
If it can’t get the other half, it could go to another city — although, admittedly, we wouldn’t like to see that. Or it could give up on bricks-and-mortar and concentrate on its online presence and the worthwhile programs it runs that promote and educate about sailing. And the city could figure out what else to do to use that property, including the historic Captain Burtis house, to revitalize the City Dock area.
We’re glad the NSHOF got the extension. But one way or another, it ought to be the last.