City Seeks Volunteer Rangers for Waterworks Park Reopening
Annapolis Recreation and Parks Department director said the dam could be breached to create a wetland at the park.
City park officials said they hope Annapolis nature-lovers will volunteer their time as rangers to help reopen Waterworks Park on a shoestring budget.
The city park off Defense Highway opened in 2000, but was closed in 2010 due to budget constraints. The city was spending more than it took in with admission permits to operate the park.
But Parks and Recreations Director LeeAnn Plumer and her staff said they have found a few ways to make the numbers work, and plan to reopen the park next month. Among the primary cost-cutting measures are enlisting volunteer park rangers and reducing the time the park is open.
“These three months will be sort of our test period to see how well we can do,” Plumer said. “We’ve been able to make the numbers work if we sell the number of permits, and we did increase the number of permits in order to add some padding in there, as well.”
The park will reopen on Sept. 1, and will close in December. If all goes well, the park will open its doors again in March, just in time to invite spring.
Plumer said the park normally had few visitors during those winter months, and closing then saves money.
Department officials had hoped to open the park back in July, but a decision from the city administration held back the opening, she said.
Volunteers Line Up
On Wednesday, the city held an informational session at Truxtun Park for potential volunteer rangers. About a dozen potential rangers showed up to learn more about the offering.
Plumer and the part-time park manager provided a brief run-down of the responsibilities of the job, should they be accepted.
"Our rangers will be the eyes and ears of the park," Plumer said.
Volunteer rangers won't have any enforcement duties. They will inspect parkgoer permits and remind them of the rules. These rangers will be given a course on customer relations and how to interact with parkgoers.
Volunteer rangers would be serving between five and 10 hours each month, and would be responsible for paying their own permit fees.
Those interested in becoming rangers can apply for the positions through the city’s Parks and Recreations office. Successful applicants must pass a basic background check.
The deadline for application is Aug. 17. For more information, contact email@example.com or 410-263-7958.
Dam May Be Breached
When the park closed in 2010, it was primarily due to budget concerns. But there was also talk of repairing an aging dam.
The 275-foot wide dam has sprung a few leaks, but city officials have yet to start any repair work. They’re weighing options between repairing it or removing it entirely, Plumer said.
“The city is entertaining an idea, and an environmental study, to possibly breach the dam and create wetlands,” Plumer said. “But the study hasn't been done, and no decision has been made about the future of keeping the dam or just repairing the dam.”
The city’s Public Works Department has been managing the project thus far. But a Maryland Department of Environment consent order to repair the dam has come through recently, and spurred more talks about the future of the dam.
For now, Plumer said the public shouldn’t worry. The dam is safe enough to warrant reopening the park. But it’s under constant surveillance to gauge its safety.
“The safety of the dam has been continually evaluated. The water levels are lower than what they have been. But there's no reason to prohibit the reopening if in fact the repairs aren’t going to be made right away, and until the city decides if it will breach the dam or repair the dam,” she said.
Permits for park access go on sale Monday, Aug. 15, and can be purchased at the Pip Moyer Recreation Center at Truxton Park. The permits must be bought in person, and a drivers license must be shown to verify identity.
For more information on the permits, visit the city’s Web site located at www.annapolis.gov or call the Parks and Recreations Department at 410-263-7958.