Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (CRAB) is one step closer to building its Adaptive Boating Center, a project more than three years in the making, and ground may be broken as soon as December.
The Maryland Board of Public Works approved $1.8 million in State of Maryland Program Open Space funding for the City of Annapolis to acquire a marina property on Back Creek in Annapolis last week.
Following the unanimous 3–0 vote and its anticipated approval by the Annapolis City Council later this month, the City will add a $450,000 State Capital Grant to the funding to purchase what is currently the Port Williams Marina, located at 7040 Bembe Beach Road, for $2.25 million. It will then lease the property to CRAB, which will be able to break ground on the Adaptive Boating Center.
“CRAB’s goal has always been to provide greater access to the Bay for people with disabilities,” says CRAB Executive Director Paul “Bo” Bollinger, who watched a live video of the much-awaited vote from a room inside City Hall, and immediately celebrated it with what he confirmed was his first high-five since March. “The ABC will allow us to continue and build upon
our 29-year legacy, and this vote will allow us to hopefully break ground on what will be a premier ADA facility in December.”
It will also allow CRAB, which has operated out of a single slip at Sandy Point State Park since it began operating, to better meet its mission.
“The new location will give us direct access to the water, which is far less rough than Sandy Point’s, and allow us to provide what will truly be on-demand service to our guests for the first time, because our office will be right there,” said Bollinger.
Through its new location and facility, a floating marina with sixteen slips, CRAB will expand not only the size of its sailing fleet but also the diversity of its inclusive water recreation options—to include a wheelchair accessible pontoon boat, rowing, paddle boarding, wakeboarding, canoeing, and kayaking.
It will also broaden its educational programs, which will be offered year-round, and create employment and training opportunities for people with disabilities and local youth. Guests will even be able to earn state boating licenses and national sailing certifications, a long-held goal of CRAB, for the first time.
“We welcome CRAB to Ward 7,” said Alderman Rob Savidge. “This facility fits in perfectly in our Ward and will be an incredible asset to the City and County, ensuring equal access to sailing on our beautiful waters.”
“This will be a tremendous amenity for Annapolis and another reason people call us the ‘Sailing Capital,’” echoed Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley. “I am happy that we can make adaptive sailing a priority.”
To learn more about CRAB and the ABC, visit www.crabsailing.org.