Anne Arundel County appeals to Navy about Greenbury Point golf site

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The head of Anne Arundel’s county government has asked the Navy to consider allowing the county to manage Greenbury Point as a conservation area rather than moving forward with a proposal to build a new golf course for the US Naval Academy.

County Executive Steuart Pittman (D), in a letter dated Wednesday, said he shared the concerns expressed by members of the community and environmental organizations over a proposal to build a second course across the Severn River from the academy that would serve midshipmen’s sporting programs , active and retired military personnel, and members of the public.

The idea for a second golf course was floated earlier this year by Chet Gladchuk, the academy’s athletics director. His plan was quickly met with concerted opposition by hikers, birders and others who want to preserve the approximately 280 acres as ice.

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Gladchuk, who also heads the Naval Academy Golf Association (NAGA), asked the Navy to explore the idea of ​​allowing the nonprofit organization to lease the land and develop a second 18-hole golf course to supplement the existing privately funded course where midshipmen varsity, intramural and physical fitness programs golf free. Greens fees and membership dues are sharply discounted for military personnel compared with those charged to members of the public. There is a waiting list to join.

Opponents, including more than two dozen environmental groups, have asked the Navy to kill the idea, saying another golf course would pollute the Chesapeake Bay at a time when efforts to improve the bay’s water quality are falling short. They also argue that the proposal would destroy habitat for birds and wildlife and further reduce public access to the water.

“I understand and share their concern, as Greenbury Point is a site that is beloved by the community for its passive nature, rich history and extraordinary views of the Severn River and Chesapeake Bay,” Pittman’s letter says.

His letter proposes that the county lease Greenbury Point and manage its conservation area as parkland by enhancing meadows, removing invasive species, planting native trees and seeding the shoreline with grasses that reduce erosion.

Pittman said the county would also be willing to commit funds to extend the nature trails and create features that would give people more recreational opportunities along the shore, such as designated fishing areas, observation overlooks and a “paddle-in” park. The county also might provide additional parking space and a ranger substation. Pittman’s letter says the fiscal 2023 budget has funds available that would pay for conceptual plans and start the process of inviting public participation in planning.

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“We propose to preserve and enhance its current conservation uses, rather than create new ones,” Pittman says in the letter, which is addressed to Capt. Homer R. Denius, commanding officer of the Naval Support Activity Annapolis (NSSA). The command, part of Naval District Washington, supports the academy and several operations on the peninsula, including a nearby rifle and pistol range.

Ed Zeigler, spokesman for Naval District Washington, said late Wednesday that Navy officials have not had time to review the letter and would be unable to comment about the county’s proposal.

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