The town of Solomons is located at the confluence of the Chesapeake Bay and Patuxent River. One of the town’s gems is now benefitting from a similar convergent flow of money in the form of a public/private funding effort. On Tuesday, April 29, invited guests got to see what the blend of bucks has produced. Calvert Marine Museum (CMM) presented phase one of its renovations during an indoor ribbon cutting ceremony.
Museum Director Douglass Alves told the gathering about how CMM officials in the late 1980s felt the construction of the exhibition building was the final step in the facility’s evolvement. The museum’s success over the subsequent 20 made renovation and expansion a necessity.
“We were running out of space,” said Alves. “We were turning school groups away.”
The CMM Board of Governors developed a master plan. The first phase of the exhibition building’s renovation expanded the lobby and gift shop. The building’s cozy auditorium was eliminated and replaced with a multipurpose room. The project was designed by GWWO Inc. Architects of Baltimore.
The Calvert County Commissioners allocated $1.025 million. Through a bond bill submitted by local legislators the State of Maryland contributed $250,000 and procurement of state grants added another $40,000 to the $2.175 million needed for the first phase of the renovation project. The final $860,000 was raised by the CMM Board of Governors through a capital campaign.
Last August, a majority of the commissioners voted in favor of awarding the $1.63 million construction contract to Desbuild Inc. of Hyattsville. During the discussion prior to the vote commissioners Gerald W. “Jerry” Clark [R] and Susan Shaw [R] both cited the public/private partnership and the county’s need to promote tourism as reasons to move forward with the project despite the sour economy.
At the April 29 ceremony, Shaw noted some critics considered the renovation project “a frivolous investment. I’m hoping we’ll all feel like this was an important investment in our future.” The facility houses a plethora of maritime memorabilia from the days when Solomons was a major location for Maryland’s seafood industry.
“It’s a real testament to the folks from the past who started this museum,” said Clark, who added he never had a doubt expanding the exhibition building would be a wise investment.