Wells Cove Landing at Kent Narrows has been transformed into a scenic boardwalk complete with brick pavers, decorative lighting and ample free parking. A rededication ceremony was held on site May 2 to commemorate the improvements and completion of the project.
This project was a successful partnership between Queen Anne’s County and private industry and resulted in a destination that will meet the needs of local families, charter boat captains and KentNarrows businesses.
The principals in the Kent Narrows businesses include attorney Michael Foster and local businessman Tom McCarthy. The land owned by their limited liability companies is the site of two former seafood packing houses previously owned by Jean Stellmach and Herman Thompson. Last year the county commissioners approved an agreement with the two LLCs on a realignment of lot lines for three parcels. Each LLC owns a parcel, and the county owns Wells Cove Road and the parking lot.
Queen Anne’s County Commission President Gene Ransom said, “We worked to balance the needs of local businesses and watermen, particularly charter and head boat captains who historically have used the site as a loading area. We wanted to make changes and improvements to revitalize the site yet continue to meet their needs.” The boardwalk area was designed so that local fishing captains, can unlock bollards and drive on the boardwalk to load and unload their gear and catch. Additionally,Wells Cove Road was widened to accommodate busses dropping off fishing clients. Parking spaces were also added along the side of the road to accommodate overflow parking for The Jetty restaurant and other Kent Narrows businesses.
“The boardwalk area creates a family friendly setting where people can spend a nice afternoon fishing,” said Ransom. “And this park like area was predominantly paid for by private industry.”
The LLCs plan to develop their Wells Cove parcels at some point for a restaurant, conference center or entertainment use which has the economic advantage of creating more jobs.
“This project and the overall enhancements to Wells Cove Landing will improve economic development and tourism at Kent Narrows,” said Commissioner Eric S. Wargotz M.D.
The project improvements are estimated to have cost $812,000. The two LLCs contributed about $500,000; the county contributed approximately $120,000 with in-kind services for storm water management improvements; and The Jetty restaurant and bar contributed $192,000 toward wideningWells Cove Road and building a new parking lot to county code.
The old parking lot flooded during high tides and was therefore raised and storm water management drains were installed. Additionally, the parking meters were removed and parking is now free.