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Historically Black Beach In Annapolis Once In Danger Of Redevelopment To Become City Park

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) -- A section of beach along the Chesapeake Bay in Annapolis that was used by African Americans during segregation is getting new life. It will be turned into a city park.

Elktonia Beach is nestled along the Chesapeake Bay in Annapolis. It was once part of a larger group of beaches use by African Americans during segregation.

"It's the last five acres of what was 180 acres for Carr's and Sparrow's Beach," said Anthony Spencer of the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture.

Carr's Beach and Sparrow's Beach no longer exist, but back in the day, they were a hotspot for locals and musical legends.

"The James Browns, Little Richards, the Sarah Vaughns the Ella Fitzgeralds all came to Carr's Beach and Sparrows Beach in Annapolis," Blacks of the Chesapeake Founder Vincent Leggett said.

Vincent Leggett, the founder of an organization called "Blacks of the Chesapeake" said the space was in danger of being developed.

He's been working for 15 years to save it, and on Monday, all of his hard work paid off.

The governor announced the state will spend $4.8 million to acquire the land and convert the space. The city is pitching in $2 million too, and $2 million in congressional spending was secured by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) for the project.

Cardin took to Twitter on Wednesday to say he was glad he was able to help secure the funding to help make the beach a city park.

Leggett said she is excited to see how that funding will reshape the property.

"I could see some trails with oyster shells on it, wood chips and some signage, a picnic area, a gazebo," Leggett said. "I mean, just somewhere where people can come and enjoy the Chesapeake Bay."

Those who know the history of the beach are looking forward to its future.

"The fact that we're going to revisit the past to bring people to the future so that we can all prosper with this together, that's what's very important about this," Spencer said.

There are no concrete dates for when the park will be complete.


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