What Lies in the Future for Leschi’s Public Marinas?
The Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation has announced its intent to turn over the renovation and operations of the North Leschi Moorage and the South Leschi Moorage to private developers and is preparing a competition for the contract.
This means the rents must provide payback to the developers, and that seems guaranteed if the public marinas are increasingly occupied by large luxury craft and speedboats. So, why is a parks and recreation agency providing space for luxury craft and speedboats, when recreation is the mission, not public parking?
Speedboats are a hazard to swimmers and anyone in a small boat. Speedboats also create wakes that cause the shore to erode. Luxury craft are often the places of partying — not much positive recreation — and are a source of lake pollution. To support these kinds of boats, the Parks Department uses park land to accommodate parking spaces exclusively for the boaters.
We can have greatly scaled-down marinas that serve small boaters — sails or paddles — in a much less costly way; in fact, the costs are such that they could be affordable with the public funds that the Parks Department has access to. Why bring in the developers?
This process will play out over the next couple of months. Let’s make sure that the public is involved in decision making, not just well-placed (politically astute) insiders who have a special interest to protect. There. I said it!