Issues at Leschi Marina
Leschi’s marina has long been a favorite berthing place for sailboats, which gracefully ply the waters of Lake Washington on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Those slips are threatened under the Park’s plan to bring in a private operator to repair and run the north and south marinas. The smaller berths bring in less in the way of rental fees; it is to the advantage of the company to have more large slips and reduce the number of small slips, and this was the plan that Foss submitted to Parks in their bid several years ago to become the operating entity.
A delegation of concerned residents from the Lakewood area and Leschi neighborhood met with Councilmembers Sawant and Harrell this summer to define the problem and ask for assistance in freeing up the $4 million that former Mayor McGinn promised for repairs (subsequently approved by the City Council). This money sits with Parks, and the only visible sign of a “repair” is that plywood has been laid over the worst rotting areas…a safety fix, but not exactly a repair. Lakewood representatives brought data to show that based on their moorage fees, they could manage the marina without an outside operator.
Following those meetings (and an unsuccessful attempt to talk with CM Godden, current chair of Parks Committee), John Barber drafted a letter requesting release of the funds for the most needed repairs; this letter was signed by Leschi CC’s co-chairs and sent to CM Godden with copies to the Mayor, and CMs Sawant and Harrell. We have received no response to this request.
A call to CM Godden’s office just before press time brought forth the information that the $4 million is being saved by Parks to help pay for repairs when they select a private operator on bids they expect to receive when the RFP is released at the end of the month. So, it could easily be the end of the year before an operator is even selected. And it does not sound as though they are entertaining suggestions that the marinas be publicly managed and maintained. It appears that private/public partnerships are the chosen path even when the private part is not needed. This does not bode well for the small boat owners.