The Parks Department has sent out an RFP (Request for Proposal) to try to find a private operator for the three marinas in our area: Lakewood, North and South Leschi marinas. After reading the RFP, a letter of concern was sent by the Leschi CC and the Leschi Business Association to the current manager of the moorage, Paul Wilkinson. The letter was signed by Leschi Market owners, Steve and Yousef Shulman, John Barber, Leschi CC Parks & Greenspace Chair, and myself as co-chair of the Leschi CC.
One major concern was the lack of mentioning that concessions could not be put in the Leschi marinas; we had been given this assurance verbally by City Council but without documentation, so did it really happen? Another concern is the retention of the small slips for the smaller boat owner. Leschi has long been a popular moorage spot for the middle class boat owner and it is feared that a private operator will cater to the larger boats with the greater moorage fees.
I called Paul Wilkinson to discuss the letter and he did offer reassurance on the concession concern. He felt there was not room at either the North or South marina for a concession; the most that could be offered would be some marine supplies like rope. He also wants to retain the diversity of craft at the Leschi Marinas; we have small, medium and large boats and this is now the home of the Dragon Boats. He shared my vision of a more vibrant marina with small boats to rent as we saw over 100 years ago when Leschi Park was first developed. He addressed the other two issues in our letter of concern: establishing a list of priorities for repairs and environmental issues. He said the South Leschi Marina is the number one item on the priority list: the docks are sinking and must be taken care of first. They are using the $2 million left in Parks budget from the original $4 million approved during the McGinn administration. The other $2 million is in the RFP for the use of the eventual operator, should some entity be chosen in the RFP process. The environmental issue was brought up by our Parks and Greenspace chair, John Barber, who noticed that the Leschi Marinas were not on the state list of those marinas meeting the environmental standards. Paul said that he had signed an agreement that both the Leschi Marinas would be in compliance by the end of 2016.
Any proposals from private operators need to be turned in by January 6 and we will be speaking with Paul again after that date. Look for another update in the February issue. (Our moorage letter of concern will be posted on the website.)