In a dramatic reversal of a decision made shortly after Hurricane Sandy devastated Nichols Great Kills Park Marina on New York's Staten Island, the National Park Service has agreed to extend the marina operator's permit for three years, the maximum allowable under the law.
The 350-slip marina, located on the grounds of the Gateway National Recreation Area, lost all of its docks in the storm and was to be shuttered by April 15, 2013, with the Park Service formerly maintaining that services for 2013 were 'not possible.'
However, today's decision by National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis allows the marina operator to invest in the facilities and rebuild docks. The marina is also likely to receive some funding made available to the Park Service by the recently passed Sandy Relief Bill, according to Senator Charles Schumer, who along with Representative Michael Grimm, the grassroots group Committee to Save Great Kills Park Marina Community, BoatU.S. and the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce, worked together to keep the marina open.
Fred DiLise with The Committee to Save Great Kills Park Marina Community, stated 'The boaters of Staten Island and Great Kills Marina knew their community must be preserved. Many thanks to BoatU.S. for helping to carry that message to Washington and the leadership of the National Park Service.'
Boat Owners Association of The United States lobbied the Park Service and met with Cong. Grimm's staff in the quest to keep the marina open for the 2013 summer boating season.
The Park Service had initially chosen to deny the renewal of the marina operator concessionaire lease, which expired on Dec. 31, 2012.
'We thank all of those who spoke up loudly to ensure another valuable boating access point was not lost forever,' said BoatUS President Margaret Podlich. 'The loss of the marina, the largest in Great Kills Harbor, would have meant a substantial economic loss for the community as well as the generations of boaters who have called Nichols home for decades. We believe the National Park Service ultimately recognized the value and seafaring tradition that Nichols provided. And we appreciate that the Service recognized that recreational boating should remain part of the mix of recreational opportunities our parks can offer.'