Manhattan Borough President sends letter of support for Mike Fortenbaugh to BPCA

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December 23, 2014- Gale A. Brewer,

Office of the President, Borough of Manhattan, The City of New York

 

Dennis Mehiel

Chairman & CEO, Battery Park City Authority, New York, NY 10281

Dear Chairman Mehiel:

I write regarding the upcoming Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) vote to select the North Cove Marina concession holder for the ten-year period starting January 2015. The Battery Park City community is very concerned that BPCA may select a concession holder who will host luxury boats and yachts in lieu of community-based boating and sailing programs at the Marina. I ask you to consider the interest of current community-based program operators and to require the winning bidder to devise a plan to give them the maximum possible chance to stay at North Cove Marina. I support the Resolution passed by Community Board 1 on December 18, 2014 in support of withdrawing the current North Cove Marina Operator RFP and replacing it with an RFP that includes community input and transparency “to ensure that the selection of any operator will support the public good, be stewards of parkland, and generate a reasonable revenue stream”. BPCA has an “out” clause and can withdraw the current RFP.

As you know, the planning for both the ball field and the community center was done with the assistance of a Task Force that included members of the community and BPCA, and the outcomes have been successful because both parties had input. I urge you to devise an RFP for the Marina that follows

I believe that current RFP for North Cove Marina concession requires the winning bidder to provide a “reasonably priced” sailing school of comparable size and gives a 15% weight to community-based programming in the bid evaluation. However, I join the community in worrying that the current line-up of long-term, successful community sailing programs will experience major difficulties, from steep fee hikes to outright access termination if BPCA chooses not to award the contract to Michael Fortenbaugh, the current concession holder. Furthermore, the community is also not pleased that the current RFP process does not include any form of public participation outside the stated BFCA board meetings, There has been no public meeting, no hearing, and no public comment period.

While I am pleased that Mr. Fortenbaugh has been offered a 60-day lease to remain in place after his concession expires on December 31, 2014, 1 am still concerned that the current uncertainly is creating severe hardship for current operators, who may lose their home base of operations. The community staged a rally in support of current operators on December 15, 2014, and over 400 members of the community attended. The community wants to be heard and involved, and its programs preserved.

Finally, as I stated above, Community Board I expressed its desire to grant “much greater weight…to the community-based programming criteria,” require evidence of a proven track record” in this area and grant consideration, to historic ships and these businesses by any Marina operator.” I urge you to consider the wishes of the community by maintaining North Cove Marina as a facility accessible to all community members, irrespective of age and income.

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