Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Marina Management Would Benefit Community

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Marina Management Would Benefit Community

Article excerpt

Byline: Chuck Hall

As of this writing, the City Commission is planning to put the final signatures on the agreement to hire the management company for the City Marina downtown along the riverfront. While this may be old news for many of us, I want to go over some of the details again to give an idea of how the future might play out.

I have heard several times that we should have just given the city more money and control over the marina, and then it would have been successful. These same persons conclude that the sole control of the marina should lie with city commissioners rather than a management company. By golly, this is city property, and city employees should run it.

I really do understand that logic. I agree that there are some things government does better than private enterprise. There are some things that only a city can run for us, and those things should never be turned over for a business to run while we sleep. However, with all respect, I think we can let the marina go "professional."

But, Chuck, what about the last time we tried this? Shouldn't we learn from our mistakes? You bet we should. Let's write the agreement in a better fashion, and get some help to make it happen correctly this time. That was the problem last time; we dropped the ball in the agreement, so we had to live with the results.

I recommend that the City Commission appoint a "marina assistance group." This group would be the liaison between the commissioners and the management company (with the city manager, of course). The group would have no power - they would just offer assistance to the others in the system. The commission is already overloaded with work, so a team of citizens with various backgrounds could be quite helpful.

Yes, the City Commission would retain the last say in any major expense at the marina. No, we would not lose control of the marina, but would give up the marina's day-to-day operations. That will hopefully prove to be a good thing.

Westrec Marina is a very large firm with far greater experience and more resources than we have. We now have a chance to stop the loss of revenue from the marina. …

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