Quincy Park District seeks marina privatization proposals

The Art Keller Marina on Quinsippi Island on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020. The Quincy Park District is seeking proposals to privatize the marina.

QUINCY — Proposals will be accepted for a private operator to run Art Keller Marina.

The Quincy Park Board on Wednesday agreed to issue a request for proposals that would seek private operators for the marina.

The RFP will be released Thursday, with a pre-proposal meeting on Dec. 17, and proposal due to the Park District on Jan. 11.

Commissioners could select an operator as early as its Jan. 20 meeting.

Consideration to privatize the marina was brought up at the board’s annual retreat in August amid a drop in boat slip rentals over the last decade. At least one individual has approached the district about privatizing the marina, and Executive Director Rome Frericks told the board that others have expressed interest as well.

Boat slip rentals at the marina have dipped more than 45% since 2011 when there were 192 boat slips rented. The Park District rented 113 and 103 boat slips in 2019 and 2020 respectively, though 2019 brought the second-highest flood on record in Quincy and 2020 brought COVID-19.

The marina showed a loss of $374 in 2019, with projected loss of $25,633 in 2020 and $30,419 in 2021.

A survey distributed to renters and posted to the Park District’s website found that about 31% of respondents said they would feel good if the marina was managed by a private company, while 57% were unsure. Only 12% said it was a bad idea.

The survey on the marina was completed by 165 people, including 95 current renters. Commissioners saw that there was support to allow for the operation of a restaurant that sold alcohol and had a gaming machine, which might be a draw for a private operator.

Respondents said security at the marina wasn’t adequate enough and that facility maintenance needed improvement.

The marina hasn’t had 24-hour security in five years.

“I think we would probably having a much more in-depth conversation on some of these if we anticipated that we were going to be still running the marina, but with the possibility of somebody else taking over, a lot of these issues brought up will probably need to be addressed by the new operator.” Frankenhoff said. “If the privatization question was completely removed, then I would be pushing for staff to come up with a staff to come up with a report in response to some of these issues and how they intend to correct them.

“But I don’t think that’s necessary with the situation we’re in.”

He reiterated that the board could decide not to move forward with privatization after reviewing proposals.

Commissioner Nathan Koetters said he wasn’t surprised by the responses but his concern was whether down the road the district would have to invest significantly into the Quinsippi Island Bridge for the private operator.

In other action, the Park Board approved the district’s $7.353 million budget.

Director of Business Services Don Hilgenbrinck said the district is budgeting revenue of $5.876 million, and that spending over revenues comes from spending capital money already in hand.

Commissioners also agreed to issue $900,000 in general obligation bonds for capital projects. The district sells a bond annually for several maintenance projects. The interest rate on the bond is 1.75%.

A resolution to set the auction of Lenane Park was adopted. The auction is set for 1 p.m. Monday, Feb. 15, at the park, 2600 Bonansinga Drive.

Last month, voters gave the district permission the 7.5-acre park.

Recommended for you