SCHUMER CUTS RIBBON WITH BOATERS AND NPS AT OFFICIAL GRAND OPENING OF STATEN ISLAND’S GREAT KILLS PARK NICHOLS MARINA; 2015 SUMMER SEASON IS THE FIRST TIME THE MARINA HAS BEEN FULLY REPAIRED AND OPERATIONAL SINCE SENATOR SECURED MAJOR VICTORY FOR LOCAL BOATERS AFTER SUPERSTORM SANDY
In the Wake of Superstorm Sandy, No Commitment Or Funding Existed to Rebuild After 350 Boats Slips at Nichols Marina Were Swept Away; After Touring Marina & Meeting With Local Boaters in 2013, Schumer Secured Commitment From NPS Director Jarvis to Rebuild Marina & Secure a 3-Year Concession Contract
Schumer, Along With NPS, Boaters & Marina Operator ‘Marinas of the Future,’ Will Kick Off First Summer Season of New & Improved Great Kills Park Nichols Marina; Ribbon Cutting & Reopening Ceremony Symbolizes Rebirth of Great Kills Boating Community Since Sandy
Schumer: Nichols Marina Will Continue to Be an Anchor for the Seaside Great Kills Community For Years to Come
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, alongside local boaters, National Park Service (NPS) and Federal Lands Highway (FLH) representatives and ‘Marinas of the Future’ operators, today attended the ribbon cutting and grand opening ceremony of Nichols Marina at Great Kills Park on Staten Island. Superstorm Sandy destroyed 350 floating docks at the Nichols marina devastating a significant part of the Staten Island boating community. The marina has operated as an NPS concession on Staten Island for nearly 40 years and is an important part of recreational boating heritage for the community. After Superstorm Sandy, there were no immediate plans or funding to rebuild the marina.
In 2013, Schumer toured the marina and urged NPS to do everything in their power to keep the Nichols Great Kills Park Marina from shutting down. Shortly after, Schumer met personally with NPS Director Jon Jarvis and urged the Director to commit to maintain a marina at Great Kills Park and get a new concession contract in place as soon as possible; after Sandy, the lease ended on December 31, 2012. In the meeting, NPS Director Jon Jarvis committed to rebuild the marina with funds Schumer secured in the $60 billion Hurricane Sandy Supplemental Appropriation and issue a 3-year concession contract to the operator, ‘Marinas of the Future.’ NPS worked with the Office of Federal Lands Highway, the federal agency that issued and managed the contracts, to rebuild the marina. While the marina stayed open after Sandy, this year is the first time since the storm that the entire marina has reopened to the public fully repaired and operational. Schumer explained that the persistence of the Committee to Save Great Kills Park Community helped make sure the Marina was built back after the storm, and they should be thanked for their efforts.
Schumer stood alongside Jennifer Nersesian, the Superintendent of Gateway National Recreation Area; James Gray of the Federal Highway Administration; Robert Bernstein of Marinas of the Future; Mark Competiello of the Committee to Save Great Kills Park Marina as well as a number of other boaters.
“Nichols Great Kills Park Marina is more than a marina; it’s a home and seaside family to the vibrant boating community and small businesses it supports. I am pleased that NPS committed to rebuilding and reopening this marina and NPS along with Federal Lands Highway have been great partners. Today’s grand opening signifies a rebirth of the strong Great Kills community since Sandy hit and I look forward to it being on Staten Island for years to come,”said Senator Schumer.
"We are so pleased to be celebrating with the community the reopening of the Great Kills Park Marina, marking an important milestone in our collective recovery post-Sandy. And we've not only built back, but built better -- more resilient and ready for the future," said Jennifer Nersesian, Superintendent, Gateway NRA
Mark Competiello of The Committee to Save Great
Robert S. Bernstein, President of Marinas of The Future, the marina operator, expressed thanks to those whose efforts resulted in the newly built 250 slip modern marina in Great Kills Park which will be around for generations to come. “Special thanks to Senator Schumer who convinced NPS to rebuild the marina after it was totally destroyed by Superstorm Sandy and who helped secure the required funds. Thanks also to local boaters who formed The Committee to Save The Marina and Federal Lands Highway personnel who along with NPS employees oversaw the construction process. It was in every sense a great team effort that we were proud to be a part of."
Nichols Great Kills Park Marina is part of Gateway National Recreation area, which is federally owned land, and the marina’s operator, Marinas of the Future, runs the marina as an NPS concessionaire. Superstorm Sandy destroyed the marina and its 350 floating wooden boat slips were washed away during the storm. As a result, a number of Staten Island residents formed a group known as, “The Committee to Save Great Kills Park Marina Community.” Its mission has been to rebuild the marina. Schumer’s office has been working with the committee after receiving dozens and dozens of petitions from the committee asking for his support in rebuilding the marina.
In 2013, Schumer called on NPS to maintain a marina at Great Kills Park and get a new concession contract in place to begin rebuilding immediately. Schumer pointed to the importance of this marina to the boating community. Schumer explained that it has been the home to Staten Island boaters for nearly 40 years and without the marina, many boaters could have been forced to relocate their boats to New Jersey or Brooklyn marinas. Additionally, Schumer made the case there is $348,000,000 in NPS funding in the Sandy Relief Bill and the agency should be able to utilize a portion of that funding to repair the Nichols Great Kills Park Marina so that it can continue as a functioning marina on Staten Island.
After a personal meeting with Schumer and Director Jarvis, NPS committed to maintain the marina at Great Kills Park. The current operator, “Marinas of the Future,” was issued a three year emergency contract. Under law, three years was the maximum amount that NPS can issue an emergency concession contract. There was approximately $348 million of NPS funding in the Sandy Aid Package. This funding was used to repair the wooden boat slips and bulkhead. Additionally, NPS Director Jarvis explained that after the three year emergency contract, the agency would issue a long-term competitive contract, with the goal of expanding services at the marina.
NPS has provided post-hurricane debris removal at the Marina, including the removal of dozens of sunken boats. In addition, NPS has installed new pilings that meet the new resiliency standard, installed new floating docks to create 250 boat slips and installed full water and electric service for all slips. The total cost of the new marina is approximately $6.7 million. Specifically, of this funding, $5 million is from the Federal Highway Administration, $1.2 million from insurance held by the concessionaire and $500,000 from the Sandy Recovery Fund.
Today, Schumer alongside local boaters, NPS representatives and ‘Marinas of the Future’ unveiled the newly rebuilt Great Kills Park Marina. Schumer said that thanks to the persistence of all parties involved and the resilient nature of the Great Kills community, official reopening of the Nichols Marina was able to happen this year.
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