Parks & Rec Dept issues statement on unexpected closure of Greenwich Community Sailing

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On Tuesday evening, a letter from Jane Pimentel on behalf of Greenwich Community Sailing to customers said after 24 years they would not be reopening at Tod’s Point in the 2022 season.

The letter, which was shared on Next Door, said, “Our relationship with the city has reached a point where we are no longer able to run a sustainable business. Providing accessible boating experiences to our community has always been a top priority for GCS, and we would have kept the doors open if that had been possible.

The letter from Pimentel, president of Longshore Sailing School, which operates in town as Greenwich Community Sailing, said: “The town could not guarantee that the Chimes Building would be usable next year or the following year. , which made it risky for us. invest money in the purchase of new boats needed to continue to operate safely.

Pimentel said the schedule made it impossible to enter into a lease with the city before enrolling students, hiring staff and purchasing new equipment.

Greenwich Community Boat at Tod’s Point, Chimes building in background. Photo file

“For example, many of you probably remember the 2019 season when we were operating in a tent in early June, and 2020 when we could only get the green light 3 days before the opening,” added Pimentel in his letter. Finally, she said, with the future of the Chimes Building constantly in the air, the program is no longer allowed to store inventory on the premises during the off-season.

“It means many hours of labor to load and unload every piece of equipment, rental trucks and storage for all of our sailboats. That cost alone would eliminate our profit margin, even during a successful season, ”she said.

Greenwich’s Parks & Rec department released a statement on Wednesday saying they were surprised by Pimentel’s statement, saying they have had an active relationship with the company since 2019.

The Parks & Rec statement explained that when a private company uses a city-owned facility, the city uses the competitive bidding process, and a RFP was issued on January 26, 2021 for a sailing school. and a boat rental operator, and that Longsore Inc’s Sailing School, dba Greenwich Community Sailing, the sole respondent, requested a rent reduction of 65% from the minimum posted by the city per season.

Parks & Rec said it has negotiated a 50% rent reduction, from $ 15,000 for the full season to $ 7,500 for the full season, in exchange for removing optional renewal years from the contract. Longshore Sailing School Inc signed the negotiated agreement in April 2021.

Parks & Rec said that with the ongoing public-private partnership for the restoration of the Chimes building, the following statement was clearly made in the RFP of January 26, 2021 and included in the signed agreement:

“There will likely be a period when the Chimes Building and surrounding areas will be closed for construction. The City has limited control over the timing of this project. The City will give the licensee reasonable notice of the start of construction. If the construction affects the use of the Premises by the Holder during the term of the Permit, the following options are available for the City and the Holder:

a). The City may choose to offer the Licensee an alternate location at Greenwich Point for the Licensee to operate their sailing school and boat rental. This option would be strictly a change in the identification of the Premises. If the City offers it and the Licensee accepts the alternate location, all remaining License conditions will remain in full force.

b). The City and the Holder may terminate the Permit as set out in paragraph 11 of this Permit.

vs). Licensee acknowledges that construction may alter the layout / square footage of the Chimes Building.

Parks & Rec said the Greenwich Community Sailing season ended as planned on September 30, 2021. On October 26, 2021, Parks & Rec met with the private sponsors of the Chimes Building renovation to clarify a construction schedule. They said: “The project will be part of the regulatory land use and gift acceptance processes and construction is not expected to begin until fall 2022.”

Finally, they said they plan to issue a tender by the end of this month for a sailing school and boat rental operator and would prefer to enter into a multi-year voluntary agreement and plan to include the same. commitment to find a temporary location to operate the sail. school while construction of the Chimes Building is underway.

“The intention of the department is to have the agreement executed in January 2022 so that the supplier plans well in advance for the 2022 season and works with the department for a temporary location for the 2023 season,” they said. wrote in the statement, adding: “We still plan to publish the tender this month and hope that all parties interested in this transaction submit a proposal.

Pimentel’s letter concluded by saying that the future of Greenwich Community Sailing was uncertain, but that it would be possible for a new version of the program to return if the City of Greenwich prioritizes the program at Tod’s Point. She urged the public to contact elected officials and parks and recreation, available to them.

On Next Door, a number of residents who have used the kayak and sail rental courses at GCS expressed dismay.

Pimentel has stated that its location in Westport, Longshore Sailing School, will be operational during the 2022 season, and that Greenwich Community Sailing gift cards will be able to be used there, and that a programming discount will also be extended to residents of Greenwich.

Our relationship with the city has reached a point where we are no longer able to run a sustainable business. Providing accessible boating experiences to our community has always been a top priority for GCS, and we would have kept the doors open if that had been possible. There are three main reasons why GCS will not open for 2022 1) The City could not guarantee that the Chimes Building would be usable next year or the following year, which made it risky for us to invest in it. money in buying new boats needed to keep racing safe. 2) The City’s schedule for lease approval required us to enroll students, hire staff, and purchase new equipment before the lease became official. For example, many of you probably remember the 2019 season when we were operating in a tent in early June, and 2020 when we were only able to get the green light 3 days before the opening. 3) Finally, with the future of the Chimes Building constantly on hold, we are no longer allowed to store inventory on the premises during the offseason. That means many hours of labor to load and unload every piece of equipment, rental trucks and storage for all of our sailboats. That cost alone would eliminate our profit margin, even during a successful season. We don’t know what that means for the years to come. There is a possibility that the GCS, or a version of it, will return if the city is willing to prioritize a sailing program on Tod’s Point. It is even more likely if the population turns to elected officials and the Parks and Recreation Department, but it is impossible to say at the moment. Our Westport site, Longshore Sailing School, will open for the 2022 season. All GCS gift cards can be used at LSS. We will also be extending a programming discount to all Greenwich residents enrolling in Longshore Sailing School programs. I am disappointed with the closure. We are grateful for the support of all of our customers over the past 24 years. We love what we do and seeing the smiles on the faces of our students and tenants is a huge bonus. We are grateful for the support of all staff at Greenwich Point and the Old Greenwich Yacht Club. I especially want to thank Mike Mark, Larry Imbrogno and Frank Brantner. My role as General Manager at GCS brought me to Connecticut. Now CT is my forever home. The people of Greenwich welcomed me with open arms, for that, I thank you. Thank you to all our staff. Past and present. GCS is a community of people from different groups of friends, schools and even countries. We come together every year to work together to provide a safe and fun environment for our peers and clients. GCS would not exist without the staff. GCS is what you make of it. For many of our employees, this is home. Sincerely, Jane Pimentel


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