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Open for business! Photo: Save Great Kills Park Marina

Great Kills Park Marina suffered a lot of damage when super storm Sandy rages through last October. Docks were destroyed and boats strewn about like match sticks. Luckily most of the destruction was to the docks and the Marina’s land based facilities and equipment were not seriously damaged.

But, there was a lot of debris.

Photo: Save Great Kills Park Marina

A LOT of debris.

Photo: Save Great Kills Park Marina

From the Staten Island Advance: On Saturday, just in time for Memorial Day, Gateway National Recreation Area will open the Great Kills Park’s boat ramp to the public for the first time since Hurricane Sandy, said Gateway Superintendent Linda Canzanelli.

First boat in the water via the boat ramp 2013. Photo: Save Great Kills Park Marina

“We are so happy that we are able to open the boat ramp to accommodate our local boaters and anglers,” said Ms. Canzanelli, thanking the efforts of The Committee to Save the Great Kills Park Marina Community among others.

Some members of the clean up crew. Photo: Save Great Kills Park Marina

Hurricane Sandy also swept away Nichols’ 350 floating wooden slips. They await replacement. The Park Service has agreed to let marina operator, Marinas of the Future Inc. rebuild to a maximum of 250 slips. There is no timetable yet as to when the docks will be rebuilt.

Success! Photo: Save Great Kills Park Marina

Still, officials applauded the quick repair of its ramp. “The reopening of the ramp is a big step in the right direction for those who have been working to get Staten Island boaters back in the water,” said Rep. Michael Grimm.

Parking permits for designated spaces will be available at the Great Kills Visitor Center starting Thursday at 9 a.m.; the cost is $50. Park officials warned boaters of debris in the harbor, and urged they use caution. Read more here…

by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee

Aerial view of damage to the Great Kills Marina area. photo: NPS/Cunningham

Nichols Marina’s 350 floating slips were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, and now boaters have been told that the National Parks Service has refused to renew the lease that would allow the marina operators to rebuild.

The NPS owns the marina which they lease to Marinas of the Future Inc., an operator that oversees and maintains Great Kills Park in the Gateway National Recreation Area. Marinas of the Future wants to rebuild the docks, but as the NPS site notes: Hurricane Sandy destroyed all docks at the Great Kills Marina, so marina services for the 2013 summer season are not possible.

Nichols Marina at Great Kills Park is gone. Boat owners may store boats by at the park until April 15, 2013. photo: NPS/Dennis Bosak

Although the marina lost all of its floating slips during the storm, most of the pilings remain. Marina management reports that the bulkhead and infrastructure were not badly damaged and that their office facilities, restrooms and equipment are all in working order.

From the Staten Island Advance: “The fact that we’re even having this fight is ridiculous,” said Rep. Michael Grimm, an avid supporter of the cause who attended yesterday’s rally with more than 100 other boaters. “It will be devastating to the boating community if the National Parks Service doesn’t allow them to rebuild.”

Because the private community has offered to pay the costs to rebuild, Grimm said the National Park Service’s stance doesn’t make any sense. “That marina helps to drive the local economy. The National Parks Service needs to recognize the value of this marina.”

Docks at Nichols Marina in Great Kills. photo: Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel

On Sunday, boaters rallied to express their frustration and sadness over the National Parks decision.

From WPIX11: “This place is like family to me. Where else will I put my boat? “I’ve been hanging out here for 12 years with my friends,” Pete Palermo of Staten Island said. “Where else would I go?”

Palermo gets teary-eyed when he and his buddies talk about what the Nichols Great Kills Park Marina means to them.

“It’s like family to me,”

All 350 boats will have to be removed by April 15. photo: WPIX11

The current leaseholder, the Marinas of the Future, have been told they have no future here. The National Park Service said all boats have to be removed by April 15.

by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee

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