2009-08-27 / Letters to the Editor

Time to upgrade Ft. Getty

Jamestown should at long last realize the tremendous potential of one of its finest natural assets. Ft. Getty has gorgeous views of the bay, steady breezes and a protected waterfront on Dutch Harbor. Ft. Getty has also suffered decades of neglect from the town. The pavilion has become shabby, and the water, electric and bathhouse infrastructure of the campground is crumbling.

Nevertheless, due to the amenity of the site, the park remains a beehive in the summer. Indeed, the revenues from the park keep on growing. Between 1995 and 2004, Ft. Getty contributed almost $2.7 million to the Jamestown general fund. In the same time frame, the general fund has spent about $23,000 on Ft. Getty – less than one percent of the revenue generated.

During 2004, Ft. Getty revenues were $334,000 and expenses were $103,000. More recent numbers are even more skewed as camping rates since 2004 have jumped 16 percent to $3,700 per seasonal site.

Ft. Getty could offer a first-class three-season pavilion hosting a steady stream of lucrative local and non-local events and celebrations. The site is so attractive that the pavilion is currently quite busy despite the decay.

The other compelling reason for a Ft. Getty overhaul is to resurrect the image of Jamestown. Presently, campers and pavilion guests are offered restroom facilities that are disgusting. The port-a-johns provided for some events represent a significant upgrade to the facilities offered by the town.

The message to the paying guests at Ft. Getty seems to be that we will take your money and let you enjoy the view, but we truly don’t have respect for you or your group. A shabby image indeed.

The long fallow 2004 Ft. Getty Master Plan needs to be overhauled in a “green” fashion and implemented. The campers deserve a water view and the pavilion guests deserve a class facility and respect for their organizations.

A private design group with experience in recreational facilities could rapidly develop a plan. The past and future increased revenues will fund the overhaul and preserve a continuing surplus.

The golf course is a success. The same management model should be applied to the Ft. Getty facility – professional and knowledgeable.

The park should stay intact. The FAST sailing school lease would provide no income and would be granted 20-year waterfront access. The building proposed is too large and not needed by the town. Maintenance, utilities and staffing would drain revenue from more beneficial projects. If desired, a great town sailing program could operate out of a modest pavilion-style structure. A foundation such as Sail Newport would be a perfect choice to do what they do best.

Let’s do it! The revenues are there, all we need is the vision and the town image that we deserve.
Larry Bonier

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