2011-03-10 / Letters to the Editor

Ft. Getty sailing center a ‘bad idea’

As a sailor and marine enthusiast, I think that access to Ft. Getty is essential to boaters. As a taxpayer, I think that a sailing center as described in the Jamestown Press article “Fort Getty sailing center project moves forward (Jan. 22, 2009)” is a very bad idea.

Based upon the information both ascertained and inferred from the article, I am opposed to the town incurring any costs to provide such a facility. It is important to look at the situation we have today. Injecting a sailing center or any special interests into the plans for the Ft. Getty pavilion replacement is equally a very bad idea for Jamestown taxpayers.

In its published conception, the Ft. Getty sailing center is unfair to commercial enterprises that have taken enormous risks building under strict adherence to town, federal and CRMC mandates to provide these services.

More so, it is wrong to ask taxpayers to incur a majority of the cost of building a 10,000-square-foot building and is equally wrong for the town to include space in the pavilion for private enterprises. What is most disconcerting is that some of the alternatives floated for the Ft. Getty pavilion infer that the best long-term use of Ft. Getty is a townsubsidized sailing center. Introducing another layer of unnecessary complexity to rebuild the Ft. Getty pavilion by this Trojan horse will only cause confusion and delay.

In a recent manifestation, modifying or changing the pavilion location to accommodate this function would wrongly subject taxpayers to unnecessary development and reconstruction costs, as well as money for coastal permits, stringent engineering requirements, anticipated litigation and a couple of new restrooms. For many reasons, the town has no business running a yacht club, sailing club or winter training center for regional school sailing programs.

Perhaps taxpayers would support the town providing the land as an incentive much like the Quonset Development Corporation. If this is a great idea the private interests could raise capital, secure endowments, seek grants, litigate and develop this to completion with measurable benefits for all. If would have to be competitive to other commercial and private yachting facilities, while balancing the needs of town residents.

I hope the town stays on track with the Ft. Getty pavilion. With regard to a municipal sailing center or any unnecessary devia- tions, we should take a different tack. Hopefully by next year we’ll have started work on a new pavilion that will withstand another 25 years of maintenance neglect with no additional special interest costs.

Blake Dickinson


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