Maryland residents fight marina privatization

CRISFIELD, Md. – The battle to save a public marina in Maryland from privatization may not be over, the Crisfield Times reported in a story yesterday.

Members of a group called Serious Taxpayers Opposing Privatization have urged the inclusion of the Somers Cove Marina in Crisfield, Md., in a comprehensive revitalization plan for the town, as a measure against a deferred state plan that could see the state marina leased to a private vendor.

City council members took the first step in crafting that plan last week, hiring two Maryland consultants to oversee the project, the newspaper reported.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ marina privatization proposal has been a sore point for many local residents since January, the newspaper reported. Many questioned whether the plan would lead to higher boat slip rental rates in consideration of upscale housing being built on many sides of the marina.

Under the DNR proposal, now deferred until at least 2006, a private vendor could be permitted to lease the facility for 30 years with two opportunities for 15-year renewals. The move would take responsibility for the marina’s day-to-day operations out of the state’s hands for up to six decades, the Times reported.

According to the proposal, the private operator also would be responsible for improvements and repairs at the marina. A state-approved master plan detailing the facility’s future use also would be required, according to the newspaper.

Meanwhile, STOP members are encouraging city residents and marina slip holders to make their feelings about plans for the facility known to city council members.

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