Marco Island, Sailing Center continue negotiations to get programs up and running

Devan Patel
Marco Eagle
At its Sept. 4 meeting, the Marco Island City Council heard from numerous students and parents about the importance of the sailing programs, which prompted council to ask the city to look at how it could aid in getting things back into place.

The Community Sailing Center and the city of Marco Island continue to negotiate to get its sailing programs back up and running.

For as quiet as the waters have been, the message delivered earlier this month by Marco Island’s sailing community was resounding: parents and students want programs at the Community Sailing Center to start up again.

“The city is helping us resolve this right now but we need an immediate answer of when the program is likely to start up again,” Vice President Terry Naylon said.

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At its Sept. 4 meeting, council heard from numerous students and parents about the importance of the programs, which prompted council to ask city staff to look at howto get get things back into place.

Programs have not been offered for more than a year and many of the issues were caused by damage sustained during Hurricane Irma. Federal Emergency Management Agency officials also required the city to cordon off the area over safety concerns, acting City Manager Guillermo Polanco said during that meeting.

The city and sailing center have also gone back and forth on agreements to provide such programs with insurance requirements; causing more holdups.

In 2017, Naylon said that center had a great working relationship with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department and had a verbal agreement where the city would provide administrative services for items like fee collection, payroll and insurance in exchange for the sailing center providing oversight of daily programs and curriculum.

The city, however, was not comfortable with the agreement and presented the sailing center with a new document, similar to other contracts it had, that required the sailing center to pay for its insurance and hold the city harmless.

After members of the community came forward, the city defended itself with Parks, Recreation and Culture Manager Samantha Malloy stating that she wanted to see both kids and adults programs up and running. In addition to saying that the city had gotten close to an agreement with the city, Malloy said that the community had only received a portion of the story.

With the programs going quiet over the past year, Naylon also expressed concerns about the status of equipment as a result of not having access to it.

In addition to an infestation problem, Naylon said that locks were changed on the shed that housed equipment, which prevented the sailing center from performing critical maintenance.

Naylon also told the Council that the sailing center had presented the city with a new services contract; however, some of the same issues have arisen after the document was reviewed by the city’s legal counsel.

“He did not agree to enter or execute the agreement the attorney had recommended last year that we had negotiated with Mr. (Rocky) Cale,” Polanco said. “He submitted his own agreement and we forwarded that to the attorney. I don’t believe the attorney is of the opinion that it’s legally sufficient so we’re going to give him the notes that Mr. (Alan) Gabriel provided us. We will go with the agreement our attorney has drafted in order to make sure all parties are covered.”

Polanco said parties were going to meet again last week and offered to meet with Naylon about what the sailing center needed to perform the tasks it was concerned about.