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Contact: Brian Feeney, 718-354-4606
Three Year Temporary Contract will keep the Silver Gull Club and the Breezy Point Beach Club Open
Gateway National Recreation Area General Superintendent Barry Sullivan announced that an agreement has been reached that allows the Breezy Point Surf Club and the Silver Gull Club to continue to operate within the park for three more years. An agreement between the National Park Service (NPS) and Mr. Tom August, principle operator of the two clubs, was signed on April 15.
The new agreement is a temporary, three-year concession contract that will require the clubs to operate in a fashion similar to other businesses that operate authorized concessions at Gateway. Standard NPS concession requirements include quality visitor services, building maintenance, environmental planning and management, a visitor safety program, and payment of a specified franchise fee to the government.
Commenting on this development, Sullivan thanked August for “all the work put into developing the new agreement,” and he also expressed his appreciation to Senator Charles Schumer and Congressman Anthony Weiner whose contributions Sullivan described as “critical to bringing about the successful execution of the new concession contract.”
The beach clubs held a permit to operate from the City of New York prior to the establishment of the Gateway National Recreation Area. In 1974 the land and buildings occupied by the beach clubs were transferred to the NPS by New York City and the park issued the club operators a Special Use Permit that permitted their continued operations. In 2007, the Inspector General for the NPS issued a report, “Private Use of Public Lands,” that examined this issue at several national parks across the country. In that report the Inspector General questioned the decision to operate the beach clubs under a Special Use Permit, raised concerns about the potential exclusive nature of the clubs, and noted the lack of environmental planning and compliance for this area of the park. In response to these findings, the Director of the National Park Service signed a memorandum assuring the Inspector General that Gateway would address these concerns.
The temporary Concession Contract now in place allows the two clubs to operate through the 2011 season. During that time Gateway will be formulating a new General Management Plan (GMP) for the entire park. This process will include legally required environmental impact studies, along with public meetings to obtain valuable input from the park’s visitors about the future management of Gateway’s Breezy Point District. When that phase of the GMP iscomplete, a decision will be made about the best alternative for the public use of all ateway
lands, including the beach clubs.