Leave Lakewood Alone

Small boat slips at Lakewood Moorage have always been in high demand. Boat owners stay for years on a wait list, and pay year round moorage fees to keep their slip once they get one. If Dwight Jones of Marina Management LLC is awarded the contract currently before the Parks Committee, Lakewood loses twelve 20 foot slips, sixteen 24 foot slips and twelve 30 foot slips. Currently, 101 of the 138 total slips at Lakewood are 20 and 24 feet, and Lakewood is always at capacity.

With Jones’ plan, Lakewood loses 42 of the slips for boats 30 feet and under, and has a net loss of 747 lineal feet. Jones adds seven slips that are 50+ feet, including one that is 96 feet long. Sure, he says that the large slips can be split and shared by 2 or more smaller boats, but when he can charge more per lineal foot for the bigger boat slips, what is his incentive to split them up?

The marina on Ohler’s Island became public in 1952, finally fulfilling the city’s 1910 promise to provide Lakewood residents public moorage after they lost their waterfront lots to eminent domain, in anticipation of the lowering of the lake to create the Olmsted designed Lake Washington Boulevard. The Lakewood Neighborhood Association was very involved in the planning of the moorage, and city leaders listened. The new public moorage at Lakewood stayed small, had mostly local boat owners as tenants, had no covered slips, and had no commercial components. For many years, it was run by the Elbert and Kathleen Schober who also lived in the Lakewood neighborhood, and it felt like a family run small business.

Lakewood doesn’t need millions of dollars of renovations like North and South Leschi. Lakewood’s docks could be renovated in phases, without prolonged permitting and without interruption of the revenue stream.

Dwight Jones has grandiose plans for our public moorages, plans that might fit in well in Edmonds or at Carillon Point, but have no place at Lakewood. DPR has negotiated this 40 year contract for 18 months, and is turning over complete moorage operations that generate $1 million + in annual revenue in exchange for just 3% of gross revenues in rent. Plus, they are adding in $4 million to this prized contract, money that should have been spent on South Leschi years ago. Now those failing docks at South Leschi have been condemned, meaning another 24 slips for 30 foot boats are gone forever, and another 24 families will be looking to Lakewood to moor their boats.

Lakewood tenants don’t want or need Dwight Jones to turn Lakewood’s public moorage into a world class, 4 star facility. The Lakewood community wants what was promised them years ago, a local moorage that is affordable to keep their families’ boats.

It’s time that Parks listened to Lakewood tenants, Lakewood neighbors, and the Lakewood Seward Park Neighborhood Association. It’s time that the contract be bifurcated, as Council President Bruce Harrell and Council Member Jean Godden told them to do in 2015. We can’t let Lakewood be the cherry on top of the moorages contract. The contract is sweet enough without giving Jones Lakewood too.