Greenwich is looking for a new operator and vows that it “has every intention of maintaining a community sailing program”.

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GREENWICH – After the Greenwich Community Sailing program recently announced the closure of its longtime Greenwich Point home, the city began accepting offers for a provider to take their place in summer sailing lessons and boat rentals.

“The past two weeks have been unfortunate,” said Joe Sicliano, City Director for Parks and Recreation, of the abrupt end of the Greenwich Community Sailing program.

“However, the department intends to maintain a community sailing program at Greenwich Point. It is an important ministry in our community, ”said Sicliano.

The city is aiming for a five year commitment from a new seller, with 11 a.m. on December 14th, to place sealed bids.

In mid-November, General Manager Jane Pimentel announced that the Greenwich Community Sailing program, which has operated from the Chimes Building for 24 years, will not return for 2022 as the lease with the city is uncertain.

She said the city hadn’t answered any questions about the renovation and she didn’t know if the Chimes Building, which is slated for renovation from fall 2022, would be available.

Pimentel said without a lease the company would not be able to make the necessary investments in a new fleet, citing the possible shortage of storage space in the off-season. She called the end of the program “heartbreaking”.

“Our relationship with the city has reached a point where we are no longer able to run a sustainable business,” said Pimentel. “The top priority of GCS has always been to provide an accessible boating experience to our community and we would have kept the doors open if that were even feasible.”

Time for bids

Edyta Jolicoeur, a buyer for the city’s purchasing department, said she was unable to post any information about how many bids had been received until the December 14 deadline.

In addition to the call for proposals, Siciliano said his department had also reached out to more than 20 coastal organizations in Westchester County, NY, and Connecticut who could provide the services.

“We have targeted a few organizations that may be able to do this,” he said. “People wrote emails and asked questions about the purchasing department. … We’ll know a little more this week. We’re having a pre-proposal conference at Greenwich Point where people can come in and ask questions. “

The proposal can be found on the city’s website at www.greenwichct.gov under Call for tenders.

It calls for sailing lessons to be offered for beginners to advanced, as well as for renting boats. The operator would also be responsible for organizing the program, on-site monitoring and providing all equipment.

“This is an opportunity to do a popular and important service to the Greenwich community,” the city said in a statement last week.

Some supporters blamed the city for the decline of Greenwich Community Sailing, saying they were disappointed in missing the opportunity to learn to sail or rent boats.

“We knew it was a very popular program and we thought it was a very popular program,” Siciliano said. “What surprised me more is how the closure was carried out and how we found out about it. At my level there was no discussion about ending the program beforehand. “

Pimentel said she had been open with the city throughout the process about the need to secure the lease before replacing and upgrading the program’s boat fleet. On Monday, she said her customers remain disappointed that Greenwich Community Sailing will not be back and how the Department of Parks and Recreation has dealt with the situation.

The department had been informed well in advance that Greenwich Community Sailing needed a lease by October, she said.

Also, Pimentel said she plans to appear before the Board of Parks and Recreation on December 8th, if Greenwich Community Sailing is on the agenda.

Chairman of the Board, Scott Johnson, was unavailable for comment on the issues discussed at the meeting.

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