The following is an internal letter from the Wilmette Harbor Association that was sent out to members regarding the harbor's lease renewal. Check out s andon the lease issue. Stay tuned to Patch for more updates.
With hope, this letter will clarify some of the facts regarding the future of the Wilmette Harbor Association (WHA) and outline the status of our 50 year lease which is set to expire in July of 2012.
The WHA has been the tenant of the property known as Wilmette Harbor for more than 75 years. The property is owned by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRDGC). The original purpose of the harbor was to function as a settling basin and to allow water in and out of the canal system that is controlled by the MWRDGC. Since the time of our last lease, 50 years ago, legislation has been passed that requires competitive bidding for all MWRDGC leases. The only exception to the bidding process is for a government or academic institution. If approved by the MWRDGC the excepted entities may obtain a lease without competing in the bid process.
The WHA has been working diligently with the MWRDGC to help them understand the uniqueness of the services the WHA has provided, in lieu of lease payments, for the past 75 years. These services are annual dredging, to maintain adequate water flow, and maintenance and repairs to the original structures built in 1907. In summary, the WHA operates the settling basin as a harbor and uses the harbor’s revenue to maintain and repair the structure in accordance with our lease obligations with no cost to the MWRDGC.
The MWRDGC suggested that we approach the Wilmette Park District (WPD) about the lease and our desire to continue as the management authority. The WPD would have to gain MWRDGC approval to obtain the lease so this could happen. We entered into discussions with the WPD about the lease and our interest in continuing to operate the harbor. After numerous meetings with the WHA, the WPD declined to enter into a management agreement and are continuing to do due diligence in pursuit of the harbor’s lease with the MWRDGC.
The WHA wants to remain the sole operator of the harbor and believes we have demonstrated our competence and stewardship for the past 75 years. We are hopeful that we will be able to continue to offer the necessary services to the MWRDGC, be good neighbors to the WPD, operate a safe place for recreational boating and provide a home to the U.S. Coast Guard.
Wilmette Harbor Association Board of Directors