2008-12-26 / Community

Gateway Bike And Boathouse Terminated

By Nicholas Briano

The Gateway Bike and Boathouse, which was supposed to bring visitors in touch with the recreational opportunities of Jamaica Bay, has instead been terminated, according to National Park Service officials.

The facility was meant to be an affordable place to rent and store boats, canoes and bikes, and offer educational and instructional programs to visitors at its Riis Landing location starting this spring, according to its founder, Rick Horan.

The terms of the general agreement, issued by National Park Service that granted its operation on the federally owned land, were, however, violated and thus the entire agreement has been terminated, according to National Park Service representative Brian Feeney.

"National Park Service has terminated the agreement because they were operating outside the realm of the general agreement," he said. "The proposals by Gateway Bike and Boathouse were different from what was agreed to." It was agreed, Feeney says, that the boathouse was to solely provide interpretive and educational programming. But, he continues, the boathouse was selling memberships, renting boats and bikes, and selling storage space, which Feeney says resembles more of a commercial enterprise than a not-for-profit establishment.

Not-for-profit guidelines state that organizations are allowed to charge for services as long as all profits generated from those sales are used towards the organization's mission.

However, although the exact terms of this agreement between Gateway Bike and Boathouse and the National Park Service have not been disclosed, both Horan and Feeney say that the agreement was very specific and did not include the types of things that Horan proposed, stated specifically on the organization's website and in a November article in The Wave.

Therefore, even though Gateway Bike and Boathouse may not have violated any specific not-for-profit guidelines, they still violated the terms of the general agreement made with National Park Service by presentng them- selves outside the conditions of that same agreement.

"The agreement was very specific," Feeney said. "It did not include the selling of memberships."

Horan remains hopeful that there will be a resolution between the two parties and a new agreement could be worked out, that would include more specifics about what the Gateway Bike and Boathouse wishes to do.

"It is a misunderstanding," Horan says. "The club was meant to be for everyone to be able to use, there was no exclusiveness intended by the selling of memberships."

Horan said that since receiving the news, he talked with National Park Service officials about a possible meeting in the coming weeks to discuss another instrument that would include the specifics not listed in the original member agreement.

"We are disappointed, but remain hopeful for the future," he said. "We really thought that everything we were planning on doing was along the guidelines of the general agreement."

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