Rockaway beach clubs to stay open

Silver Gull Beach Club and Breezy Point Surf Club, two cornerstone community clubs in the Rockaways that for years have provided thousands of Queens and Brooklyn residents access to the beach, will stay open, according to a new agreement announced last week by Senator Charles Schumer, Congressmember Anthony Weiner, and park officials.
The National Park Service (NPS) and Tom August, the operator of the two beach clubs, reached a new three-year agreement to prevent the clubs from shutting down. Silver Gull will now be able to operate full time starting this June.
Since 1973, the Breezy Point Beach clubs have operated on national park land by renewing a “special use permit” each year. However, in 2007, the Office of the Inspector General issued an audit that raised questions about NPS’ ability to grant the beach clubs authority to operate under special use permit.
In 2008, after months of negotiations between NPS and the clubs’ operator, discussions subsequently stalled. Leaders at Silver Gull worried that the lack of a guaranteed long-term contract placed the future of the club in jeopardy; NPS worried about meeting the requirements that the Department of the Interior’s Inspector General audit mandated. This led to an impasse that lasted nearly six months.
Schumer and Weiner pointed out in letters to NPS the clubs’ contributions to the local community, including providing summer jobs for youth and attracting tourists. The public officials also met with NPS officials and the club operator to help overcome the impasse. New talks began and an agreement was reached.
“Keeping Silver Gull Beach Club and Breezy Point Surf Club open is a real win for the many Queens and Brooklyn families who flock there to enjoy the sun, the pool and the surf during New York’s dog days of summer,” Schumer said. “I applaud the owners, the Park Service and my partner, Congressmember Weiner, for forging a win-win solution that keeps these oases of family summer fun operating now and in the future.”

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