SOUTH HAVEN — South Haven City Manager Kevin Anderson has been authorized to seek proposals to operate the city’s four marina and boat launches, according to an Oct. 9 article in the South Haven Tribune. The idea to contract out for management of the marina was facilitated by the retirement of the marina’s previous director. "Marina privatization is still a relatively rare occurrence," said Michael LaFaive, senior managing editor of Michigan Privatization Report, "but its popularity appears to be growing as strapped governments look for ways to improve services and save money."
Several years ago the Westrec Corporation of Encino, Calif., took over management of Chicago’s marinas. They also operate marinas in Arizona, Florida, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Nevada, and the state of Washington. Not all are being managed for units of government. Some are directly owned by Westrec. The company also manages marina-related restaurants and campgrounds.
South Haven released a 53-page Request for Proposal to solicit interested parties in negotiating a management contract for marinas. The four marinas have over 200 boat slips plus accommodations for other boats.
The Mackinac Center for Public Policy has written briefly on the subject of marina, dock and boat launch privatization in its studies "Recommendations to Strengthen Civil Society and Balance Michigan’s State Budget," and "Ecorse: The Fall and Rise of a Michigan City." Both are available online at www.mackinac.org/5046 and www.mackinac.org/252, respectively.