Jack’s Boathouse, Dead or Alive (Depending on When You Ask)
The Georgetowner had the sad news last week: The National Park Service was kicking Jack's Boathouse out of its 67-year perch on the Potomac River. The letter from the Park Service informed Jack's owner Paul Simkin that NPS was terminating the boathouse's month-to-month lease, which had been in NPS' hands since the Georgetown waterfront property was transferred to the agency in 1984. Simkin had to vacate the property by Jan. 31.
But then, on Monday night, NPS gave Simkin a Christmas gift: It changed its mind.
NPS Director Jon Jarvis said on Monday that he'd received hundreds of angry emails about the termination, and so he'd “directed the staff at the park and the Regional Office to withhold further action on the lease termination until I have conducted a thorough review and determined the best course of action.” NPS said that "the boathouse operation will continue" and that Simkin was welcome to offer a proposal for a continued concession.
It was, Simkin told the Post, an "unbelievable gift."
But it also underscores the sometimes chaotic standard operating procedure of NPS contracting. Jack's isn't operated by the troublesome Guest Services International, as its downriver neighbor Thompson Boat Center is, but it's still subject to the whims of NPS, which is nearly 15 years into a concession reform that's yet to be felt much in D.C.