An outpouring of community support is leading to new hope for a popular summer spot in Georgetown. The owner of Jack's Boathouse says last week, he received notice from the National Park Service that his lease would be terminated on January 31, 2013. Paul Simkin has been co-owner/owner of the recreation facility for the past 10 years, but it has been operating since 1945. The boathouse employs 27 people, who work full time hours during it's season from April to October. Visitors rent kayaks, canoes and stand-up-boards.
When a man named Jesse Rauch heard the news he decided to take action, creating a Facebook page and petition on change.org. Rauch was also behind the movement that saved the "Screen on the Green" events on the National Mall back in 2009. More than 1,300 people have signed his petition to save Jack's Boathouse from closing.
Simkin tells Fox 5 he received an email containing the following message from Jonathan Jarvis, Director, National Park Service on Christmas Eve:
"In the last 24 hours, I have received hundreds of emails from citizens concerned with the future of Jack's Boathouse, a boat rental operation in Rock Creek Park. I can assure all those concerned that the boathouse
operation will continue into the future as it is an important public service. I have 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."
Simkin is hoping to hear back soon. For now, he's asking community members to continue to spread the word about the petition, and he's told his employees to have a "Plan B" in place.
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