Staten Island boat owners fight federal plan to shut Sandy-battered marina

“This place is like family to me. Where else will I put my boat?

“I’ve been hanging out here for 12 years with my friends,” Pete Palermo of Staten Island said. “Where else would I go?”

Palermo gets teary-eyed when he and his buddies talk about what the Nichols Great Kills Park Marina means to them.

“It’s like family to me,”

Pete Palermo has been going to the marina for the past 12 years

Pete Palermo has been going to the marina for the past 12 years

Vinnie Palmiero, another boat owner said. “This is where I spend all my time.”

Nichols Marina, the largest on Staten Island, used to have 350 wooden slips until Sandy washed them all away. And now the National Park Service, which owns the land and leases it out, has decidedĀ  not to rebuild the slips in time for the 2013 boating season.

The current leaseholder, the Marinas of the Future, have been told they have no future here. The National Park Service said all these boats have to be removed by April 15.

“Structurally, the only thing missing is the docks, said Fred DeLise, co-chair of the Committee to Save the Great Kills Marina, “I don’t know, they don’t give us a reason for their decision.”

During Hurricane Sandy the docks at Marinas of the Future were wiped out

During Hurricane Sandy the docks at Marinas of the Future were wiped out

The boat owners and PIX 11 have tried to find out why the National Park Service won’t renew the lease and rebuild. No answers so far.

The boat owners’ group has now set up a Facebook page, Save Great Kills Park Marina, hoping to rally support from politicians and others to reverse the National Park Service decision to close.

“I know it’s not like losing your home,” Ken Blankenheimer, a boat owner said. “But to me, this is like my home and where am I going to put my boat now?”

All 350 boats will have to be removed by April 15.

All 350 boats will have to be removed by April 15.