American Legion Post 91 nears lease for Governors Hall
CAMBRIDGE — Terms for the lease of Governors Hall by the American Legion Post 91 are expected to be finalized at the beginning of 2017.
At the Monday, Dec. 12 regular meeting, Cambridge City Council approved the lease, with a slight amendment concerning when rent payments will be made by Post 91.
Cambridge City Manager Sandra Tripp-Jones said that both parties are reviewing the draft lease language for a second time as it incorporated some clarifications on insurance requirements and improvement approvals requirements.
“We are shooting for execution by the first of the year, but it may take a few weeks longer,” said Tripp-Jones.
As of Wednesday, Nov. 30, Governors Hall is no longer managed by the nonprofit Sailwinds of Cambridge, Inc.
Post 91 is in need of a space for their organization as their own building was severely damaged by a fire in May. The building sustained about $900,000 in damage when a lightning strike is thought to have started the fire above the facility’s main banquet hall.
Fire crews from Cambridge, Easton, Trappe and Oxford all responded to Radiance Drive, and westbound U.S. Route 50 was shut down for a short time to allow crews to battle the fire. It took firefighters about two hours to control the blaze, the fire marshal’s office said, and no injuries were reported.
Governors Hall is part of an approximately 12-acre parcel of waterfront property that was transferred to the city from the state in August 2014, with the condition that the city would develop the property within 15 years.
A two-acre parcel of the property is being leased to Yacht Maintenance Company under a 30 year agreement that the council voted to approve on Wednesday, Feb. 17. Earlier in 2016, the council declared a small area, less than an acre, to be excess property in order to include it in the portion leased to YMC.
As for the rest of the property, the city is still weighing their options for development. The matter is regularly discussed at City Council meetings, and the council has held several work sessions solely to work on how to move for ward with the Sailwinds property.
Surveys have been done about the project to gauge the opinions of the general public, and the council has accepted public comment in several instances since the process of developing the Sailwinds property began.
Recently, a work session was held to outline four development approaches: request for quotation (RFQ), request for proposal (RFP) with minimum requirements, RFP with criteria or the city acts as the developer.
Tripp-Jones said the city does not have the experienced personnel it would require to design, build and manage a project of this magnitude.
Governors Hall sits on a nearly 12-acre land parcel at the Sailwinds Park port property along Hayward and Franklin streets on the Choptank River waterfront in Cambridge.