BPDA Looks at Possible Kayaking Venture on Little Mystic Channel

The Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) is looking at offering a license for kayaking or canoeing vendors on the Little Mystic Channel boat ramp, as well as at the Navy Yard.

The request for a new RFP appears on the BPDA Board’s agenda for today, April 11, and specifies that they would be looking to possibly offer one license in the Navy Yard – which was no surprise – and a second one on Little Mystic.

“The BPDA requests approval to advertise and issue a Request for Proposals from qualified parties to enter into one or two license agreements for public

waterborne activities such as kayak, canoe, and/or paddleboard vending opportunities at the Charlestown Navy Yard waterfront and/or the Little Mystic Channel Boat Ramp,” read the request. “The BPDA may award two separate licenses to two different respondents at each location; may award two licenses to the same respondent for both locations; or may choose to award a license for only one, or for none, of the locations.”

The Little Mystic Channel boat ramp and accompanying properties have been the focus of public scrutiny for several months as a long-term lease with MassPort, and a sub-lease with the Diversified AutoPort, winds down in July. Residents have called for more waterfront activities on that land, including at the existing boat ramp which is isolated and underutilized. It seems as a result of that process, and a contentious public meeting last month, that the kayaking idea has sprung up there.

The Navy Yard piece was expected, as a kayaking proposal was brought forth in the recent activation RFP. That was scrapped at the end due to a problem with infrastructure docking. This new RFP is meant to accommodate that use in the Navy Yard, and now the Little Mystic too.

The proposal would be to set up shop for this summer, with a one-year license that allows for two-year seasonal extension. As part of the RFP, the BPDA has pledged to provide $10,000 for capital assets that would be permanently owned by the BPDA – presumably for the dock structures and rental kiosks.

“We expect these vendor license agreements to generate enough revenue to be sustainable,” the request read. “The BPDA will consider fee proposals based on

either a flat monthly payment, or a monthly payment based on a percentage of net revenue. The BPDA’s standard business practice is to base payments on a percentage of gross revenue, but net revenue is more appropriate in this case due to the experimental nature of the licenses, and the public benefit provided.”

•The Chain Forge project has asked for another extension from the BPDA so as to get additional time to secure the necessary financing to complete the project. That has been ongoing for a number of years now.

•The BPDA will vote on terminating the license agreement with the Korean War Veterans Memorial in the Shipyard Park, which comes at the War Memorial Committee’s request. The 30-day termination notice will relieve them of their obligations under the agreement. The Memorial will still be maintained by the BPDA.

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