Windermere quashes boathouse rumors

In a recent video, Town Manager Robert Smith addressed hearsay regarding the future of the town’s five boathouses in Palmer Park.

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  • | 1:06 p.m. November 11, 2020
In the YouTube video, Town Manager Robert Smith assures residents no decisions have yet been made about the boathouses.
In the YouTube video, Town Manager Robert Smith assures residents no decisions have yet been made about the boathouses.
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Following rumors regarding the future of five Windermere boathouses, town staff was ready to set the record straight.

In a video posted to the town’s YouTube channel, Town Manager Robert Smith quashed rumors that the boathouses are being demolished. Smith assured residents that no decision has been made as to what will happen to the boathouses.

The boathouses are located in Palmer Park west of Main Street, and Smith said he believes they have been there since the town was originally platted.

About 20 years ago, Smith said, the town decided to lease the boathouses out and entered into five different lease agreements with an initial 10-year term. The leases then automatically renewed for another 10-year term. However, those leases are set to expire in February 2021. 

“We don’t have to send notice, we don’t have to send any information to those people that actually lease those boathouses because it automatically terminates,” Smith said of the current leases. “Then they have a certain amount of time to take out what they have in the boathouses, and then it becomes the property of the town of Windermere.”

Town Council will determine what to do with the boathouses moving forward — a decision that has yet to be made.

“We’re taking it to the Historical Preservation Board, we’re taking it to Parks and Recreation, and then probably in December we’ll take it to Town Council to discuss what they want to do or what additional information they want to gather before they make a decision on what to do with these boathouses,” Smith said in the video. “The town is not going to enter into a new lease until there is a decision made by Town Council.”

Some of the options that could be on the table include renewing the leases to the current tenants; leasing the boathouses out to new tenants; and to designate the boathouses as historic.

Smith said Town Council does have the option to demolish the boathouses if it chooses but he doesn’t believe that will be the case. 

Once all options go through the Historical Preservation Board, as well as Parks and Recreation, there likely will be a public workshop with Town Council.

“Then, the entire town is invited to those different meetings so they can provide their input of what to do with these,” Smith said. “There’s a lot of people that don’t have lakefront properties that would love to have access to those boathouses.”


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