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Parks and Rec Recommends Take Over of Eichler's Marina Program

Former owner would have to leave by Jan. 1 if town proceeds with management takeover.

The Parks and Recreation Commission is recommending the town take over managing and overseeing boat slips at Eichler's Cove, including hiring a company to provide around-the-clock seasonal security starting in May.

Commission members made the recommendation to the Board of Selectmen earlier this month.

Carol Marchetti, who will lose her job and home with the decision, said the town had not officially informed her of the recommendation.

"I was hoping for one more year," the 60-year-old said on Monday after learning of the news.

The town first contracted with Marchetti for help in overseeing the property, specifically with renting out the boat slips, shortly after buying Eichler's Cove from her and her family five years ago for $1.4 million.

"We didn't feel we were prepared to take and manage the facility," Ed Marks, the chairman of the Parks and Recreation Commission, told the selectmen.

The nearly 11-acre parcel, which included the house, beach, marina and five cottages, had been in Marchetti's family since 1963, town officials said. The town added another acre in 2006 from an adjoining property at a cost of $250,000.

The marina features 76 boat slips. Newtown and out-of-town residents pay between $1,025 and $1,475 for each slip depending on the size of the vessel and whether they live in town.

Part of the reasoning behind ending the arrangement with Marchetti has to do with cost. Commission members propose hiring a security firm to provide a guard for the first year while security cameras and other devices are installed. In subsequent years the guard wouldn't be needed because the camera and other devices would be in use.

Under Marchetti's contract, the town pays her $37,500 for the 2010 season, and she is allowed to live in her former house rent free. The town reimburses her for half the cost of liability insurance up to $1,500 and half of basic telephone service plus the cost of business, calls, officials said. She is responsible for home maintenance cost up to a maximum of $100, and from November through March she is responsible for all utility costs.

The commission also is recommending the demolition of the house Marchetti and her husband inhabit in order to build a concession stand and bathroom building in the future, saying that was the only place for such facilities.

If the town doesn't renew Marchetti's contract on or before Oct. 15, she must leave the property by Dec. 21, 2010.

Parks and recreation board members said many boat slip owners like having Marchetti living nearby because of the attention she gives to security and their vessels. That was one of the reservations officials have in issuing the recommendation, members said.

"They feel that their property is safe with her," said Jan Brookes. "Many of them voice extremely high attachment to her, and so that's a reservation."

The selectmen still must vote on the recommendation.

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