By Katie Dahlstrom
Herald Staff Writer
The owner of the Candlelight Inn is on track to become the next marina and RV Park manager after a unanimous vote from Clinton City Council members in favor of his proposal Tuesday night.
Matt Prescott presented to council members his vision of the facilties and boasted the potential benefits he would provide for the city.
“We think by putting everything under one set of rules, one roof, one person to answer to, that we can get a better service to the citizens. Not only the people that rent slips down there, but the transient boaters, general citizens that use the area,” Prescott said.
Prescott said he would address a number of items he believes hinders the marina from being as profitable as it could be. He would improve facility cleanliness, increase hours of operation, keep a qualified mechanic on staff, put boats in and take them out in a quicker fashion and keep a full-time marina manager on site. Prescott’s contract requires a $120,000 fee that would pay for the insurance, part-time wages and the marina manager.
“If we put all those things together, I think we’ll have the service level to go with the premier facility down there,” he said.
While Prescott does not have any marina management experience, he said most of what needs to be done is customer-service related and the parts that are not will either be covered by having a qualified mechanic on site or quickly learned. Some customer-service improvements include providing ice to the slip renters and gas purchasers. Also, Prescott said the facility’s lower level and party barge would be more open to community members.
Prescott also has plans to put in a coffee and self-service yogurt shop in the lower level of the amenities building where the gift shop currently is located.
“With the amount of foot traffic that’s down there, it gives people a reason to come in from the boats. There’s the ball park across the way and lots of ball diamonds down there, people could dine at the restaurant. There’s a lot of foot traffic down there and I think it would be a good fit,” Prescott said. “It gives people more of a reason to come use that facility.”
Prescott would be responsible for those renovations and a percent of revenue would go to the city, Prescott said.
Under Prescott’s proposal, from Memorial Day to Labor Day the marina would be staffed from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. to Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
“Now keep in mind because we are on site at all times, there’s somebody on site until 10 o’clock every day. So if somebody comes in at 7:30 at night and says ‘Hey I need help with something,’ we have manpower. We have somebody here to take care of it,” Prescott said.
Prescott would also like to put an incentive clause in the contract that would give his team a cut of the shop profits above a baseline goal, but that would need to be discussed during contract negotiations with the city attorney.
Councilwoman at-large Jennifer Graf asked how Prescott would be unbiased as a marina and RV park operator, who also owns the restaurant above the marina.
“In knowing you have a contract with Candlelight and the arrangement we have between you and the city. How do you propose to differentiate Candlelight from the marina operations?” she asked.
Prescott said his team would gladly direct people to different dining establishments throughout town.
Council members all voted in favor of sending the proposal forward to the next City Council meeting.