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Champlin approves Your Boat Club, set to begin operations this summer

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By Sam Johnson | May 20th, 2021

Your Boat Club will operate out of Mississippi Point Park in Champlin. Parks and Facilities Manager Charlie Lehn said he hopes Your Boat Club will begin business by July 1. (Photo by Sam Johnson)

At the Champlin City Council meeting on May 10, the council approved, by a 3-2 vote, a contract agreement with Minneapolis-based boat rental company Your Boat Club that allows the business to operate at Mississippi Point Park starting this year.

After a contentious discussion about this topic at the March 22 city council meeting, Mayor Ryan Karasek wanted the public to know that the council is doing what they believe is the best thing for Champlin as a city. “This council genuinely cares and wants to make the best decisions,” Karasek said. “A lot of times it is a very difficult thing. Inevitably you are going to end up upsetting somebody. We as a council try to do what we believe is best for the community as a whole.”

The council initially approved a request for proposal document at the April 19 work session that was sent to two companies, Your Boat Club and Champlin Boat Rentals, to be the watercraft rental operator at Mississippi Point Park, starting in 2021. They also agreed that the operator would be allowed four pontoons and one fishing boat and that the contract would have a city option for the 2022 season. It will then be rebid in 2023 for consideration moving forward.

On May 6, the city was notified that Champlin Boat Rentals could no longer meet the bid requirements because they couldn’t get enough pontoons, due to a supply shortage. Recommendations from the staff to the council were that if the council decides to move forward with a watercraft rental operator for this season, it should be Your Boat Club.

Kurt Wresh has lived on the Mississippi River for 19 years and owns USA Inflatables, a local bounce house rental company. With nearly two decades of experience in the rental business, Wresh, also overseeing Champlin Boat Rentals, talked to the council about what his company could offer that Your Boat Club couldn’t. Charging $35 and having residents go on a boat ride down the river where they could sample beers. Educational tours for kids. Getting senior citizens on the river.

While Wresh admitted they could not be ready for the 2021 season, he said the company would be ready by 2022 and doesn’t know why there is a big rush to get it started now. “I don’t understand why we’re in such a hurry to get it done this year,” he said. “We would love to do it next year and I believe we could offer more fair and equal access for all starting next year.”

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