As reported over the weekend by Aaron Wiener of City Paper, Paul Simkin, the owner of Jack’s Bathouse, is asserting the the National Park Service no longer owns the Georgetown waterfront.

Simkin’s assertion is based upon a reading of the original council resolution regarding the transfer of the land from the city to NPS in 1985. The resolution provides that the transfer will revert to the city if there are any amendments to the deed. There have been two amendments, in 2000 and 2005.

My worst grade in law school was in property law, so he has zero idea how strong a case Simkin has. My initial thought is that it’s not terribly strong since the reversion language is in a council resolution and not the deed of transfer itself. But that’s a C-plus property law student talking.

But setting aside the legal issue, what would be the ramifications if Simkin is right? Pretty big. As Jack Evans pointed out in the City Paper article, it would mean the city has to pay to maintain the park, something it’s in a much better position to do that now than in 1985 (let alone 1995).

The park would immediately become a crown jewel in the city’s park portfolio. And while I have some concerns about the city’s ability to maintain it, I would be very interested to see what the city could do with the park. That’s because the park currently strains under NPS’s orthodoxy regarding “passive enjoyment” of the park. Under this philosophy, no organized events or activities can take place in the park.

[Continue reading Topher Mathews’s post here at The Georgetown Metropolitan.]

Topher Mathews blogs at The Georgetown Metropolitan . The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.