$1M indoor rowing facility planned for Island MetroPark

The Greater Dayton Rowing Association hopes to begin work next year on a new $1 million rowing facility on Island MetroPark that will allow the group to do rowing training and conditioning all year long.

The association has raised about $150,000 for a new addition that for the first time would provide indoor bath and changing rooms and a climate-controlled space for use of rowing machines during the colder months, said Jim Wall, president of the Dayton Rowing Foundation.

Since the association was founded in 1992, winter rowing programming has gone off site, currently to the Greater Dayton YMCA, Wall said.

“This requires a tremendous amount of moving logistics to transfer equipment from facility to facility,” he said. “Having a permanent home for equipment also allows the (association) to expand programming to include more indoor rowing related classes.”

Rowing is a year-round sport, but the Greater Dayton Rowing currently has to relocate its programming to off-site facilities when the weather turns cold, officials said.

The Dayton Rowing Foundation, a nonprofit, has been working on a vision plans for about a decade to bring indoor rowing facilities to Island MetroPark, officials said.

The Greater Dayton Rowing Association built the boathouse at Island Park in 1994.

The new 2,500-square-foot addition will be constructed next to the existing boathouse and will have indoor rowing machines for training and conditioning. The facility will have large windows and a wrap-around deck.

The plan is to begin construction in 2020. This would coincide with the completion of the Keowee Street Bridge project, which also will enhance the on-water rowing experience, Wall said.

The foundation has raised seed money to support the hydraulic and site testing as well as architectural and engineering work, Wall said.

The rowing club, which relies on membership fees and donations, is open to the public. People pay a fee to access boats and rowing equipment. The association offers learn-to-row classes every spring and summer to teach people the activity and be comfortable and safe on the water.

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