Rowing boom has boathouse looking to expand
If you've been out on the water recently you may have noticed more teams of people rowing. The Syracuse Chargers Rowing Club has seen interest in the sport grow continually over the last decade. But the club is running out of space at its boathouse on Onondaga Lake. Our Iris St. Meran spoke with some members about the increased interest and how they're looking to accommodate members and their boats.
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LIVERPOOL, N.Y. -- They enjoy rowing for different reasons.
Amanda Behm said, "I love the competition."
"It's a great sense of sportsmanship," said Jordan Mueller.
That ultimately turns into friendships here at the Syracuse Chargers Rowing Club Boathouse. It's been in the community for 40 years, but in the past few years has attracted more interest.
Syracuse Chargers Rowing Club Program Director Nickolas Scholz said, "On any given day in the spring you might see as many as 250-300 individuals rowing out of the boathouse. A small day could be 100."
"It's grown in college. We've seen colleges especially with women. We've seen the NCAA acquire rowing as a sport," said President Joe Bufano.
That boom is good for the sport but leaves no more room in this boathouse for all the people and their supplies.
"There's about four or five high schools down here and we have no room to do anything,” Behm said. “This place is packed with kids, coaches, boats moving."
The boats have to be stored outside because there is no room inside the boathouse and that is cause for concern because the boats could be damaged. That damage is mostly from Mother Nature. The sun, rain and hail can be costly repairs for boats that cost a pretty penny in the first place.
"Anywhere from like $20,000 and the highest are like $60,000. They're expensive pieces of equipment," said rowing coach Daniel Budman.
The process of accommodating that equipment and the rowers has taken a team effort.
They set a goal to raise $550,000 to start building a new five-bay boathouse next spring. They have $150,000 of it so far. It's a mission these rowers are looking forward to accomplishing together.
"Having more space would help," said Jordan Mueller.
Help them continue to share their love of rowing with the community and beyond. To learn more about the club's programs or to donate to the cause, visit www.chargersrow.org.