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New dock to bring rowing to Brockport

by Lou Venditti - News Editor
Tue, Nov 7th 2017 09:20 pm

The Erie Canal is about to get much more active. The Village of Brockport will be building a dock and boathouse in Commissary Park at The College at Brockport come spring time, and the village has activites to go with it.

The project began in 2015, according to Mayor Margary Blackman. Blackman has long been a proponent of bringing rowing to Brockport, so the village came together to form the Brockport Community Rowing Club (BCRC). 

The docks are paid for through a combination of private donations and grants. The first grant the village recieved to build the dock was the Canalway Grant which was worth $22,500. The village also received $50,000 from the New York State Dormitory Authority, which they pursued through local representative Robert G. Ortt. On top of the grants, the village recieved donations from Brockport Integrated Service Organizations, or BISO, such as the Lion’s Club. Add this to Graduation Weekend proceeds from the last three years, as well as private donations, and the dock plan is funded.

“Among private donations, we also recieved two rowing shells,” Blackman said. “We recieved an eight and a four to  go with the docks.”

Getting the grants was just the first step in the dock project. The next step was finding and securing the location.

The dock was not always planned to go in Commissary Park. According to Blackman, the college was initially skeptical of the liability involved with having a dock on campus. The college also did not express interest in adding rowing sports to its roster of varsity sports. The original spot for the dock was planned to be at Corbett Park; however, residents objected to the dock being placed there. 

Following the inauguration of college president Heidi MacPherson, the plan was brought back to Commissary Park. MacPherson has been a strong voice in involving the college with the community, and the dock turned out to be a project her administration chose to work on. 

After finally setting the location in stone, the village turned to legitimizing the BCRC as a non-profit organization. The club had to file for 501c3 status, which establishes it as being such. The filing also made BCRC eligible to apply for the Canalway Grant.

The dock and boathouse ownership is a little tricky. The land for the dock will be deeded by the college to the village. This is mainly due to the college not wanting the liability of a dock on campus. The village will then hand over control to the BCRC who will maintain and use the dock. BCRC cannot be given the dock until it has attained 501c3 status.

The dock and boathouse will be a huge addition to the Brockport community. Blackman said the Erie Canal in Brockport has a 2,000 meter straight stretch that would be perfect for hosting regattas and other rowing events. She also hopes to see not only the college, but the high school and middle school get involved with rowing projects to use the docks.

“Build it and they will come,” Blackman said.

As it stands, the dock is looking to be complete by the end of spring 2018. The boathouse will be following as soon as possible, built by the BCRC under the supervision of the village’s Department of Public Works. Canal Corp will be responsible for filing the permits pertaining to the dock. 

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