Palm Coast – Today, the City of Palm Coast City Council approved a ‘facility and boathouse use agreement’ with the Palm Coast Rowing Club, a non-profit, volunteer-focused association founded in 2015 with a mission to advance the sport of rowing throughout the community while promoting values and building friendships.
The agreement is a public-private partnership aimed at improving the quality life for area citizens and providing exciting recreational and competitive sports opportunities for local youth. More specifically, it allows the City and the Rowing Club to enter an agreement regarding the land use and planned water access resources such as docks, walkways, and ramps that will be built at Waterfront Park for all of those in the community to use for any form of paddle sport. And, the City grants the club the ability to build, own and operate a boathouse facility - to include a building, equipment, and fixtures for all rowing club operations - on park property. The City will have access and use permission as indicated in the agreement.
Palm Coast’s Parks and Recreation team has been working with the Rowing Club since 2015 to offer various programs - such as indoor rowing at the Community Center - for adults and youth. The club currently operates out of the Palm Harbor Golf Course, launching into a nearby creek.
“Palm Coast residents noted in a recent citizen’s survey that Waterfront Park is one of the most popular places in the city to visit,” said Lauren Johnston, Chief of Staff Citizen's Engagement for the City of Palm Coast. “Our Parks and Recreation team is always looking to enhance the beautiful amenities we have here and this project offers more opportunities for them to enjoy nature and explore the outdoors.”
With this partnership, the Rowing Club plans to grow its youth activities for middle and high school age kids to learn and grow in the discipline of rowing and paddle sports using the park’s water access. Competitive activities may also be offered. Other goals are to support underserved or disadvantaged youth, and adaptive and para-athletes as opportunities develop.
The club is also looking to attract college and club rowing programs from around the country to come train on the Intracoastal Waterway from the boathouse and park’s facilities. For each group, this means between 25 to 60 people would stay for seven to 14 days and spend $1,000+ each locally. With those rowers, support staff and family members spending their money at area hotels, shops, gas stations and restaurants, it ultimately boosts the Palm Coast economy.
“The leadership of the City has such vision and taken great initiative to create a jewel of a recreational facility for any kind of paddle sport access to the waterways around Palm Coast,” said Palm Coast Rowing Club President Chris Meehan. “The Palm Coast Rowing Club is grateful to have an opportunity to introduce many youth and adults to the sport of rowing and particularly to create a thriving youth program that opens opportunities of building great fitness, friendships, character building and even scholarships to college rowing programs.”
As outlined in the agreement, the Rowing Club will lease the land for the boathouse footprint space for $1 annually for the following 30 years and will raise the money on its own to build a boathouse, estimated to cost $2 million. The organization will also be responsible for all operating costs, maintenance and loss or damage associated with club activities. The City will maintain the Waterfront Park water access facilities.
The water access facilities will be available to the public as well as the Rowing Club with the Rowing Club having some priority times for the various adult and youth programs, which will be provided in advance to the City. The Rowing Club agreed to provide the City use of the boathouse for two City specific events per year and that other use for fitness, private and corporate events will also be possible in the future. While the general public will be able to access the launch at any time with no fee, rentals such as kayaks are planned for a later date.
More information on the Palm Coast Rowing Club can be found at www.palmcoastrowingclub.com.
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