MAY 27, 2022, HAMILTON, OH – The Great Miami Rowing Center (GMRC), a vibrant community organization in Hamilton since 2007, has announced plans to build a new $6.5 million boathouse, community recreation and training center as part of a mixed-use development at 110 North B Street in partnership with a local developer known for the development of apartments, townhomes, and mixed use projects. The project reached a milestone this month with the completion of a concept design for the facility by Susan T Rodriguez | Architecture • Design, and three $1 million donations committed from the Harry T. Wilks Family Foundation, the City of Hamilton, and the Hamilton Community Foundation. “We are happy to be able to support the GMRC in creating a place for all Hamiltonians to access and get out on the river!” said Barbara Wilks and Nanci Lanni, Trustees of the Harry T. Wilks Family Foundation.
The integrated plan for development of the site will address the City’s growing demand for downtown housing while at the same time continuing to build upon the Hamilton River Plan that identified the Great Miami River as a catalyst for entertainment, recreation, and economic development.
“The Hamilton Community Foundation is pleased to be part of this exciting project supporting the Great Miami Rowing Center and helping connect the larger Hamilton community with the river” said John Guidugli, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Hamilton Community Foundation. Dan Bates, President and CEO of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce elaborates, “This mixed-use project is most exciting because it is the first development in Hamilton that combines residential development with river recreation. We have the beautiful Great Miami, a gem, running through our downtown and this is a benchmark project that focuses on the river and river recreational use. It has been proven time and again when communities embrace their waterfront with appropriate development projects, those communities engage their residents and become a magnet for visitors.”
The proposed design for the new Rowing Center represents a shared vision for an activated riverfront that will create a community beacon at the unique intersection of the city and the Great Miami River. The two-story, 14,000 square foot building will house the existing fleet of rowing shells, kayaks, and equipment with room for expansion to support projected growth of the organization’s programs, along with a year-round café and support spaces for the team, coaches, and the broader GMRC community. At the second level, the Rowing Center will include a training space with expansive views of the city that serves a dual function as a gathering space for events and recreation. This design concept for a truly sustainable facility will support the health and wellness of the community, optimize energy performance, and adapt to the evolving needs of the organization and the community. Preliminary estimates for the total project costs including construction and soft costs range between $6-6.5 million
“This is an incredibly exciting time for GMRC,” said Head Coach Marc Oria, who is originally from Barcelona, Spain. “The stretch of water we have in Hamilton is priceless. I grew up in a rowing club in Barcelona where we all gathered to work out, row, and socialize. It was an incredibly supportive club that kept young people engaged and physically active. We have the same vision for Hamilton.”
Oria, who is a US Rowing Level 3 certified coach, is one of the nation’s top high performance rowing coaches, running camps in Florida and Oklahoma for athletes who want to compete nationally and internationally. He envisions bringing those athletes to Hamilton once the center is completed.
GMRC's purpose is to engage youth and adults in Hamilton and the surrounding region in the sport of rowing, as well as bring recreational opportunities to underserved or at-risk populations. The Great Miami Crew Youth team consists of athletes in high school and middle school, while the Masters (adult) program is open to anyone over age 21. One of the fastest growing programs is the Junior rowing outreach program open to middle-school age students which offers a healthy after school program and helps to put kids at risk on a sustainable development track into high school.
GMRC is also the only organization in northwestern Cincinnati designed to bring the Great Miami River to the public for non-powered water sports and recreation. By using best practice models from Austin, Chattanooga, and Oklahoma City, GMRC is leveraging the river as a community asset to support recreational activities for residents of all ages and abilities. There is considerable evidence that well-designed river activities can have important and beneficial effects for community health and development.
Kristen Riekert, Board Co-President said, “Rowing should be accessible and available to anyone in our area who wants to try it. It is our goal as an organization to bring the love of rowing and Hamilton and the Great Miami River together to ensure the future of the club.” "This is a very exciting time for GMRC, we have hoped and dreamed for this for so long. We look forward to complimenting Spooky Nook and helping to make B Street the place to be downtown!” said Melissa Sancrant, Board Co-President. "With the help of the City of Hamilton, the Hamilton Community Foundation, and the Harry T Wilks Foundation, we are able to kick off our capital campaign and see our vision and dream becoming a reality!”
Registration to join GMRC is open with programming available for youth and adults. To register for rowing programming or learn more, go to www.GreatMiamiRowing.com. To view a video overview of the capital campaign, click here. To schedule a meeting to discuss a personal or corporate contribution to the Row Hamilton Capital Campaign, please email email@example.com. To donate, please go to the Hamilton Community Foundation fundraiser page here.
Please join us for Media Availability Days on June 1 and June 2 from 4:45-7:30 at 110 North B Street. Please call Melissa Sancrant at 330-416-0612 or email firstname.lastname@example.org so we can be prepared for you. If you require an alternate date, please contact us.
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About Great Miami Rowing Center
The Great Miami Rowing Center (GMRC) is a 501(c)3 devoted to supporting recreational use of the Great Miami River in Hamilton through high quality rowing programming, infrastructure development and scholarship funding. By using the sport of rowing as a cornerstone, GMRC encourages use of the river for daily sport, yearly events, and all types of recreation. GMRC and its youth and masters race teams – Great Miami Crew – are a collaborative community devoted to the growth and development of athletes of all ages and abilities, who want to safely use the river for competition, fitness, and recreation. More information is available atwww.GreatMiamiRowing.com or on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
About Susan T Rodriguez | Architecture • Design
Susan T Rodriguez | Architecture • Design is an award-winning New York-based studio that is recognized for their work in the public realm. STR | A•D creates buildings of memorable impact that are inspired by their surroundings, the wellbeing of communities, and the long-term sustainability of the environment. Current projects include the Harlem Meer Center, a new recreational facility in New York City’s Central Park, the Davis Center for Human Ecology at College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine, and the Paul J Schupf Art Center, a collaboration between Colby College and the city of Waterville, Maine to revitalize the city’s downtown.