CLEVELAND - The industrial Cuyahoga River is seeing new life. Work began last month to transform the buildings of the former Foundry Equipment Co. on Columbus Road into a new state-of-the-art rowing facility.
The goal of the $9 million facility, called “The Foundry,” is to forge top athletes. Executive Director Aaron Marcovy said the non-profit training center will be geared toward high school and college-aged athletes from every background.
“We've created a facility to house boats and nurture athletes,” Marcovy said. “Ultimately what we're trying to do collectively as the rowing community in Northeast Ohio is nurture those kids to make them scholarship material.”
Construction is expected to take at least a year and a half and will involve the conversion of several buildings into a new, large facility. So far, crews are working to convert an old warehouse into a Shell House, where boats will be stored. Docks will be installed in the coming weeks.
Once completed, hundreds of athletes could use the facility’s boats, rowing tanks and work out facilities on a daily basis, Marcovy said. He said the Foundry will also work to provide financial assistance to teens that need it, so they can participate.
“Cleveland is a great place to be a rower whether you come from affluent background or not,” he said.
The project is funded by MCPc Family Charities. The land was purchased for $3 million earlier this year, Marcovy said, with Cleveland City Council approving this week approving the 10 year lease of an additional, small portion of land for a 250 foot-long riverfront boardwalk and park that will be open to the public.
The neighborhood surrounding the project is undergoing a renaissance, with nearby restaurants bustling. Included among them is the Metroparks’ Merwin’s Wharf, which opened last summer.
“I kind of feel like, with this facility, we're getting in on the ground floor of the public now paying much more attention to the river front,” Marcovy said.
He said rowing operations will begin at the Foundry within the next month.