Williamsburg Rowing Center -The Plan
Located in the Northeast corner of Chickahominy Riverfront Park on the quiet waters of Gordon Creek, the WBC Rowing Center will become a multi-function centerpiece in the Park space created to support clean, recreational use of the lower Chickahominy watershed. The proposed rowing center is a 2,100 square-foot building with a maintenance bay, meeting room, and indoor space that can accommodate indoor training and support “learn-to” classes for rowing, adaptive rowing, small boats, and team building events. The Center will also include a Pavilion for protected storage of shells, oars, and support and regatta equipment, to help extend the life of our fragile equipment and build capabilities for staging our growing regattas that attract rowers from South Carolina to Maryland.
Proposed rendering of the Rowing Center
Thanks to the support and guidance of JCC Parks & Recreation, a comprehensive design of the dedicated small boating section of the Park has been created. WBC has been the steward of this space for almost a decade with our army of volunteers. The Rowing Center and Pavilion will be located near the current community boat house in the area of an old storage shed. The bays will lead onto the existing gravel road that runs to the waterfront (and will double up for ADA water access).
The first stage of the development project is to re-route traffic access and create additional parking. With the growth of our Middle and High School programs and comparable growth in William & Mary rowers, our overlapping training sessions create safety, traffic, and parking issues.
Starting this Spring, year around trailer and boat storage will be relocated, opening up the space behind the current facility. The dead-end road leading to the boathouse will be converted to boat staging and loading, and traffic will be re-routed onto turnaround circle behind the boat house. This also opens parking space much closer to our facilities.
Waterfront: WBC and William & Mary have made significant investments over the years in creating viable access to the water, always a challenge when carrying a 60’ rowing shell. Despite these efforts, launch and recovery capacity is limited, tidal water limits use of part of the dock at low tide, safety launch docking is inadequate, and there is no ADA access for adaptive rowing or kayak/canoe use.
As part of the Park’s Master Plan anticipated to be approved in Spring of 2020, extensive improvements to the existing waterfront will be implemented over the next several years. Dock access ramps will be extended to resolve low tide issues on usable dock. Both access ramps will connect to the main dock, creating a flow that eliminates launch/recovery bottle jams. One of the ramps will become ADA accessible and docking will be extended to build greater capacity for launching small boats.
ADA access to the waterfront will include gravel road improvement and handicapped parking near the water in the general area of current outdoor boat storage racks. Finally, the Park will move its kayak and canoe rental center from Chickahominy side of the Park into this new space (and closer to the calm water and estuaries most boaters are seeking).
The Park’s planned improvements will include enhanced access to the waterfront including ADA capability, and better parking and traffic flow.
The planning and completion of the non-motorized boating facility at Chickahominy Riverfront Park along with the WBC Rowing Center as a centerpiece is a large undertaking, with success dependent on the support of foundation grants, donations from corporate sponsors, and generous gifts from our expanded community, both on the water and off.
Traffic flow and parking enhancements are already scheduled for Spring of 2020.