Y-City News

Rowing Association looking to put Zanesville on national map

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Cliff Hecker presents the outline for plan one of the potential dredging project that is the most essential change that needs to be made. He presents in front of Matt Previts (front) and Matt Baldino (back).

Cliff Hecker presents the outline for plan one of the potential dredging project that is the most essential change that needs to be made. He presents in front of Matt Previts (front) and Matt Baldino (back).

Cliff Hecker presents the outline for plan one of the potential dredging project that is the most essential change that needs to be made. He presents in front of Matt Previts (front) and Matt Baldino (back).

By Jessica Johnston, Reporter

Members from the Midwest Scholastic Rowing Association, which represents 50 rowing teams across eight different states, met with the mayor, commissioners, Dillon Lake Park representatives, businesses managers and many others during a meeting Thursday morning.

Dillon Lake has been a point of attraction for rowing regattas for years and plans to hold more in 2019. While the two 2019 regattas are in the scheduling process, the Dillon Sprints and the Midwest Regional Championships, there is a potential for Zanesville to host the National Rowing Championships. But the rowing association is looking a little further down the course.

The rowing community brings a significant amount of economic impact, roughly $500,000, to the Zanesville area, Matt Previts, the Executive Director of the Midwest Scholastic Rowing Association, said. Rowers and spectators stay in local hotels, eat at local restaurants and spend time at local venues.

“On behalf of the thousands of rowers and coaches and parents that you’ve hosted, thank you,” Previts said. “You probably had no idea that you had such a gem in your backyard, but you do. And we’re grateful that we’re able to use it the way that we use it.”

In order to keep that economic benefit in Zanesville, the rowing association is suggesting a few changes in the name of safety and community interest.

Dredging

In order for Dillon to continue its attraction to the rowing community, some safety changes need to be made for long term use. At some points, where the rowing course is set up, the water is only 2.5 feet deep due to silt, according to Cliff Hecker, the Operations Manager for rowing at Dillon Lake. An ideal, comfortable depth is 8 feet.

“The silt that is coming down into the lake is a major challenge for us,” Privets said. “ That’s probably the number one item that would prevent us from being able to have anything larger than we have right now or even continue to have what we’ve been doing now.”

Hecker presented three potential dredging plans Thursday. One that’s a cheaper, shorter term fix of dredging around the mid-point to end of the 1,500 meter course, a second that dredges around the entire 1,500 meter course and a third that dredges around the entire course and expands for a 2,000 meter course.

Although there are cheaper options than plan three, Hecker explained that an extended course would bring in more regattas to Zanesville during rowing season, which is the end of March through the beginning of June.

“The sky is the limit, so to speak with this,” Hecker said.

The rowing association is willing to break out the check book for the dredging project, but the question is, can it be done? It was brought up at the meeting that when small areas are dredged, silt fills back in very quickly.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Dillon Lake experts will have to answer that question after some assessments.

Rowing in Zanesville

The next item on the agenda for the association was a community involvement aspect between Zanesville and rowing.

It’s no secret that rowing is not a popular sport in the area, but the Midwest Scholastic Rowing Association wants to bring rowing to the people of Zanesville. With a perfect location to row right down the road, Matt Baldino, an executive board member from the Midwest Scholastic Rowing Association and the head rowing coach at Loyola Academy, said it only makes sense.

“We’d like to figure out how to make this something for Zanesville, that you have an adult rowing club here or a youth rowing club here, and you’re the ones that are driving it,” Previts said. “We’re not going anywhere, we’re not disappearing. Oak Ridge Tennessee has turned, sort of, their body of water into this massive community asset that generates not just employment but tourism revenue.”

Baldino and Previts are not asking the sports directors or coaches in the area to hand out money for a brand new sport. They have the ability to donate the equipment and get the program on its feet, the association is simply looking for athletes, young or old, to make up the program.

As the meeting came to a close, Previts called upon Kelly Ashby, Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce, to form sub-committees of people to tackle three initiatives: dredging, community development around the rowing events and the formation of a rowing team.

If all of those factors are feasible for Zanesville, then Previts and Baldino have high hopes for the future of Zanesville in the rowing community. If those factors are not feasible in the long-run than other site options will need to be assessed.

“We don’t want to go anywhere,” Baldino said. “We don’t want to leave.”

1 Comment

One Response to “Rowing Association looking to put Zanesville on national map”

  1. Delwarne on September 14th, 2018 7:40 pm

    Seriously. A real reason for Muskingum County, statr of Ohioto spend money. Rowing?

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