Niskayuna rowers looking to get new boathouse

Niskayuna Rowing may start fundraising sometime soon for potential new digs along the Mohawk River.

Niskayuna Rowing may start fundraising sometime soon for potential new digs along the Mohawk River.

The high school crew has outgrown one boathouse bay it uses in the Aqueduct Rowing Club building and is exploring branching out on its own on town property. Town officials and the crew are trying to determine whether the site of the Aqueduct House on Aqueduct Road near the Rexford Bridge can be used.

“We’re working with the Niskayuna crew club to see if there’s a future use for that site,” said town Supervisor Joe Landry. “What we’re looking to do is probably tear down the house.”

The rowing club is looking into raising funds and getting grants to build a boathouse, said Rich Marine, chairman of the Friends of Niskayuna Rowing Boathouse Committee.

“There’s a lot of different ideas for how the building can be configured and constructed,” Marine said, adding that the rowing club is mulling over making one bay of the future boathouse open for public use, with public bathrooms and a concession stand also possibilities.

“Nothing’s in concrete at this point,” he added.

A former Niskayuna rower who is now an architect in Philadelphia, Thomas Nickel, did preliminary drawings pro bono to help the club.

Marine said adding a public component could make it easier to get grants.

“There’s a lot of momentum toward waterfront improvements,” he said.

“Ideally, I would like to see this project completed in three years,” Marine said. “I think that’s feasible.”

The rowing crew has 140 teens in its fall program this year.

The town has been considering for years what to do with the historic but dilapidated house, which it acquired in the early 1990s as a result of a tax foreclosure.

Recently, the town got the .28-acre property surveyed and is looking into installing a septic system there, while the rowing team would have to raise funds to construct a building.

The town isn’t looking to sell the property but would work out a lease agreement with the rowing club if it all happens.

“We’ve got a good partnership going with the crew club,” Landry said.

In 2006, town officials said the Aqueduct House at 2851 Aqueduct Road needed $80,000 worth of work to make it usable as a private residence and a total of $120,000 was needed to convert it to a commercial or public use.

The building had been owned by the owner of the now-demolished Craig Hotel across the street. The Aqueduct House’s last occupant was the Environmental Clearinghouse of Schenectady, which leased the building from the town and moved out in 2004 and into the Niskayuna Community Center, citing deteriorating conditions.

Categories: Schenectady County

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