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Proposed Mohawk Harbor aquatic center in Schenectady gets big financial boost

Proposed Mohawk Harbor aquatic center in Schenectady gets big financial boost

Proposed Mohawk Harbor aquatic center in Schenectady gets big financial boost
A swimming facility is proposed for Mohawk Harbor, pictured here in 2017.
Photographer: GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

SCHENECTADY — A private foundation has made a big fundraising splash for a proposed aquatic center at Mohawk Harbor.

The Wright Family Foundation of Schenectady announced Tuesday it will commit $3 million towards the construction of the year-round aquatic facility. 

The proposed $35.4 million Capital Region Aquatic Center calls for a 76,000-square-foot facility equipped with four pools, including a 50-meter Olympic-size swimming pool, diving well and an eight-lane programming and instructional pool. 

The project, said Wright Family Foundation Board Chair Heather Ward, touches all three of its mission impact areas by “expanding the revitalization of downtown Schenectady while at the same time providing jobs and education in a way that brings the community together in a world-class, state-of-the-art aquatic facility.”

The donation is a critical boost of financial assistance, said Capital Region Aquatic Center Board President Kara Haraden.

“We’ve identified well over half of the funding to build the project,” she said. “We’ll be out continuing to fundraise.”

Haraden flagged national sponsorships as one potential area to close the gap. 

"This generous gift from the Wright Family Foundation shows the increasing community support and need for this center and we look forward to continuing to build this coalition,” Haraden said in a statement.

The Capital Region REDC has also identified the proposed center as a “priority project” for an annual state funding competition and is seeking $5 million.

The Schenectady Metroplex Development Authority helped facilitate a feasibility study for the project.

“We’re waiting to see what the state does with their funding,” said chairman Ray Gillen on Tuesday.

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Plans call for the proposed complex to host regional swimming competitions from across the state and country while also serving as a public resource.

Haraden envisions the facility will serve as a community hub and offer public programming for all levels, from babies to seniors.

Even during events, the instructional pool will remain open, she said. 

“That will not be interrupted,” she said. “There’s going to be lots going on at the same time.”

Early plans also include spectator seating, classroom areas, meeting rooms, an aquatic-focused exercise and weight room, a studio and multipurpose area, a pro shop, a concessions area and locker rooms. 

Economic development officials pegged attendance estimates at 100,000 athletes and visitors annually.

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