Price tag aside, $15m boathouse aimed for public - The Boston Globe
State Senator Mark C. Montigny questioned why a project with such well-heeled backing needs state help at all. "I would hardly say rowing is high on the priority list" for the state, the Democrat from New Bedford said in a recent telephone interview. Especially for a group that "thinks rowing is the best thing since golf."
It was the same Senator Montigny who wrote the following in legislation last year, so what's wrong with promoting recreational activity in a rowing shell?
"the commonwealth has a responsibility to promote educational and recreational activity as well as exercise opportunities to enhance the health and welfare of our citizens"
If Mr. Montigny or anyone else is really concerned about State money and use of the Charles River, read this 2004 story about the leases that Harvard and other universities, with a lot more money that Community Rowing, have for their private boat houses on the Charles. For starters, how about Harvard getting a 99 year lease for $500 a year to lease the Weld Boathouse?
Some people at Universal Hub think the previous paragraph is an attempt to pick on Harvard. That isn't my intent. My point is that if we are so worried about maximizing revenue and minimizing expenses along the Charles River, attacking a small subsidy for Community Rowing is not the place to start. Many institutions and organizations use the Charles River in a lot of ways for their own public, semi-public, or private benefit. The public organizations like Community Rowing, Charles River Canoe and Kayak, and Community Boating deserve public support, as far as I am concerned. Something seems out of balance to me when public canoe and kayak rentals are done from a tiny hut with a dock that barely floats, while within a mile there are multiple private, first-class, boat houses. Maybe public access to a public resource should at least be in the same ballpark as the private access to the same public resource.