Why is a New Bedford pol ripping Community Rowing?

I think we should be celebrating Community Rowing's success creating a new facility in Brighton where members of the public will be able to learn a new sport, exercise, and be close to nature. A few million dollars of low-interest loans (not grants), in the grand scheme of the State's budget, doesn't seem unwarranted to support the efforts of this non-profit organization.

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.


  1. Anonymous7:51 PM

    well said Harry well said

  2. Anonymous9:39 AM

    Why are the local pols being silent?

  3. Anonymous12:30 PM

    But it's not public rowing. Not everyone can afford the steep prices. They say it's only $400 a year - but as an adult it's closer to 800. Then every ten minutes they hit you up for more donation money and it affects if you can row there if you don't give.

    You have to test to be on the teams and the decisions are arbitrary. Some say that it's a playground for management at Community Rowing they spend the bulk of their budget on the teams the board members row on. Many people have been asked to leave the program this year.This is still a group of elite people who limit who is in their group. If I were a local Pol I'd stay faaaaarrrrr awwwway from this.

    BU has community programs that are cheaper and more accessible to the public at large. And they are really, really nice and don't care if you are not rich.

    Plus the building is bright orange. Who thought that was a good idea?

  4. "Public" is not the same as "free". The money to build a new facility, pay the staff and all the other bills, buy and maintain the boats, etc. etc. has to come from somewhere. If you want to row at Riverside Boat Club you will pay $500 a year and you have to be an "experienced" rower if you want to use their boats. Other clubs are even more restrictive.

    It is nice that BU offers public classes. For anyone who is interested, there is more info at:

    Please refrain from using this blog to make personal attacks without factual basis for your claims.