A $250,000 state grant announced Sunday will be used to help build an eighth lane at the Oak Ridge rowing course. And that’s expected to significantly increase the economic impact of rowing races, or regattas, officials said.
The eighth lane has been on the city’s wish list for years, and it will allow the Oak Ridge Rowing Association to compete for bigger races and international regattas and provide more on-water capacity, allowing more competitors in events like this weekend’s SIRA Regatta.
According to rough estimates, the eighth lane could cost about $350,000 total, said Oak Ridge City Council member Rick Chinn, the father of two former rowers and a rower himself. That means the City of Oak Ridge might have to contribute up to $100,000 to complete the project.
Tennessee Representative John Ragan, the Oak Ridge Republican who spearheaded the effort to get state funding, said the regional impact of the regattas in Oak Ridge is estimated at $13 million now, but it could increase to $33 million, according to a University of Tennessee study. [Read more…]