Construction of New Haven’s new boathouse has been visible to drivers on Interstate 95 by Long Wharf.
Local leaders and community members gathered Monday morning for a ribbon-cutting to celebrate the opening of the Canal Dock Boathouse.
“It is just such a joy to see a vision come true,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-New Haven), who helped secure federal funding for the project.
The boathouse is a two-story facility with storage bays and a new dock for boats to launch into the harbor, but there’s also an event space upstairs and exhibits throughout on the history of New Haven’s waterfront.
“We celebrate this innovated facility which pays tribute to New Haven’s rich maritime history,” Mayor Toni Harp said.
The $40 million facility was funded with state and federal money, officials said.
“Nearly $14 million to make a platform here that was solid and could withstand tidal surges and flooding,” said Karyn Gilvarg, New Haven’s former City Plan Director who worked on the project from its inception.
“It has a lot of interpretive displays like this photograph to help people understand the history of the harbor,” she added.
The Canal Dock Boathouse replaces the historic Adee Memorial Boathouse built by Yale in 1911. It had to be demolished a decade ago to make way for the new Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge.
Salvaged pieces of the old boathouse like the front entrance, a fire place and bulldog gargoyles have been incorporated into the new boathouse.
The City of New Haven owns the boathouse, but non-profit Canal Dock Boathouse, Inc. is in charge of the activities, such as rowing, sailing and dragon boat racing.
“We’ve been tasked with offering affordable access,” CDBI president John Pescatore said.
Now that the boathouse is open, Pescatore said the goal is to expand programs in New Haven Public Schools.
“If we’re lucky we’ll have 15 to 20 kids here on Thursday taking their first paddle in the dragon boat launching from this dock,” he said.
Gilvarg told NBC Connecticut she may sign up for a rowing lesson.
“I did do the dragon races,” she said. “They come around every year in June and I’d love to do more of that and maybe even learn how to row in a single shell.”
The University of New Haven plans to use space in the facility for its marine science program.
There will be an open house and community day with lots of family activities at the Canal Dock Boathouse on Saturday September 22.