Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Rowing saved Fort Hamer Park

Rowing camp at Fort Hamer Park on Tuesday. (Herald photo)
Were it not for the coming of rowing to the Manatee-Sarasota area, it seems that Fort Hamer Park would still be, well, a dump.

Years ago, Fort Hamer Park was the most desolate park in the county, a place where beer cans were left on the ground and park furniture was regularly destroyed by vandals.

But after the county caught the rowing wave -- a tsunami really --  that started in Nathan Benderson Park near the Manatee-Sarasota county line, a rowing training facility was built at Fort Hamer.

With a boat storage area, restrooms, landscaping, improved dock areas, the little park bloomed. Teams from near (Palmetto) and far (Harvard) came to train on the Manatee River at Fort Hamer.

For the past week and a half, the Long Skinny Boat Camp has been held at Fort Hamer Park. Coach Trish Jackson is conducting the camp, attracting a new generation of rowers from middle and high school.

There is no doubt that rowing saved Fort Hamer Park.

For more on the Long Skinny Boat Camp see the Aug. 8 Bradenton Herald.

For improvements planned for the park, see our recent story:


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