City Council has approved the sale of the former Co-Gen building at the SMART Paper site to the Hamilton Community Foundation (HCF). The Hamilton Community Foundation in turn will then enter into a long term lease with Great Miami Rowing Center (GMRC) for use of the site. Ownership by the nonprofit Community Foundation will ensure that investments made on the site and capital improvements will continue to benefit the community in the future.
In 2012 the City of Hamilton purchased the former paper facility waterfront property from the departing Champion/SMART paper manufacturing company. The City made this significant investment in order to control its waterfront destiny, knowing that the riverfront was critical to the framework of a redeveloped Hamilton. It straddles the levee system and is adjacent to a proposed sports facility complex on the west side of B Street.
Included in this extensive remaining parcel is a free standing 2.7 million dollar Co-Generation building (built in 2007) sitting on a two acre parking lot and the foundation of a former cooling tower. GMRC began leasing this portion of the site in June of 2013 and has since engaged in numerous projects to redevelop the space. Land based programming and offices have already been moved to the facility. The new facility is enabling the rowing center to branch out to other water based recreation starting with community kayaking in the summer of 2014.
“The location of this facility is perfectly situated for water access.” said Nancy Wiley, President of GMRC, “Plus it has the added benefit of a former cooling tower which we plan to adapt to an indoor moving water rowing pool, known in the industry as a rowing tank. This will enable novices to learn to row in water before attempting the river or anyone to row indoors when weather doesn’t permit rowing outdoors.”
The transformation of the Champion/SMART Paper facilities co-generation (power plant) into a recreational facility is part of a major Riverfront Recreational Facility Property redevelopment. Improvements are needed as HCF and GMRC convert the space from a former co-generation station to a working recreation facility. Phase 1 of the redevelopment will commence pending funding.
Moses B. Glick LLC, a national demolition company, is generously donating a significant portion of demolition work ($172,000) to the site to be done by year end. Glick, LLC is currently demolishing several buildings on the west side of the complex and is conducting feasibility work on a potential indoor sports complex in the remaining buildings.
Moses B Glick acknowledges and supports the efforts of GMRC to provide river access and programming to the community at large. As a previous donor of Miracle League fields in various regions throughout the U.S., Mr. Glick, the owner and President, understands the importance and impact that nonprofit organizations such as GMRC have on the surrounding community.
“Moses B Glick LLC embraces opportunities to give back to the communities we work in.” said Mr. Glick, “Our company believes that organizations such as GMRC strengthen the culture of a surrounding community and ultimately a strong community is a foundation for the revitalization of a strong economy.”
Work will begin to secure further funding for a suite of many small scale projects that are needed on the site to convert the building and lot to a user friendly, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible recreation facility. Projects include restrooms, an elevator for accessibility to the entire bui,lding for people with disabilities, river access gangways and HVAC
River Access Underway.
The Rowing Center has been working extensively with the City of Hamilton, Miami Conservancy District, and engineers to establish new boating and river access on this site. Collectively, with the City of Hamilton taking the lead, these entities have applied to the State of Ohio for funding through an Ohio Department of Natural Resources Cooperative Boating Facility Grant. The $704,000 project is also supported by MetroParks of Butler County, Ohio’s Great Corridor Association, the United States Rowing Association and USA Canoe/Kayak.