Boathouse gets $1M

11/03/2007
By From the Lowell Sun

LOWELL -- The University of Massachusetts Lowell yesterday officially received $1 million from the state to renovate the Bellegarde Boathouse in Lowell.

The boathouse, used by the UML and Lowell High School crew teams, the Merrimack River Rowing Association, among others, will receive a new roof, new windows, doors, gutters, trim, siding, bathrooms, boat docks, signs, and systems to prevent flooding at the boathouse, as well as repairs to fencing and the building's deck.

"Our goal is to have a first-rate facility that will draw people to the Merrimack River and all the activities that this vital natural resource generates," said Meehan.

Said state Rep. Thomas Golden, D-Lowell, one of a few dozen dignitaries and other invited guests attending the press conference, "It is extremely important that we turn this boathouse back into the jewel it once was. I know the Bellegarde family will be happy at the end of the day, with a premier facility."

Thomas Bellegarde, son of Edmund, for whom the Boathouse was named, was on hand for yesterday's announcement.

The Bellegarde Boathouse, located in Lowell Heritage State Park, along the Merrimack River, was built in 1982. The building includes offices, locker rooms, storage bays for boats and equipment, a training area, and space for history and science programs for local students. Although the boathouse is still used by rowers, its condition has deteriorated in recent years, particularly from spring flooding. It is no longer used for educational programs.

While the $1 million in funding will get the project started, it will not pay for all of the work. To finish the project, Meehan said the university will seek donations and other sources.