SPRINGFIELD, Mass.,– In nearby Springfield, Massachusetts, a revival of sorts is starting to take hold on the banks of the Connecticut River.
After an illustrious history of rowing on the river, the Pioneer Valley Rowing Club is looking to restore that tradition. Housed in the old Bassett Boat building adjacent to the North End Bridge, the organization is looking to get locals back in the water and on the river-adjacent bike trail.
The PVRC’s quest is one not of the solo variety as local companies and individuals have been gracious in donating time, money, products and services, to the cause. Atlantic Fasteners is one such company in that donated product to the organization.
Atlantic donated bolts and wall anchors to help the PVRC hang their boats on racks inside the boathouse. Last week, our own Norm Fortini made a house call to the PVRC headquarters to assist in the installation of the anchors.
“We’re glad to help the PVRC achieve its dream,” said Tony Peterson, president of Atlantic Fasteners. “All you have to do is ride a portion of the bike trail to realize the under-appreciated beauty of the riverbank. Hats off to their renewal effort.”
The PVRC’s mission is two-fold with raising awareness of their existence and restoring a building that’s stood on the Connecticut River’s banks since 1901. Their building was once the Rockrimmon Boat Club, a prominent boat house and meeting place for people using the river at the turn of the 20th century.
On the second floor of the boat house, is a room that’s being prepped for restoration. The PVRC has plans for that room to become something of a shrine to the building and sport’s past on the Connecticut River.
“There’s a history here and we’re trying to revive it,” PVRC director Jim Sotiropoulos said.
That revival begins with introducing local school children into the sport. Springfield had a rowing program throughout its school system up until the early 1970’s. “We have this opportunity to reach and bring kids from all over the city together,” Sotiropoulos said. “Rowing is an incredible way to build self-esteem.”
Additionally, the PVRC provides scholarships to disadvantaged youth in the city.
The moment for a return to the Connecticut River is here and now, and Sotiropoulos and company knows it.
“We’re becoming mentioned with rowing here,” he said. “There’s a revival happening.”
For more information, please visit www.pvrowing.org or their boathouse located adjacent the North End Bridge in Springfield.