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LOCKPORT OFFERS 5 SITES TO LURE FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT BOATHOUSE

The city is offering five potential sites along the Erie Canal for construction of a Frank Lloyd Wright boathouse, Mayor Kenneth D. Swan said.

Swan will meet Monday with John C. Courtin, executive director of the Martin House Restoration Corp., which is attempting to raise funds to restore the Wright-designed Darwin Martin House in Buffalo.

The so-called Yahara boathouse was commissioned in 1905 by students on the University of Wisconsin rowing team. The name comes from the river where it was to be built. The building was designed, but never built.

Courtin, a rowing enthusiast, and the state envision it as a new headquarters for the University at Buffalo rowing program.

North Tonawanda has offered a site in Don Miller Park along the canal, Mayor Ronald R. Dawson said earlier this month.

Community Development Director William J. Evert did not want to reveal the sites the city has in mind, because all of them are privately owned and the owners have not been contacted.

Courtin said his focus is on the Martin House, but he and other rowers are interested observers of the decision, which will be made by UB officials.

Cynthia Munk, a spokeswoman for the Thruway Authority, which operates the canal system, said that agency is also a bystander. It made an unsuccessful effort to get the Town of Amherst to place the boathouse on authority land along the canal.

Those who have boats at the increasingly popular West Side Rowing Club are interested in seeing the Yahara boathouse go up. "Everybody is looking to see where it ends up," Courtin said.

Some rowers are already talking about moving their equipment to the Wright facility. "It needs a prime tenant," Courtin said. He said high school rowing is increasing in popularity and predicted some of the affluent public school districts in northern Erie County might start rowing programs alongside the private and Catholic high schools if there were more space available.

Wright's design called for a first floor measuring 72 by 40 feet. The second floor would be 72 by 20 feet. Courtin said the lot needs to be at least three times as long as the building, so rowers are able to carry an eight-man shell straight out of the boathouse on either end.

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