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The North Tonawanda mayor's office is pushing to get a boat house designed by the late architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1905 constructed on the banks of the Erie Canal.

Daniel Rivera, executive assistant to Mayor Ronald R. Dawson, said he is attempting to attract organizers of the Wright boat house to inspect a site on the canal in Donald E. Miller Park.

The two-story boat house would house the University at Buffalo rowing team and provide storage for its racing shells.

The state originally proposed to put it on a canal-side site in Amherst, but town officials there have been less than enthusiastic about the idea because of a desire to preserve open space along the canal.

Dawson has received letters supporting his boat house quest from the Chamber of Commerce of the Tonawandas and the Nor-Ton Red Jacket Club, which operates a community campground in the park off of Sweeney Street.

"The positive impact of a project like this would be immense not only to the park but also the City of North Tonawanda," said James F. Mroz, the club's president.

Benefits, he noted, would include attracting tourists.

Wright designed the house for the University of Wisconsin at Madison, but it never was built.

The State Thruway Authority, which is in charge of Erie Canal redevelopment, and its New York State Canal Corp. propose to build the boat house as part of its $32.3 million commercialization of the canal as a tourist attraction.

Construction would cost $1 million.

Dawson has offered the North Tonawanda site to UB for an aquatic rowing center.

UB's Baird Foundation and the Darwin Martin House Restoration Corp. have been approached by North Tonawanda, Rivera said.

North Tonawanda also is attempting to enlist the support for the project from State Sen. George D. Maziarz, R-North Tonawanda, and Assemblyman David E. Seaman, R-Lockport.

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