'Foundry' to officially open, transform crew in Cleveland: PHOTOS

A youth rowing center along the Cuyahoga River is “Seeing the Possible.”

A youth rowing center along the Cuyahoga River is “Seeing the Possible.”

The 65,000-square-foot facility called “The Foundry” boasts indoor rowing tanks, state-of-the-art equipment, and what is believed to be the longest rowing dock in the world.

First imagined in 2015, it officially opens on Thursday, although rowers have been using the site.

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“It was a 5-year project that was just completed in about 2-ish and a half years,” Coach Matt Previts said. “It covered a lot of ground in not a lot of time.”

Most of the work has been thanks to a local tech executive and his wife, whose non-profit spent $3 million to buy the land and then added millions more to renovate old buildings.

They preserved a 108-year old tree, iron work and old doors, while respecting the facility’s history as a factory and even the site of Cleveland’s first Catholic church.

“The first bishop’s seat was on property here,” Previts said. “If you look back at the history of this place it’s that ‘tough as nails, Cleveland industrial background.’ That’s the history that lives here.”

Previts said college coaches with scholarship money are already showing interest.

“They’re asking us ‘okay who do you have that’s sophomores and juniors coming up?’ and they make this a destination,” he said.

Currently four teams are anchored at the center: Cleveland Youth Rowing, St. Edward High School, Magnificat High School and St. Joseph Academy.

Urban Community School, the Metroparks, and Cleveland Parks and Recreation use it too, with the hope there will be others.

“You can do this sport in your 70s or 80s, cause the impact is very low and it’s a natural motion,” Previts said.

He said money had often been a barrier that kept people from crew and that now, that barrier has been lifted.