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Clark Park Boathouse Open for Paddlers

By Patty Wetli | September 16, 2013 9:04am | Updated on September 16, 2013 9:12am
 A sneak peek of the boathouse at Clark Park.
Clark Park Boathouse Preview
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ROSCOE VILLAGE — The jewel in Chicago's string of new boathouses will open for canoe and kayak rentals on Friday, one small step toward fulfilling Mayor Rahm Emanuel's vision of turning the Chicago River into a recreational destination.

The multimillion-dollar Clark Park boathouse, 3400 N. Rockwell St., is still partially under construction, but Chicago River Canoe and Kayak is ready for rowers.

Boats will be available for rental from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Fridays and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays through the end of October, according to Ryan Chew, a partner in the canoeing concession.

Single-person kayaks cost $15 per hour. Canoes and tandem kayaks run $20 per hour. Charges stop accruing after four hours.

The new rental outfit is enjoying a major upgrade after operating out of a shed at the park for the past 13 years.

Paddlers got a sneak peek at the Jeanne Gang-designed facility and the canoe/kayak launch Sunday night at the Clark Park Advisory Council's annual twilight canoe fundraiser.

Covered in slate tiles, the boathouse is actual two structures. The larger building, with its distinctive swooping roofline, will provide storage space for the Chicago Rowing Foundation's 65-foot-long boats. North Park University will also store boats at Clark Park.

The second building will serve as the Chicago Rowing Foundation's training base and will also provide fitness programming for the general public, including an indoor rowing tank.

Grand opening celebrations are being planned for Oct. 19, according to Betsy Trevarthen, community outreach program manager for the rowing foundation.