Optimism still runs high for creating a whitewater park in downtown Kent — it’s the wallet that is still a bit too light. After getting the $250,000 ODNR river access grant last year we’re probably in the neighborhood of $750,000 short of what it would take to do a real deal whitewater park so if you know any wealthy kayakers looking to invest in their sport, have we got a great project for them. (To review the Kent whitewater project concept, click here.)
Until we hit the mother-load we’ll keep the shoulders turning the paddle and take it stroke by stroke. The ODNR grant was a major victory and when combined with the improvements planned with the new Fairchild Avenue bridge, should really elevate the river experience to a whole new level.
The grant will make river access a non-issue by funding new access points to put in, take out and portage around through-out the roughly 4 mile river run through Kent. Kent Parks and Recreation his hired a design firm for the access improvements and they continue to take input from the public on the who, what, where and when’s related to better access. The access construction activity is expected to begin this year.
In the meantime, Kent Parks and Recreation recently put a bid out to solicit proposals for a new canoe/kayak livery operation that will be run out of Tannery Park in downtown Kent. With two bidders responding, Kent Parks and Recreation has awarded the livery bid to a new arm of the Adventure Center of the Department of Recreational Services at Kent State University — called the Crooked River Adventures.
The official opening is this Saturday, May 15th, in conjunction with the Kent Cuyahoga River Day. The grand opening with ribbon cutting will be on Saturday, July 3rd in conjunction with the Kent Heritage Festival.
The Director of Crooked River Adventures reports that they just completed livery training with all of their staff this past weekend and they are ready to go live starting this weekend. Here’s their official press release with all the details:
Introducing Crooked River Adventures
Posted May, 8, 2010
The Department of Recreational Services at Kent State University is pleased to announce the creation of a new canoe and kayak livery at John Brown Tannery Park in downtown Kent located at 100 Stow Street. This satellite facility, named Crooked River Adventures, will provide Kent State students and members of the Kent community with a new form of recreation and leisure.
“This collaboration between the city of Kent and Kent State University is a prime example of how together, we can create a great opportunity that benefits everyone,” said Gretchen Julian, Director of Recreational Services. “Local students, families and members of our community will really enjoy having such a unique operation right in their backyard.”
Scheduled to start operation on May 15, also the city of Kent’s “River Day 2010,” Crooked River Adventures has been in the making for nearly two years. Aligned with the city’s hope of creating a whitewater park, this livery is the first significant step in making progress towards its development. This satellite facility also aligns with Kent State University President Lester A. Lefton’s recent strategic vision of enhancing economic development and the quality of life locally, regionally and statewide from KSU research and creative endeavors.
“The opening of Crooked River Adventures is our contribution to making the city of Kent a recreation destination,” said Kim Rufra, Associate Director of Recreational Services. “We’re taking President Lefton’s ‘Excellence Agenda’ to heart by offering citizens of the city something that can’t be found anywhere else in the region.”
Crooked River Adventures has scheduled its grand opening on July 3, 2010 in conjunction with the city of Kent’s Heritage Festival. A ribbon-cutting ceremony, complete with free refreshments will begin at 11 a.m.
In addition to two paddling excursions, Crooked River Adventures will also offer bicycle rentals for use along local trails, including The Portage Hike and Bike Trail. Bike rental fees will be $5 per hour, with all bikes returned by 8 p.m.
The first paddling option will start at Tannery Park and finish at Brust Park in Munroe Falls. At a total of 3.5 miles and taking paddlers two hours and 30 minutes to complete, two excursions will be offered daily, departing at 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Patrons can expect to pay $20 for a kayak rental or $18 per person per canoe rental.
The second paddling option will start at Tannery Park and finish at Waterworks Park in Cuyahoga Falls. At a total of 5 miles and taking paddlers four hours to complete, one trip will be offered daily at 12:30 p.m. Patrons can expect to pay $25 for a kayak rental or $23 per person per canoe rental. Both trips include return transportation to Tannery Park. Patrons must check-in 30 minutes prior to any departure for a safety briefing.
“We have created a win-win situation by offering affordable outdoor recreational opportunities at a convenient location. The development of this livery operation services our greatest local natural resource – the Cuyahoga River,” said Dave Herpy, Outdoor Adventure and Camp Coordinator for Recreational Services. “This is a dream come true!”
Crooked River Adventures will also offer a “Paddle and Pedal” package, combining both rental options into one great excursion. For an additional $5 per person, patrons can rent a bike for two hours of use before or after their river excursion. The facility will also offer group discounts by reservation only. Interested groups should call for details.
During the week (Monday – Thursday), trips and bike rentals will be offered on a reservation basis. Patrons can call 330-541-7467 or visit www.kent.edu/crookedriver to place their requests. On the weekends (Friday – Sunday), Crooked River Adventures will be open to patrons on a drop-in basis from 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
The facility will also emphasize several key educational components to its patrons, including safety and the “Leave No Trace” philosophy, which suggests ways that patrons can reduce their impact on the local environment.
“Crooked River Adventures has made it a part of our mission to instruct patrons on how to safely and properly navigate the river with minimal effect to the environment,” said Chris Hendricks, Adventure Center Graduate Assistant for Recreational Services. “All patrons will receive safety instruction by an ACA (American Canoe Association) certified boating instructor prior to their trip down river.”
The livery will be under the supervision of the Department of Recreational Services’ Adventure Center. Since its creation in 1999, the Adventure Center has over 10 years of experience offering boating programming and renting equipment via its Outdoor Rental Center. In fact, the Adventure Center has received statewide recognition for is award-winning boating program from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Watercraft. Herpy, a Level 3 ACA Certified Instructor, will be overseeing operations of the new facility.
The Department of Recreational Services at Kent State University is proud to provide the students, faculty and staff of Kent State University and members of the surrounding community with outstanding recreational, fitness and wellness opportunities. For more information about our facilities and program offerings, please call Recreational Services at 330-672-4REC.
# # #
Dave Herpy, Outdoor Adventure and Camp Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org, 330-672-2803
Kim Rufra, Associate Director, email@example.com, 330-672-0464
Jason Hawk, Marketing Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org, 330-672-0465
The following is a link to the Crooked River website for more information: http://www.kent.edu/recservices/crookedriver/index.cfm