$500K donation helps Wright boathouse project

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$500K donation helps Wright boathouse project

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LATEST NEWS

Business First of Buffalo - 6:58 AM EDT Wednesday



$500K donation helps Wright boathouse project



James Fink

Business First



A century ago, famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright was asked by a University of Wisconsin student to design a rowing boathouse.



The student, whose family was a close friend of Wright's, received the blueprints but the boathouse was never built.



Until now.



And, half a country away.



In a three-way deal between Erie County, New York state and Buffalo State College, an agreement was reached on Oct. 4 that should clear the way for the construction of the Wright-designed boathouse along the shores of Lake Erie.



The boathouse is the latest in the region's deep Frank Lloyd Wright legacy that also includes the Darwin Martin House and Graycliff Estate.



After years of planning and more than a few false starts, officials from the Frank Lloyd Wright's Rowing Boathouse Corp. announced they will be starting construction on the project either later this fall or by early spring. The $5.4 million project will be located adjacent to the West Side Rowing Club.



It received a major boost from both the three-way agreement and a $500,000 donation by Buffalo native and TV producer Tom Fontana. Fontana's late father, Charles, was a noted oarsman and West Side Rowing Club official.



With the donation more than 75 percent of the $5.4 million has been collected, said Sharon Courtin, Boathouse Corp. executive director.



"Wright's iconic rowing boathouse fits naturally in Buffalo," Courtin said.



The boathouse will not only serve as a cultural tourism asset, it will also aid the space-pressed rowing club.



"This project leverages two of Buffalo's distinctive strengths- rowing and Wrightian architecture," Courtin said.



Business First of Buffalo:

http://buffalo.bizjournals.com/buffalo/ ... st=b_ln_hl

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