Boathouse District changes Oklahoma City

by Ed Godfrey Published: April 28, 2013
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The Boathouse District on the Oklahoma River has certainly changed Oklahoma City.

It’s changed how people outside Oklahoma view the city and state. It’s changed the way its own citizens view their city and state.

It’s already twice been the site of an Olympic Trial in canoe/kayak and has been the training ground for several Olympians and Paralympians in both rowing and canoe/kayak.

But what will the next 20 years bring for the Boathouse District and Oklahoma City? Mike Knopp, executive director of the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation, thinks the Boathouse District will help position the Oklahoma River and Oklahoma City as an international tourist destination.

“In 20 years time ... the Boathouse District will be one of the nation’s premier urban destinations for outdoor adventure and fitness,” he said.

“By then the Boathouse District will be fully built out along the north bank with our current adventure amenities, the SandRidge Sky Trail, Youth Zone and on the water activities, as well as the coming attractions, including Zip Line, Surf Park, Whitewater Center and expanded climbing and cycling elements.”

Knopp also envisions the Boathouse District extending west to offer more urban adventures and the south bank being developed, as well.

“I see the possibility for many new amenities with the sports and adventure themes continuing to grow, expanding the number of ways we merge fitness and wellness with entertainment and adventure,” he said.

Joe Jacobi, the chief executive of USA Canoe/Kayak which relocated to Oklahoma City because of the growing Boathouse District on the Oklahoma River, predicts Oklahoma will have a native son or daughter competing in the Olympics in paddling or rowing in the next 20 years, not just an athlete who has moved to Oklahoma City to train in the Boathouse District.

“Oklahoma will have realized its own first Olympian in canoe/kayak well before 2033 — more likely by 2020 — with a strong chance for an Olympic medal won by an Oklahoman by 2024,” Jacobi said.

The coaching, equipment, access to the water and community support provided to rowers and paddlers in Oklahoma City already is producing improved results in international competition, he said.

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by Ed Godfrey
Reporter Sr.
Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more...
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