FISA visits Sarasota World Rowing Championships bid venue
The United States city of Sarasota in Florida is bidding to host the 2017 World Rowing Championships and the World Rowing Federation, FISA recently conducted a site visit.
The proposed bid site is at Sarasota’s Nathan Benderson Park which has been undergoing massive development to become a world class rowing venue. The area, of 162ha, was formerly used for mining (shells). It contains a manmade lake which will be extended to the 2200m length required.
The last time that the World Rowing Championships were in the United States was 1994 when Indianapolishosted the event. Sarasota hopes to become the premium regatta course in the United States.
FISA’s team included Executive Director Matt Smith, Events Manager Colleen Orsmond, Marketing Director Andrew Couper and Events Director Svetla Otzetova. The site inspection looked at the park facilities which are currently under construction. The team then met with local officials to discuss the preliminary bid and what would be needed for the bid to go ahead.
The visit concluded with the FISA team giving suggestions for what would be needed for the final bid submission. An extra month has been given – until the end of June 2013 – for the final bid to be submitted.
“They now have to take our comments, questions and suggestions, crunch them out and produce their final bid document by 30 June,” said Smith.
After the Sarasota visit Smith commented, “They have managed to engage the two county governments and the state government strongly. Many aspects of the bid and the regatta course are funded from a tourism tax. They have strong evidence of the effect on the local economy, particularly hotels and restaurants, from staging regattas which has convinced the local governments to support the development of the course.”
There is one other venue bidding to host the 2017 World Rowing Championships – Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Plovdiv hosted last year’s World Rowing Senior and Junior Championships. The FISA team will visit Plovdiv in May. Plovdiv has also been granted an extension on the final bid submission.
The FISA council will use the bid documents to recommend either Plovdiv or Sarasota to the FISA congress who will then vote on which venue will win the bid to host.
The decision on who will host the 2017 World Rowing Championships will be made following the 2013 World Rowing Championships in Chungju, Korea on 2 September. This will take place at the annual Congress with all FISA member nations able to vote on their preferred host venue.