TUESDAY, February 17, 2015 - It isn't often when the sport of boat racing can boast that it has found a place to race for many years to come. We all thought Kankakee would last forever, and Pittsburgh's long history of hosting tunnel boat racing may be coming to an end in 2015, not to mention Detroit's Gold Cup planned departure. So when a city announces big plans to take it's riverfront opportunities to the next level it is music to the ears to race fans.
During today's State of the City address by Huntington Mayor Steve Williams, the mayor announced that the city is undertaking a major 6-10 year redevelopment of Harris Riverfront Park which will include a new 260-slip marina, riverside restaurants and retails shops, an RV campground, and an expanded skate and spray park for the kids. You can view the mayor's State of the City address here: http://www.cityofhuntington.com/assets/pdf/document-center/State_of_the_City_2015.pdf.
Visitors to Harris Park since the Huntington Classic Regatta was revived in 2011 can see annual updates each summer. A new walking and excercise trail in 2012, a new playground in 2013, a new skate park and free WiFi in 2014. Each summer brings new growth and new excitement to the park and the events that call the park home.
Our local regatta committee is doing it's part to ensure that tunnel boat racing brings it's best to Huntington each summer as well. This year the APBA has awarded Huntington with the North American Championship titles for our two classes of boats which will compete in Huntington. Our goal is to continue to do more and more each year to draw more fans, more activities, and more racers to our event.
If you haven't visited the event website lately you should take a look. New information for 2015 is being added as contracts with music acts and entertainment groups are booked. You can view the website at www.huntingtonclassic.com.
The proposed public-private venture to upgrade the eastern end of the park which the mayor announced today will make the foreground of the attached photo look very different in just a few short years. If conversations with our mayor and the commitment of our regatta committee are indications, then I believe championship tunnel boat racing will be back in Huntington for many years to come!