Capital Region Aquatic Center Signs Letter of Intent at Via Port Rotterdam

The world-class aquatic sports and learning center will be a major community asset and economic driver for the region

July 17, 2023

ROTTERDAM, N.Y. – Capital Region Aquatic Center has signed a letter of intent to lease over 80,000 square feet of space at Via Port Rotterdam. The new facility will host three pools, including an Olympic sized 50-meter pool and platform diving well.

“The Aquatic Center will help children gain valuable life-long skills and help adults maintain and improve a healthy lifestyle,” said Kara Haraden, president of the Aquatic Center’s board of directors. “The Aquatic Center will significantly contribute to our local and state economies by attracting aquatic sport competitions to Schenectady County, bringing thousands of visitors from all over the United States to the Capital Region each year, creating an economic boost for local hotels, restaurants and retail businesses in addition to creating new jobs.”

Richard Ruzzo, Schenectady County Legislator said, “We are excited to see the Aquatic Center secure a final location at Via Port Rotterdam.

This new venue will attract thousands of visitors each year to Schenectady County while providing families, children, veterans and seniors a great place to learn, heal, play, exercise, train and compete.” Ruzzo continued, “The Aquatic Center was modeled after the Greensboro Aquatic Center in Greensboro, NC. The ten-year economic impact to their region included more than $180 million in revenue and 176,000 hotel room night bookings.”

The Aquatic Center will be the community hub for water-related activities, providing aquatic therapy, swim lessons and programming for all ages and levels of ability. There will be specialized programming for veterans, adults and children with special needs, as well as underserved populations.

More children ages 1-4 die from drowning than any other cause of death and drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for children ages 5-14. With 50% of the U.S. population unable to swim, the Aquatic Center will address the critical need for drowning prevention programs, (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Drowning Prevention).

“We are so thankful to Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, Assemblyman Santabarbara, the Schenectady County Legislature, Metroplex Development Authority, Discover Schenectady, and the Schenectady City Council for their continued support along with our long list of private sponsors including Via Port, the Smachlo Family, the Wright Family Foundation, Neil Golub, the Dake Family, Mohawk Honda, Trustco Bank, CDPHP and Adirondack Swimming. With this funding and support, we can move forward with the final phase of our fundraising efforts that will add a major new quality of life asset and athletic venue to the Capital Region,” said Haraden.

Via Port Rotterdam already hosts the Capital Region’s only aquarium, plus other attractions including movies, an entertainment center, bingo hall, dance studio, state offices, day care and restaurants.

The Aquatic Center had explored a location at Mohawk Harbor in Schenectady but reached the conclusion that development space at the harbor was limited due to the success of other businesses at the $600 million waterfront development including Rivers Casino & Resort and the potential for a new Mohawk Harbor Arena.

“The Galesi Group was great to work with but in the end, we decided Via Port gives us room to grow and a location with easy access to downtown Schenectady, the NYS Thruway and I-890,” said Haraden.

Fundraising for the Aquatic Center is ongoing. Now that a firm agreement on location is in hand, the Aquatic Center Board plans to immediately complete its final round of fundraising.

To make a donation or get more information about the Capital Region Aquatic Center, visit their website

Media Contact:
Jaclyn Cangro Keegan | Baker Public Relations
O: 518.426.4099 | M: 914.282.2083

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