Building Riverside’s Facilities Future—A Phased Approach

Riverside’s aspirations for renovating and expanding our boathouse entail design, financing and permitting challenges that will take multiple years to realize. As we work on those plans, the aging of our 1912 boathouse continues and there are safety and operational concerns to be addressed now. The good news is that the current approach does not conflict with investment in our existing facility. We formed an Engineering Committee led by Board Member Neil Harrigan and Building and Grounds Committee chair Carson Burrington to define the projects and oversee their execution.

New Docks

New Docks


Caro, Carson, Paul Martin, the Engineering Committee and the Board have been working for several years to investigate and design plans for the next generation of docks for Riverside. Many hours of research, photos, drawings, changes to drawings, teleconference calls and prototyping occurred before the team settled on final designs and vendors. Caro led many of these efforts on the ground level and approved final production plans, from concept to reality.

Renee Lanza headed up RBC’s permitting/regulatory efforts along with creating an RFP which captured our specs for the new dock, a scorecard for evaluating vendors and set up a timeline. In April 2017, Renee and our team settled on a handful of reputable vendors to invite to respond to our RFP with proposals.

In January 2018, after several conversations with vendors, review of existing prototypes and installations and subsequent deliberation, the Engineering Committee recommended that RBC pursue an aluminum-framed dock with composite surface decking. Through RBC member referrals (thanks Jim McGaffigan!), research and the RFP proposal, they found an able partner in Row America and its manufacturing partner, Poralu Marine out of Montreal Canada. This program allowed RBC to also rely on existing relationships with Eastern Seaboard Concrete Construction and GEI Consultants.


A partnership was struck between the three vendors and RBC to remove, demolish and replace our docks with Poralu’s state of the art system tailored to the sport of rowing. Specifically, they divided out the deliverables as follows:

  • Poralu Marine & Row America – In-kind construction & replacement of dock and swing dock

  • Eastern Seaboard – Crane-removal, demolition and disposal of existing docks; complete environmental remediation of the site.

  • GEI Consultants – Review of vendor proposals, preparation of project materials for Conservation Commission, onsite representation of RBC to the Conservation Commission.

RBC received tentative project approval from the Cambridge Conservation Commission and DCR in February 2018. Final approval from the Conservation Commission and the DCR came on May 21 and the Conservation Commission inspection was completed on June 12, 2018.

Carson, Caro, Neil and Evan developed logistics for readying the site for the 70-ton crane and dock sections that arrived from Canada. Our club members chipped in and spent several Saturdays clearing out, cleaning up, and improving the downstream construction site. The sequencing of events for demolition, removal and installation was a coordinated effort. Carson, Caro, Evan and program coaches worked earnestly together to modify rowing programs as needed to accommodate modified schedules that week.


Our communications plan for the membership included three town-hall style presentations and daily email updates for the membership. The old dock was closed for operation on Sunday evening, June 17 and the new dock opened for launching on Saturday, June 23. On time, on spec, and on budget.

We have asked a lot from our members this spring in terms of flexibility and disruptions to schedules. The timing of both dock and slab replacements in the same year was indeed a huge undertaking. However, the sheer momentum of it all did carry us to the finish line with few regrets, and RBC is all the better for it!

The geese were the first to arrive of course, but we have plans for them too!