Displaced rowers find temporary home on Lake Bella Vista

By Mary Clinthorne

Rockford and Northview  crews scrimmage on Lake Bella Vista on Saturday, taking refuge from the flooded Grand River.

Rockford and Northview
crews scrimmage on Lake Bella Vista on Saturday, taking refuge from the flooded Grand River.

Record flooding on the Grand River this month not only displaced people from their homes, but forced some high school crew teams, including Rockford, to find temporary rowing sites. The fast moving Grand, littered with large and small debris making its way downstream, was not a safe place for rowers, and yet with competitions in Michigan and Midwest region looming, the rowers needed to be on the water practicing.

The Lake Bella Vista Homeowner’s Association generously offered Rockford Crew practice time on Lake Bella Vista until the Grand River is safe for rowing. As Head Coach Tim Vallier explained, “The ability to practice on Lake Bella Vista helped save a season already stressed by this spring’s weather. The recent flooding would have eliminated weeks of vital technical training development, and would have surely crippled the team as we approach this year’s racing season. The generosity of the Lake Bella Vista Homeowner’s Association and residents was a true gift to our team. Lake Bella Vista is a great body of water to practice on, and everyone on the team is deeply grateful for the hospitality of the community. It is hard to fully express how much this means to Rockford Crew.”

Pending water quality assessments from the Kent County Health Department, the rowers hope to be back on the Grand River by the end of April.

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