Petaluma might have a river, but that doesn’t mean playing on the water is accessible to everyone.
The high costs and low availability of rental of kayaks, rowboats, paddleboards and other watercraft prevent residents from fully enjoying the Petaluma River that runs through the downtown area of the city.
At least that’s what the people behind The Floathouse, a Petaluma Small Craft Center project, think.
“Petaluma prides itself on being a ‘river town’,” said executive director Greg Sabourin, “but you don’t have a place where you can easily rent a paddle board or rowboat.”
In early spring, leaders of the nonprofit hope to launch a fleet of low-cost boat rentals – everything from canoes and paddleboards to sailboats and small electric boats – from a dock. community in the Turning Basin, a stretch of the river, which is technically a tidal swamp, squarely in the downtown area of the city.
“It’s to go after the boats,” said Sabourin. Sabourin and others behind the project say the Petaluma River should be treated by residents and visitors as one long urban water park.
On Saturday, that ideal was fully on display as six people contorted on paddleboards under the direction of Lacey Shelton, a yoga instructor in Petaluma. Behind them, young kayak racers with the River Town Racers held their practice.
Shelton, owner of Petaluma Park Yoga, donated her teaching time for the event, which was the second in a pair of stand-up paddleboard yoga classes that were part of the fall fundraiser of The Floathouse. The money raised for the $ 75 course will be used to pay for the paddle boards.
A slow fundraising success, The Floathouse has raised over $ 500,000, over nearly a decade through government grants and private donors, for construction. They are close to achieving their goals and need about $ 70,000 to complete the installation and launch the inaugural rental fleet, according to thefloathousepetaluma.org website.
You can reach editor Andrew Graham at 707-526-8667 or [email protected] On Twitter @ AndrewGraham88