The Dad Vail Regatta, the county's largest intercollegiate rowing event, will be held in Philadelphia next year after all, race organizers and government officials announced today.
In move that had caught city officials off guard, Regatta had announced last months that they planned to move the race to Rumson, N.J., after losing several large sponsorships.
But those plans changed when Mayor Michael Nutter, U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, D-Phila., and business man Herb Lotman convinced organizers the race should remain in its historic home on the Schuylkill River.
Earlier this week, questions arose about whether Rumson would make good on $250,000 in funding it had promised to Dad Vail organizers. Race organizers also had grown concerned that the Monmouth County borough on the Navesink River did not have the capacity to handle such a large event.
Philadelphia, home to the regatta for 56 years, had been charging the Dad Vail $70,000 to pay for police overtime, cleanup and other costs. Nutter said the city and Dad Vail representatives were looking at every aspect of those costs to see if they could be reduced. He would not say whether the city had agreed to waive any charges.
Nutter also said the city would help race officials seek "more regular, dependable funding" from corporate sponsors.
Rumson Mayor John Ekdahl learned about the decision from a reporter and indicated that planners there were blinded sided by the Dad Vail organizers just as Philadelphia officials were when the move to Rumson was first announced.
"I'm frankly shocked at the turn of events," he said, adding the town had been waiting for regatta organizers to sign off on a letter of understanding.
Ekdahl said the regatta's demand for a firm guarantee of $250,000 in donations was a sticking point.
He said he did not expect there would be any problems raising the money but "we couldn't guarantee that number in writing."
"That wasn't reasonable," he said.