Tuesday, April 9, 2013

COMING SOON: Silo City Rocks

I went rock climbing once in my life. I was in high school, and my best friend Kristy and I took a few days to "vacation" around Buffalo.  We didn't have a lot of money to spend, so we picked out a handful of activities we'd never done and checked them out. Why we chose rock climbing, I'm not sure, but we fumbled our way up the wall, had a good laugh and went on to the next adventure. 

Fast forward almost fifteen years later: I'm standing inside a grain elevator in Buffalo looking up at the future home of Silo City Rocks. I'm off the wall excited about this project, quickly opening my wallet to support the project. It isn't about the rock climbing to me. With one failed shoulder surgery, and the other one in need of surgery, I'm never going to be a climbing fanatic. Sure, I'll give it a try, but, it's not about the climbing. It's about progress. It's about a change of attitude. It's about taking a dream in Buffalo and making it a reality. In a grain elevator. 

Walking around the grain elevator with one of the co-owners of Silo City Rocks, Jason Schwinger, I could feel the energy and passion he has for this project. 

So what exactly is the project? Schwinger and two other co-owners have teamed up to create a unique experience for climbers in Western New York. An abandoned grain elevator in Silo City will be converted into a rock climbing facility filled with climbing walls for children and adults. Climbers will have the chance to climb and repel off the outside of the grain elevator as well. In addition to space for climbing, Silo City Rocks will be home to a yoga studio, a history lounge and more! 

In March, the owners unveiled the project to the community and the response has been incredible. They launched an Indiegogo page asking the community to donate to the project and have raised over $15,000 to date. The donations will go to support the purchase of materials to get the project off the ground by Memorial Day weekend 2013.

"Since we unveiled the project, I've gotten dozens of e-mails a week asking how people can get involved with the project. In addition to making donations, we are in need of a lot of people to help clean out the space and work on the remodel." Jason told me. If you are interested in getting involved, you can contact Jason by e-mail at jason@silocityrocks.com.

The plans for the project are big. Jason knows the full dream won't be realized by the Memorial Day weekend opening, but they plan to continue to expand and add on. Climbing classes and workshops may be offered in the fall and more events and activities will continue to be added as they can. 

Though Silo City Rocks will take up a lot of space, it will still leave a large portion of the grain elevator empty. "We hope that Silo City Rocks starts sparking other ideas from Buffalonians to continue to fill this incredible space. The possibilities are endless." Jason said. In addition to the grain elevator they will be operating out of, there are a handful more in close proximity! 

In the past few years, reuse/rehabilitation/restoration projects in Buffalo have been fascinating. With the recently renovated Statler, Hotel Lafayette, a beautiful Canalside, plans to reuse the historic Richardson Complex, and more, Buffalo is setting itself up for an incredible future. Now, add the historic grain elevators to the mix and Buffalo continues to become an even more attractive destination.  

As Memorial Day gets closer, I find myself getting even more excited about Silo City Rocks. I'm looking forward to getting my chance to explore the walls, bum shoulders and all, and see another space in Buffalo reused. If you enjoying climbing, it is a must do this summer.

If rock climbing isn't your thing, maybe kayaking is? Jason also owns BFLO Harbor Kayak (which we reviewed HERE back in 2011. Check out the website for current pricing and hours). It's another great outdoor option for summers in Buffalo. 

Whether or not climbing is your thing, you have to appreciate what they are trying to do. I'm so proud of the people of Buffalo who are thinking outside the box to create all the wonderful projects that are in the works. 

Summer 2013 is going to be an incredible time to be in Buffalo. Stay tuned for more details as they come out...

Happy climbing!

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