I just returned from a news conference in Lake Placid, where officials announced that the winter Empire State Games will in fact be held in February 2011, despite reports this week that the state has pulled funding for the games.
You can read my earlier report here.
As of right now, barring any issues on the state's end, the games will proceed as planned, with the towns of Wilmington and North Elba, the village of Lake Placid, the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST), and the Olympic Regional Development Authority joining forces to keep the games alive.
I'm posting here the release issued this morning by ROOST. I'll have a full report later today during the five o'clock news hour.
Officials from the Village of Lake Placid, the Town of North Elba, the Town of Wilmington, the New York State Olympic Development Authority (ORDA) and the Lake Placid CVB, and the Whiteface Regional Visitors Bureau are pleased to announce that the communities will host the 2011 Empire State Winter Games.
According to a statement from the New York State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation on November 16, the summer, senior, physically challenged and winter Empire State Games were cut from the 2011 budget. The 31st annual Empire State Winter Games were scheduled to be held in February 2011 in Lake Placid.
The cancellation swiftly led to discussions amongst community leaders about a solution that would allow the Games to resume as scheduled this winter. Representatives from the Towns of North Elba and Wilmington, the Village of Lake Placid, the Lake Placid CVB and the ORDA made a joint decision Wednesday evening to work cooperatively to ensure that the games will continue at the same high level to which athletes are accustomed.
“We’ve made this decision on behalf of the greater Lake Placid region, just as Lake Placid decided in 1928 to pursue the 1932 Olympic Winter Games during the Great Depression, ” said Mayor Craig Randall. “This situation is actually an opportunity for Lake Placid, as it jump-started our existing plans to convene a leadership committee that will facilitate programs to support the communities’ sustainable future.”
“With the expertise of our venue management team at ORDA, the Lake Placid CVB, our North Elba Park District, and our partners in Wilmington we have more than enough expertise to host a very successful event; now and in the future,” added Roby Politi, Supervisor of North Elba.
“The Empire State Games represent a great economic impact to the greater region,” said Randy Preston, Supervisor of Wilmington, home of Whiteface Mountain. “We look forward to being part of the team that will make certain that this event will continue to be part of our winter calendar.”
“Our facilities and venue management were already prepared to host these events, said Ted Blazer,” President of ORDA. “The venues are set, our staff is ready, and we will pull off an exceptional Empire State Winter Games 2011.”
“We’re pooling all of our collective talents, and are prepared to aggressively pursue funding to make this happen,” said James McKenna, President of the Lake Placid CVB. “We have already and will continue to communicate closely with the former Empire State Games staff to guarantee a rewarding experience for our New York State athletes.”
Senator Elizabeth O’C. Little was very supportive. “My office is willing to meet and assist any way possible,” she said. “I’m very glad that the community stepped forward to promote yet another great event in the Adirondacks.”
Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward was equally encouraging. “Great news,” she said. “Partnerships like this are necessary to keep great programs such as this in place.”
The event will be held on February 25-28, 2011, and includes competitions in the disciplines of alpine and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ski jumping, ice skating and more.