Officials to lobby state to keep Americade here

LAKE GEORGE - Local and state officials will be meeting soon to negotiate lower state fees in an effort to dissuade Americade motorcycle rally founder Bill Dutcher from moving his nationally famous event out of the area, Mayor Blais reported Monday.

Blais said Dutcher is poised to move the rally to Springfield Mass. or another municipality in the northeast U.S. as soon as 2012 if he can't get the state Department of Environmental Conservation brass to lower their $82,000 fee for the use of the Million Dollar Beach parking lot down to its historic level of about $50,000 for a week.

Blais said state Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward and perhaps state Sen. Betty Little are expected to participate in this meeting.

"We're going to Albany and plead our case," he said. "Dutcher said the proposed DEC fees are not acceptable."

Blais said Dutcher told him and other community leaders in a meeting this week that Springfield Mass. offered him use of a convention center in their city four times the size of the Lake George Forum at half the cost he was renting the Forum annually for a portion of his massive Tour Expo trade show. The bulk of the vendors are traditionally chiefly located in the Million Dollar Beach parking lot, prompting the DEC fee. He noted that the Gaslight Village festival space, considered an alternative site for Tour Expo, wouldn't be ready for a year or two, and parking motorcycles wasn't feasible on the unpaved surfaces at Gaslight.

Blais said that if DEC lowers their fee to the $50,000 range, he will commit to keeping Americade in Lake George until 2015 or 2016.

Dutcher told the local and county leaders that he needs to know the amount of the DEC fee within the next few weeks because he'll be soon advertising the site of Americade in future years, Blais said. Americade has been held in Lake George each year since 1983, growing from modest beginnings into the world's largest touring motorcycle rally.

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