More communities lend support to Empire State Games

Momentum is building for the Empire State Winter Games in Lake Placid, as more communities have pledged financial support to the event.

The games were called off late last year due to a lack of state funding. In the past, the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation organized both the summer and winter games, but the agency had to cancel them as New York continues to deal with an $11 billion budget deficit.

Less than 24 hours after the games were canceled, a coalition of municipalities and organizations announced the winter games - held annually in Lake Placid - would continue.

Officials from the village of Lake Placid, the towns of North Elba and Wilmington, the state Olympic Regional Development Authority, and the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism said the games were worth saving because of the economic impact on the region.

The towns of Harrietstown and St. Armand have also joined the effort.

In Harrietstown, the town council approved a $1,000 contribution to the games and encouraged planners to utilize the town-owned Dewey Mountain Ski Center.

St. Armand officials contributed $500 to the cause.

James McKenna is president and CEO of ROOST and the Lake Placid CVB.

"At this point, everything is good to go," he said. "We've been working continually with all of the sports organizations around the state, and that's all in motion. The registration process has started for all of the athletes, and that's running smoothly."

McKenna says the total budget for the games will be approximately $90,000 - he estimates that well over $75,000 has been collected so far from local businesses and municipalities.

According to McKenna, organizers are planning two large pageantry events to coincide with the games - an opening ceremony scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25 and the Festival of the Games the following evening.

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