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Officials reflect on successful Empire State Winter Games

"This is the business this region is in," he said. "There was never a doubt that this wouldn't be carried out with great results - and to use your acronym, Jim, we brought it home to 'ROOST.'"

Joe Lamb, a local businessman who volunteered on the Empire State Winter Games Organizing Committee, said the games represent what can be accomplished when people get together on the local level.

"I think our future is to build-out these games and make them larger than they have been, to take them maybe in a slightly different direction," he said. "In all, we want to present to sport, the physical opportunities for people of varying ages a winter experience of physical health and well-being."

The model established for these games is catching the eye of policy-makers in Albany, too.

State Senator Betty Little says she's already using this year's event as an example of the sort of public-private partnership the state needs in order to get back to fiscal solvency.

According to Little, saving the Empire State Winter Games and making it successful without state funding is promising as lawmakers look for other ways to get creative with next year's budget.

"We need to involve local government whenever we're making any kind of changes at the state and see how, why, and in what way we can work together on things," she said.

Little says the local officials who put together the games deserve a lot of credit for making them happen.

"They're good for our area, but they're also good for the athletes who are proud to compete and proud to be New Yorkers," she said.

Early returns suggest that Senator Little is right when she says the Empire State Winter Games were good for the Olympic region.

According to Kim Rielly of ROOST, the 732 athletes and their guests who stayed in the area for an average of three days generated an economic impact of nearly $484,000. Visiting officials and their guests had an economic impact of more than $61,000.

The total estimated direct expenditures were nearly $578,000, Rielly says.

Overall, Jim McKenna says the games ran in the black this year, which he says is good news as organizers begin looking to next year.

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