We’re glad to see that Governor Kathy Hochul hasn’t forgotten about the Olympic region in her draft state spending plan for 2022-23.
The investments will go a long way to making the area even more attractive to visitors and more economically viable than it already is.
The budget, which Hochul unveiled on Tuesday, his first as governor, includes $105 million in new capital funding for the Olympic Regional Development Authority, which manages sports venues in and around Lake Placid.
Funding includes $92.5 million for a strategic upgrade and modernization plan to support improvements to Olympic facilities and ski resorts, with a focus on preparations for the 2023 FISU World University Games .
The Games will take place next year and will attract approximately 2,400 student-athletes from around the world who will compete in alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, biathlon, speed skating, curling, figure skating, hockey, short track speed skating, windsurfing snow and more events.
The 11-day sports festival is expected to attract thousands to the region and catch the attention of thousands more on TV and social media.
Lake Placid has hosted many big events since the 1980 Winter Olympics, but it’s been a while since they’ve seen one as big as the World University Games.
Events like these serve as a catalyst to bring more big events on the road, ensuring Lake Placid maintains its reputation as a world-class destination.
Hochul’s budget also includes $10 million for critical maintenance and energy efficiency upgrades, and $2.5 million from the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation budget as part of of the New York Works initiative.
Additional investments in these upstate assets will continue to make the state more competitive for winter recreation and travel, including support for a new Midland Lodge at Whiteface Mountain, attracting more high-profile sporting events. scale and ultimately fostering year-round economic and business sustainability. for the region.
Over the years, the state has funded ORDA well, ensuring that the sites remain functional and attractive. This is not the case at most former Olympic venues where venues were left to rot as officials struggled to pay for them years later.
The venues of the Lake Placid games in 1980 literally made the area famous, and we’ve all benefited from it in one way or another.
With a new speed skating rink, a revamped Olympic Center and many other winter sports venue upgrades, the University Games will look great in the eyes of the world.
Private enterprise could probably never do what the state has done with ORDA facilities all these years, and we are fortunate that state leadership over the decades has seen fit to continue to provide enough funding to keep it special.
Longtime former state senator Ronald B. Stafford of Plattsburgh played an important role in ensuring ORDA remained viable in the early days after the 1980 Winter Games, and others took over the torch ever since.
We hope that Hochul’s funding plans for ORDA will continue to make the region a place where miracles happen.