LAKE PLACID - Local town officials are in high spirits after yet another Lake Placid Ironman event has given a boost to local businesses and triathlon organizers have offered to extend their commitment to the village for the next three years.
The annual triathlon, owned and organized by the World Triathlon Corporation, represents one of six full-distance Ironman events in the continental United States. It draws over 2,200 athletes, 3,500 volunteers, and thousands of spectators to Lake Placid and the surrounding region each year.
"This world-class event is similar to other prestigious events hosted by Lake Placid," said Lake Placid Mayor Craig Randall. "The economic impact of Ironman is significant to our entire region, it flows to our many area shops, restaurants, lodging and related support services, and to everyone they employ."
On July 27, the day following this year's event, the Lake Placid/Essex County Visitors' Bureau joined leaders from the Village of Lake Placid and the towns of North Elba, Jay, Wilmington, and Keene in announcing an extension of their contract with WTC to host the Ford Ironman Lake Placid through 2012.
Randall said despite recent changes in WTC ownership, the extended contract was very similar to those of the past as far as village obligations.
"Ford Ironman Lake Placid has played a large part in the history of the sport in the United States and has become a hub for the triathlon community," said Shane Facteau, Ironman's director of operations. "We are excited to be back for another three years."
The extended contract comes as welcome news to local government leaders, many of whom lauded the Lake Placid Ironman as a boon to the local economy.
"The Town of Wilmington is excited to learn that Ironman will continue to be with us, it has been an economic engine for the region and the state, filling our motels and restaurants and generating a large amount of revenue for us all," said Wilmington supervisor Randy Preston.
In Saranac Lake, too, the economic impact is evident. According to Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce director Sylvie Nelson, hotels and motels there usually find themselves sold out during the weekend.
"We're all in one big region, and we benefit from each other in that respect," she said.
According to North Elba supervisor Roby Politi, the Ironman event has an economic impact of about $10 million in the area, and generates roughly $800,000 in sales tax revenue for Essex County each year. Though it's too early for any actual figures, he said there was no reason to believe this year was any different. Politi said he relieved reports that hundreds of athletes were lining up July 27 to register for Lake Placid's 2010 Ironman event, and that nearly all the available slots have already been filled.
"So next year there should be just as many (people)," he said.