The Batavian has been all over the Empire State Games problems and recently wrote that the games scheduled to be in Hudson Valley were called off for financial reasons.
We had previously reported that there was plans to cut sports and start charging athletes up to $300 to compete.
There is currently an online petition that is being sent to Governor Patterson and Commissioner Ash, trying to bring the games back.
We, the undersigned, believe that canceling the Open, Scholastic and Masters divisions, the Senior Games and the Physically Challenged Games of the Empire State Games is something that needs to be reviewed. We believe that ALL divisions of the Summer Games and Winter Games, along with the entirety of the Senior Games and Games for the Physically Challenged should be reviewed on their merits and what they provide to New Yorkers.
We have a very good understanding of the economic crisis New York State and the entire country are facing. However, we do not feel that the programs offered through the Empire State Games are a drain on the economy, rather we feel they help increase revenue in the regions where they are held, and they promote a healthy living style to ALL New Yorkers, some of the reasons for this follow.
The Summer Games as a WHOLE entity brings in $10 to $15 Million to the local economy of the host city. The Winter Games brings in $1.5 Million to Lake Placid. If we add the $10 Million (low end) to the $1.5 million, the State tax on this comes to $460,000 directly back to the State in tax revenue. At a cost to the State of only $2 million, we feel this is a VERY wise investment. The Senior Games are Vital to the health of our maturing population and the Physically Challenged Games are the ONLY avenue these special kids have to participate in. In a time where you, yourself have shown interest in a healthy NY, what better way than these Games? The Masters division and the Senior Games already have a participation fee which should cover most if not all costs associated with their competition. Let the Scholastic, Open and Physically challenged kids continue to be assured a spot in these Games with no fee, to assure NO NEW YORKER IS LEFT OUT due to financial situation.
In conclusion, we the undersigned, are not asking New York State to reinvest tax dollars in an event which is detrimental to the states long term (or short term) economic future, however, we are asking that someone looks at the WHOLE program called the Empire State Games and truly measures the economic impact these Games have on New York States overall economic plan as well as providing an opportunity for ALL New Yorkers to train and stay healthy. We do hope you will do the right thing here and re-institute these GREAT Games!!
It is great to see that there is a group out there trying save the ESG tradition. 155 people have signed the petition so far, and if you feel inclined to help keep our local athletes competing for Western New York, here is the link to sign the petition.