The Empire State Games are being chopped as a result of the budget crunch in New York State. Sad as the ESGs usually encourage tourism and add to a local community’s economy. Here is the info from our listserv.
I just received this press release from ESG. I can’t figure out why the Office of Parks decided to cave in and comply with the Governor’s budget proposal so early in the budget process and only two days after sending out a public appeal for supporters of ESG to petition him and the Legislature to restore their budget allocation.
There is no cycling competition in the planned 2009 Summer Games, as Open and Masters competitions in all sports have been eliminated, so those of you organizing regional trials and the Hudson Valley finals can stand down.
In my opinion this is the end of the Empires State Games. No one will pay $285 to participate in the 2009 Scholastic Only Summer Games, and when hardly anyone shows up, that will justify permanently pulling the plug in 2010.
Well, it’s been a fun 31 years. See you at the races.
State Parks Announces Plan to Preserve Empire State Games for High School and Physically Challenged Athletes
Participation Fees, Discontinuation of Certain Events Necessary to Address Record State Budget Deficits
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation today outlined a plan that preserves the Governor Hugh L. Carey Empire State Games for high school and physically challenged athletes in the face of an economic downturn that is severely impacting the state budget.
In the 2009-10 fiscal year, participation fees of $285 and up to $100 will be implemented for the Summer and Winter Games, respectively. Previously, there had been no participation fee. The Games for the Physically Challenged will continue to have no participation fee.
In addition, the annual Senior Games, and all Masters, and Open competitions in the Winter and Summer Games will be suspended for the 2009-10 fiscal year. Certain events and activities for high school athletes and the physically challenged will also be suspended or scaled back, as detailed below.
The changes for the 2009-10 fiscal year are in response to a 10 percent agency spending reduction ordered to help the state address a precipitous reduction in revenues caused by a deep recession. The Empire State Games, which originated in 1978, has operated on an annual budget of $3 million – including $2.7 million in state funding support. State funding support will be discontinued in 2009-10.
“In a time of unprecedented fiscal crisis, the unfortunate reality is that reductions have to be made across every area of government,” said Carol Ash, Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “We have sought to strike an appropriate balance that allows the Games to continue for high school and physically challenged athletes, while also helping the state address its record $15.4 billion deficit.”
Looking ahead to the 2010 Summer Games in Buffalo, Ash indicated that the agency would be pursuing private sponsorship with the hope of reinstating the suspended competitions, as well as revisiting the new fee structure.
Further information on the Games is included below:
The Summer Games: July, 2009, Mid-Hudson Valley
A $285 fee for scholastic-level athletes will be implemented. The fee will cover the cost of room, board and local transportation during the four-day event. Scholastic boxing, fencing, and shooting will be suspended for the 2009 summer games.
The Winter Games: February, 2010, Lake Placid
Athletes will continue to pay for their own meals and lodging, as they have traditionally done. The opening ceremonies will also be scaled back. A participation fee of up to $100 will be implemented.
The February 2009 Winter Games will be held as planned in with no fee. However, three sporting events will be suspended (bobsled, luge, and skeleton).
The Games for the Physically Challenged: May, 2009, Long Island; October, 2009, Brockport
The Games for the Physically Challenged, for athletes 5-21 years old, will have streamlined activities and events.
Information on the Empire State Games, including details on registration, can be found at www.empirestategames.org.
The reduction in state support for the Empire State Games is one of several steps State Parks has taken to address the state’s fiscal crisis, including reducing operations at state parks and historic sites, eliminating the 2009 State Park Police academy, instituting a hard hiring freeze, eliminating state support for the Heritage Areas program, and others.