Lake Placid, NY — State and local officials toured the renovated Olympic Center in Lake Placid as the facility prepares for two major events early next year
The Olympic Center is set to host the FISU World University Games, which start January 12, as well as the in 2023 Ski Jumping World Cup, which arrives in Lake Placid a month later.
Lake Placid Mayor Art Devlin said the renovations will have an impact on the region for years to come.
“The games will have a big impact on us but that’s not the biggest impact,” he said. “Hosting the games is more for the notoriety and the upgrade to your infrastructure, the advertisement of it, so that part of it will be very big for us.”
Work began three years ago, and each venue has gotten upgrades in preparation for the events, said Mike Pratt, CEO of the Olympic Regional Development Authority.
“We remodeled the 1980 rink, the 1932 rink, replaced the entire 1977 vintage refrigeration system, and rebuilt the oval outside,” he said.
Pratt said the renovations will make the Olympic Center a destination for tourists and locals.
Along with the Olympic Center, the ski jumps, Mt. Van Hoevenberg, and Whiteface Mountain all saw upgrades to its infrastructure in order to make sure they can handle the events.
One local business owner is looking forward to the positive impacts the renovations will have on the business, but understands that not everyone may be looking forward to the events.
“In general, I see how it’s very important to the area to maintain the economy and to maintain growth in the area,” said Tammy Loewy, owner of Green Goddess Natural Market. “I hope that there will be some balance for the people who are being imposed by the games and the day-to-day issues of how to get somewhere in town.”
Devlin understands the construction has caused inconvenience for everyone but believes it will benefit the people of Lake Placid for decades. “Our biggest industry is tourism, it’s 85% of what we do here, the World University Games opened up doors to get improvements done that we normally couldn’t have done, and main street, everything that’s happening is all because of the world university games.”
He notes that the improvements to infrastructure like the water lines underneath Main Street that date back to 1906 could have been pushed back by nearly a decade without state funding thanks to hosting the FISU World University Games.
Devlin sees the FISU World University Games as a trial run, and if all goes well, Lake Placid will continue to host major international sporting events.