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Saranac Lake board OKs downtown cycling races

January 12, 2012
By JESSICA COLLIER - Staff Writer ( , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

SARANAC LAKE - The village board unanimously decided to let the Saranac Lake Downtown Criterium cycling races happen again, despite concerns expressed after the 2011 races.

"Wasn't there a reason that we decided last year not to do this?" Trustee Jeff Branch asked when the item came up on the village board agenda Monday night.

After the 2011 races, several business owners complained to village officials about traffic being blocked off for most of a Sunday in June.

But village Manager John Sweeney said the race organizers have changed the race time so roads will be closed for an hour less than they were last year.

The concerns boiled down to a lack of business downtown, which Sweeney said the village addressed in a study it conducted last year. Village officials sent a survey to every business they knew of in the village.

Sweeney said they found that bad weather significantly affected business during the event last year.

Branch asked police Chief Bruce Nason how much the races cost the police department. Nason said it would be overtime for one or two officers for the duration of the event.

Richard Shapiro, who owns a tandem bicycle business in Saranac Lake, spoke during the public comment section of the meeting in support of the races. He called it a good event for the village with a significant economic impact. He said that will improve if the weather is better for the Criterium this year.

"Anything we can do to get the name of Saranac Lake out there for the tourists, it's a good thing," Shapiro told the board.



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