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Lake Placid board OKs Copenhagen flight funds

LAKE PLACID — Current Lake Placid Mayor Art Devlin — and former mayor Craig Randall — will attend this year’s Smart Cities and Sports Summit, hosted by the World Union of Olympic Cities, in Copenhagen, Denmark from Nov. 22 to Nov. 24.

The village board unanimously agreed last week to use funds set aside for travel expenses to pay for the mayor and former mayor’s airfare to Copenhagen. Village Treasurer Mindy Goddeau estimated that airfare costs will be around $2,000 for each ticket.

Due to COVID-19, the summit has virtual and in-person registration options. Devlin and Randall are expecting to attend the summit in person for the networking and traveling opportunities. Devlin said he’s the type of person who likes to “look someone in the eye and shake their hand” when he meets them.

Randall served on the executive committee for the WUOC while he was mayor. Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism CEO Jim McKenna — who has traveled to Europe with Randall in the past for the Smart Cities and Sports Summit — said he nominated Devlin for the same committee earlier this year. While at the summit, Devlin said he hopes Randall will “pass the gauntlet over” by introducing Devlin to his contacts from international Olympic cities. McKenna said Devlin is expected to find out if he will be elected to the committee while in Copenhagen.

Goddeau said the cost of airfare is funded by the village’s budgeted travel expenses. She said that since travel was more limited in 2020 due to COVID-19, the village was able to set aside more money in the budget for travel expenses this year. This year’s budget for travel is $9,000 — $4,000 is set aside for travel, $2,000 is for mayor travel, and $3,000 rolled over from last year’s travel budget.

Devlin said the WUOC will pay for his and Randall’s other expenses, including lodging and meals, while at the summit.

Two days of the summit, Nov. 23 and Nov. 24, will feature keynote speakers, networking meetings and educational talks — many of which center around bringing youth into the Olympic realm. The only event on the summit’s schedule for Nov. 22 is a “welcome cocktail.”

McKenna said the summit is an important opportunity for Randall and Devlin to discuss the updates being made to the village’s Olympic facilities, which he said are, in part, a byproduct of the village’s involvement with the WUOC.

Though the summit lasts three days, Devlin and Randall’s trip to Copenhagen is planned to last for six — from Nov. 22 to Nov. 27. Devlin said he and Randall will travel to surrounding areas for those days, adding that they’ll personally pay for those expenses out-of-pocket. Devlin’s father — Olympic ski jumper Art Devlin Sr. — was on five Olympic teams from 1940 to 1960, and Devlin said he’s always wanted to put “faces to names” of Olympic sites by visiting places like Lillehammer, Norway, the site of the 1994 Olympic Winter Games.

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