Culminating a two-year lobbying effort, Westchester County will get the Empire State Games in 2007. County Executive Andy Spano said he has been informed by the state that it has selected Westchester as the site for this annual competition. “I want to thank Governor Pataki and the state’s Empire State Games committee for selecting Westchester,” Spano said. “The county is an ideal site and this will be a fabulous event.”
The games — a multi-sport event for New York amateur athletes patterned after the Olympics — will take place July 24-29, 2007 at various venues in the county (colleges, county parks). The event is expected to draw between 10,000 and 20,000 athletes, their families, friends and coaches to the region.
Spano noted that bringing several thousand tourists to the area in summer will positively impact the county’s economy, with added business for restaurants, hotels, retail stores and entertainment and recreational venues. He said that funding for the games, a program of the New York State’s Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, will come from the state, with additional private fundraising support here in Westchester.
Spano sent a proposal to the state during the fall of 2004 in an effort to be selected to host the 2007 Empire State Games. In addition, Westchester residents were asked to send electronic postcards (via the county’s website) supporting the bid.
Most of the activity will take place at the campuses of five colleges: Manhattanville and SUNY Purchase, both in Harrison; Pace University (Pleasantville and Briarcliff); and the College of New Rochelle and Iona College, both in New Rochelle.
In all, 29 different sports, from archery to volleyball will take place in 21 venues, including all five college campuses, along with Westchester Community College, Mount Vernon and New Rochelle high schools, the Westchester County Center in White Plains, the ice rinks at Playland Ice Casino in Rye and Hommocks Park in Mamaroneck, and other cooperating public and private venues.
Athletes will be housed in the dorms, with many sporting events taking place within each campus. Shuttle bus transportation will carry them to offsite venues.