ORDA's plan for an International Sliding Sports Museum at the sliding track at Mount Van Hoevenberg is a fantastic idea.
The agency plans to fill underused spaces in existing buildings beside the track with informative displays and bobsled, luge and skeleton artifacts from collections such as that of the Lake Placid Olympic Museum. The main room would be upstairs at the Lamy Lodge. The Sled Shed and the 1980 half-mile start house would also be involved, as would a self-guided walking tour of the old bobrun.
It's a good start for a worthy venture that doesn't exist anywhere else in the world. This museum would give people more reason to go to this venue and more ways for more people to engage with it and with the sports, which the local area was integral in developing.
It is important that ORDA is laying out a vision for future development of its venues, and an excellent one at that. The authority announced that it would like to establish museums commemorating other Olympic sports like biathlon, ski jumping and Alpine skiing at their respective venues. A mini-museum at each venue would add value for visitors, even prompting people who have seen them many times before to return to check out the new facilities. These are not yet developed plans, but they are great ideas, a framework that can play out over years as money becomes available.
Funding, of course, is a major obstacle, but New York's Olympic venues are worth the investment. They are the foundation of Lake Placid's booming economy, and Lake Placid is an engine that increases the number of visits throughout the Adirondacks. Investments in these venues help the North Country economy.
These Olympic venues are worth the investment in keeping them attractive and up to standard. New York as a whole should contribute significantly, since these venues reflect well on the entire Empire State, but all New Yorkers shouldn't be expected to fork over the entire budget for such capital projects - especially since the most direct beneficiary is Lake Placid. There is money in this town to pay for some of this stuff, and several of the venues are actually owned by the people of the town of North Elba. A combination of state spending, town spending and local business fundraisers could be an appropriate mix.