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FISU, Saranac Lake mayor discuss new curling facility

February 9, 2018
By GRIFFIN KELLY - Staff Writer ( , Lake Placid News

SARANAC LAKE - A curling facility could come to this village within the next five years.

The International Sports University Federation (FISU) evaluation team had lunch with village Mayor Clyde Rabideau last week for a meet-and-greet but also to discuss the potential for a new curling facility in the village.

The Adirondack North Country Global Sports Committee submitted a bid to FISU in December to host the 2023 Winter World University Games, also known as the Winter Universiade. The bid includes building a curling facility in Saranac Lake that would fit four to five curling sheets, 1,500 to 2,000 seats and two locker rooms.

The venue would be across the street from the proposed Lake Flower Resort, which has been in its planning phases for over five years. The facility would have on-site parking and overflow parking at North Country Community College.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in his budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year, put in $62.5 million for the state Olympic Regional Development Authority to enhance winter sports venues, and funding for the curling rink could come from that pool.

In a phone interview, Rabideau said he couldn't provide any specifics on the location or owner of the new curling venue, but he did say it would be privatized, albeit built with state funds.

The new facility makes sense for the future of Saranac Lake because curling is a popular and growing sport, according to Rabideau.

"I think it's got legs," he said. "I think it's economically viable."

Why build a new venue when there's already the Saranac Lake Village Civic Center, whose ice rink fits five curling sheets?

Rabideau said the new facility would be closer to lodging and the downtown area while the civic center on Ampersand Avenue is in a residential neighborhood.

"We want more synergy to a commercial area," he said.

The new venue would also open up more opportunities for current and potential curlers.

The Lake Placid Curling Club plays one day a week for two-and-a-half hours at the civic center. They don't have the time to play any more because of the center's other uses such as hockey, figure skating and public skating. Club member Roger Steinbrueck related the new facility to an "if-you-build-it-they-will-come" scenario.

"When people can go play practically anytime of the day," he said, "they'll go play."



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