published: Friday, July 13, 2012
Group eyes Olympic distance triathlon in LP
By ED BALDRIDGE
LAKE PLACID - Lake Placid's town council voted 3-0 Monday to have staff work with a for-profit company to establish of the county's first Olympic distance triathlon, but voiced reservations about potential costs to the taxpayers.
Daniel Andrews, owner of Paragon Event Professionals, presented his plans to hold a regular triathlon event within the town limits on April 13-14, 2013 and is calling the proposed event the Lake Placid Multi-Sport Festival.
"I am looking to create Highlands County's first Olympic distance triathlon in the heart of your beautiful community," Andrews wrote in his introductory letter.
According to Andrews, an Olympic event consists of a .9 mile swim, a 25-mile bike and run of 10 kilometers.
"We chose Lake Placid because of the rural setting, the rolling hills and the crystal clear lakes," Andrews said.
Andrews explained that there would be a total of four events running at the same time during the two-day period.
"This event will be sanctioned by the USA Triathlon Association providing all rules and liability insurance for the event, town, volunteers and participants," Andrews explained.
"The Lake Placid Multi-Sport Festival is being created to fill the void of Olympic distance triathlon and duathlon in central and south central Florida. It is the goal of Paragon Event Professionals to build a multi-day festival showcasing the town of Lake Placid." Andrews explained.
A duathlon is organized for those who are not so big on the swimming and consists of a one-and-a-half mile run to represent the swim event, a 25-mile bike race and the traditional 10 kilometer run to the finish.
Andrews made it clear that his company was pursuing this as a for-profit event, but part of the funds would go to the Highlands County YMCA.
"I don't see this growing to the 1,500 (participant) events, like some of the big races, but I am confident of the 500 to 800 participants," Andrews said.
Despite the potential increase in sports tourism, council was hesitant to allow the for-profit company to use public property to make money.
Town Clerk Arlene Tuck voiced her opposition to allowing a for-profit entity to use the public parks and the council was cautious in its approval.
"Any approval I would vote for tonight would be extremely conditional," Councilman Ray Royce said. "If we are going to allow a for-profit to use some of the town's facilities, then the town needs to make a little bit of money off of this."
"Putting the money in Sebring, into the YMCA, I don't see this benefiting Lake Placid at all," Mayor John Holbrook said. "If you could find someway to benefit the youth of Lake Placid, I would be more inclined to vote for this immediately. When we do something for this, I want to make sure it benefits Lake Placid and not just Sebring or Avon Park."
Andrews plans includes a Saturday kids' race and registration for the adult race on Sunday. The kids' race will serve as the kickoff for the existing series through the Highlands County Family YMCA, the Rock 'n Heartland Youth Triathlon Series to benefit Julie's Funds for Kids.
Andrews clarified that his business would use Lake June Park and pay all fees for police coverage and road closing.
"We are going to work out all the details and I believe100 percent that we should pay for any additional costs incurred by the town. I am sure we can work out all the details with the police and the town before the next town meeting," Andrews said Thursday.
Andrews is also the manager for The Bike Shop at 213 US 27 in Sebring.
Can't wait! (by: Cherie in Avon Park - 7/13/2012)
This will be a great event. Let's get behind it.
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