More than 60 people attended a virtual town hall Tuesday to review and discuss the results of a recent Ironman Lake Placid poll, and most of the questions from attendees focused on the local economic impact of the triathlon.
The Regional Office for Sustainable Tourism organized the community appeal via Zoom after receiving an overwhelming response to a survey that asked participants about their support for the Ironman triathlon. People who live on the racetrack and surrounding communities responded to the survey, and the results showed that locals are almost equally divided in their support for the race.
Of 1,441 respondents, 49% said they supported the race and 41% opposed it. The remaining 10% claimed a neutral position on the race.
ROOST released a presentation with the survey results, along with the raw survey data, to the public after the community call. People can view the survey data and the video of the community appeal on the ROOST website (www.roostadk.com) by hovering over the “Work’s extent” tab and selecting “Ironman Communities Working Group”.
The investigation was launched on October 20 and closed on November 1. ROOST data analyst Jay Bennett compiled the survey with ROOST’s Director of Digital Strategy Jasen Lawrence, with input from the Ironman Task Force, a committee created this summer to assess the community and impacts of triathlon. Ironman Lake Placid.
When asked what was the main disadvantage of running, almost 50% of those surveyed replied that “The athletes who come to train here do not respect the highway code and impact my trips. Two other main complaints related to race day traffic and overcrowding in and around the city.
Other survey results show that the main complaint from survey participants concerned the training of athletes before race day.
The race is “Positive impact for the region” ranked as the best profit of the race, garnering 38% of the participants’ votes. Other prominent advantages were that the race exposed the region as a “International sports destination” and introduced new people to the area.
ROOST members, the task force and communities affected by the Ironman Triathlon filled out the Zoom call on Tuesday. ROOST COO, Mary Jane Lawrence, moderated the call and Jasen Lawrence presented the results of the investigation.
Mary Jane invited attendees to ask questions about the survey data in the Zoom chat box, which racked up over 30 questions and comments by the end of the call.
There was some confusion as to the survey responses received by ROOST which were included in the final data presented. ROOST analyzed survey data based on IP address to identify duplicate responses, sequential submission deadlines, and geolocation of the IP address. A total of 66 of the 1,598 responses were deemed invalid via the IP address and removed from the survey results, according to ROOST. Another 91 responses were deleted as they came from postal codes outside of the Adirondacks.
Answers should be “essentially identical” to report as duplicates and remove final data presented, according to Jasen. He said ROOST could see when multiple people took survey results in one place. For example, several BOCES workers responded to the survey and these results were included in the final data. Content matching helped identify duplicate responses, and McKenna said approximately 31 of the 66 responses removed were duplicates of the same IP address.
Jasen said the data compiled from the results is not perfect and has a margin of error of around 2%. All up-to-date responses are always visible in the raw survey data results.
While the survey did not ask people about the economic impact of the race, most of the questions asked on the call were about how Ironman affects taxpayers in the community. People have asked how much ROOST pays to bring Ironman to the region; how this payment is funded; whether the region is getting a return on its investment in the race; what is the relationship between the costs and benefits of Ironman; whether local taxpayers’ money helps fund the race; and how to take into account community and environmental costs that cannot be financially measured.
“Has there been any discussion about how much (money) ROOST has to pay to bring Ironman to the region? “ Barry Brogan asked.
ROOST CEO Jim McKenna said ROOST paid $ 100,000 for the 2021 Ironman contract and $ 90,000 for the 2022 contract. Mary Jane said there are additional expenses, around $ 22,800, which go to pay for ROOST employees, housing for Ironman staff, local fire departments and overtime worked by the city and town. McKenna has confirmed that Essex County occupancy taxes on hotel stays and vacation rentals, as well as sales taxes, fund these running expenses.
“I think a lot of us are wondering how much of our tax money goes to fund Ironman,” said participant Sarah King.
McKenna responded that no direct funding from general county, town or village funds goes towards the race.
The Ironman task force recently worked to create a budget that identifies triathlon expenses. Mary Jane said some lost income has yet to be accounted for and Ironman’s current budget is a “disorganized.” She noted that the budget created with the working group will be made public once it is more complete.
No more problems
Mary Jane also addressed the immeasurable cost of “Fatigue of events” on community members. A participant identified only as “J. Blacksmith” noted, “I agree with the demand for a better understanding of the economic impact, but with the remembrance that there is also (an) emotional and mental impact on those who are ‘weary of the events’. “
Mary Jane said it’s a balance that needs to be struck, and that running doesn’t have to be a “all or nothing” event which is either an explosive race or no race at all; she said that’s what the task force is working on.
Other issues such as lake pollution and pre-race training were discussed, which Mary Jane and task force members say is difficult to relate to the Ironman triathlon alone. However, she discussed the possibility of broader solutions to problems such as the increase in cycling, including working with the state to develop cycle lanes.
Ironman representative Dave Christen said the task force and community survey gave Ironman event planners a starting point to identify areas of the race they can improve on, such as considering changing. the race dates or the route.
“It’s safe to say that for the last five or six years our team has been focused on producing the race and maybe not necessarily focused on long term viability, and this is an area where we can improve. “ said Christen.
The Ironman Task Force is expected to make a recommendation on whether or not to continue triathlon in the region, and if so, in what capacity, by late December or early January.