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Lake George area hopes to host professional volleyball tour, tournament next June

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A professional volleyball organization plans to bring a “pro-am” beach volleyball tournament to Lake George’s Million Dollar Beach next June, sponsored in part by local occupancy tax funds.

EVP Beach Volleyball plans to bring professional volleyball players, including former Olympians, to the region for a two-day professional and amateur tournament on June 23-24.

The event would feature 24 professional teams and 60 amateur teams, and some of the tournament would be televised, said Kristen Hanifin, special events and convention sales director with the Lake George Regional Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau. There will be opportunities for local teams to compete, she said.

Warren County’s Board of Supervisors Tourism & Occupancy Tax Committee gave conceptual approval Tuesday to a three-year sponsorship of the event at a cost of $20,000 per year, which will come out of money raised through the county’s 4 percent rooms tax. It is the first time the county has used occupancy tax funds in a sponsorship capacity, but supporters argued the event could help the region attract more sporting events.

EVP holds events around the country, and is in the third year of doing a similar tournament in Plattsburgh that has been viewed as successful, Hanifin said.

Hanifin said organizers of the tour visited Lake George and were enthralled with the mountains surrounding the lake.

“They said they had never seen anything like it, it’ll be great on camera,” she said.

Lake Luzerne Supervisor Gene Merlino, chairman of the Tourism & Occupancy Tax Committee, said the event would come at a time of year when tourism leaders want to bring in more visitors and events.

The beach would remain open to the public, as the tournament would be played on courts set up on each side of the beach at the public swimming area.

County Tourism Director Joanne Conley said the television exposure and experience hosting a major sporting event could help bring in other events.

“We’ve got to keep things fresh and new. My gut tells me this is a big home run,” Queensbury at-Large Supervisor Doug Beaty said.

Some supervisors had concerns about committing before getting answers from the state Department of Environmental Conservation, which operates Million Dollar Beach, on a number of details. The DEC has agreed to allow the event, but there were questions about parking fees, banners and sponsorship possibilities.

“We have to have an absolutely clear path with the DEC before any money changes hands,” said Bolton Supervisor Ron Conover.

Queensbury Supervisor John Strough also questioned the $20,000 sponsorship tab, calling it “pricey.”

The county Board of Supervisors will consider formally endorsing the contract at its regular meeting Friday.

Don Lehman covers crime and Warren County government for The Post-Star. His work can be found on Twitter @PS_CrimeCourts and on poststar.com/app/blogs.

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The EVP Tour logo is seen. The organization is planning to bring a tournament to the shores of Lake George next June.

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