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Carrying the torch

Special Olympics athlete ambassador Tommy Mooney carries the Special Olympics torch as plungers line up with their teams last November for the Lake George Polar Plunge at Shepard Park Beach. The Special Olympics is one of many possible sports tournaments officials hope to bring to Warren County.

The city of Glens Falls is joining in a Lake George Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau initiative to recruit youth and amateur sports tournaments.

“Parents and their kids travel,” said Amy Collins, the city’s director of business and tourism. “They call them ‘sportscations’ because they have to travel to see the kids compete.”

The bureau will hold a meeting this week to discuss the potential of forming a Lake George Region Sports Alliance, said Kristen Hanifin, director of special events for the visitors bureau, which is spearheading the alliance, a collaborative effort of tourism, government and sports facility officials.

“We want to bring these important folks together to talk about how we can work together to see if we can support these important initiatives ... to really raise the visibility and our tourism efforts for Warren County as a whole,” Hanifin said.

“Youth sports are growing by leaps and bounds, and we are a great family-friendly destination,” she said. “We’ll be getting these folks together and talk about spearheading some big initiatives going in to 2017 and beyond.”

She said it is premature to discuss specific events, but several new sports tourism events are already in the works, and at least one is expected to be announced in a few weeks.

Collins said she will ask the alliance to work with the city on a bid to host the New York Special Olympics State Winter Games, and to work with Glens Falls Dragons owner Ben Bernard on a bid to host the United States College Athletic Association Small College World Series girl’s softball tournament at East Field in 2019.

Collins said the emphasis is on all of Warren County, not just Glens Falls.

“We’re really looking at a comprehensive initiative and regional,” she said.

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Follow staff writer Maury Thompson at All Politics is Local blog, at PS_Politics on Twitter and at Maury Thompson Post-Star on Facebook.

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