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St. Lawrence County legislators contribute to Waddington for Bassmasters


CANTON — St. Lawrence County legislators have pledged $75,000 from state/tribal compact funds to Waddington to host the Bassmaster Elite Series because they see it as a tool to promote recreation, tourism and the reputation of the area as a fishing mecca.

“Clearly, this Bassmaster tournament will bring economic benefit to the entire county,” said Legislative Chairman Jonathan S. Putney, D-Waddington.

Thousands of people are expected to attend the event Aug. 8 to 11, including the participating anglers, their families, television crews, fans and Bassmaster Elite staff.

The village of Waddington has a host fee of $60,000 and had asked the county for assistance. Organizers, including staff from the county Chamber of Commerce and volunteers, are pulling together a series of events — including fireworks, activities for children, an antique car show, military appreciation day, fishing simulator and music — to make the tournament memorable.

Financing includes a $45,000 grant from the River Valley Redevelopment Agency, $10,000 from FISHCAP — a public/private partnership that promotes the county as a fishing destination — $12,000 in donated rooms, and assistance from business sponsors. Organizers estimate the tournament will cost $233,585.

The county first had considered a $15,000 contribution, which was bumped up to $60,000. Legislators held off making a commitment to see how much volunteers could raise, but were asked Monday to boot their funding up to $75,000 because of the cost of putting on the event and to help with the installation of utilities so similar tournaments can be held in the future.

Legislator Frederick S. Morrill, D-DeKalb Junction, suggested a $60,000 contribution, which could be raised later if necessary.

“I want to encourage fundraising activities of you folks and I think that would do that,” he said. “I want the village of Waddington to be comfortable, but I don’t want it to be easy.”

However, with the exception of Legislator Donald A. Peck, R-Gouverneur, other lawmakers decided in committee to approve the full request.

The state/tribal compact funds are intended for economic development.

“It’s not tax dollars,” Mr. Peck said.

The Chamber is talking to the county Industrial Development Agency about an impact study to gauge the effect the tournament will have on the area, Chamber Executive Director Patricia L. McKeown said.

“We must plan for the future,” she said. “We’re making an investment.”

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