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Waddington holds off on approving hydroplane races

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WADDINGTON – Waddington will wait another week before approving a contract with American-Canadian Hydroplane Association to hold hydroplane boat races along Whittaker and Island View parks.

The races in Waddington are slated for June 14 and 15. If the races are well-attended, ACHA plans to make Waddington a permanent stop on its racing circuit, which also includes stops in: Cornwall, Ont.; Brockville, Ontario; Valleyfield, Que.; St. Felicien, Que.; Buffalo; Boston.; and Beauharnais, Que.

The cost to Waddington to host the event would be $82,500, promoters said in January. The money will pay for the races itself, prize money for the four races, tow money for 60 to 70 boats, officiating, race insurance and Grand Prix rights.

ACHA members said the organization could cover up to half the cost of the event for the first year, and a portion of that amount thereafter for up to 5 years.

Joseph Sovie, who organized the races for seven years until 2007, said the event was well-attended in Ogdensburg.

He suggested that the board charge for camping, parking and admission. He said selling programs with local advertisements also paid for the cost of the event.

“We made about $15,000 for the programs,” Mr. Sovie said. “By the time we turned the key in the gate Friday morning, we had it all paid for. Generally, races made about $9,000 in revenue each year. Each year the money was used to help pay for next year’s races.”

Waddington will also be able garner sponsorships and charge admission to the event. Officials anticipate tickets will range from $10 to $20.

“You want to keep the cost low enough to get everyone to come in, but you can’t have it free,” Mr. Sovie said. “We tried that and everyone dropped their kids off and there were people you didn’t want there. You were stuck babysitting and picking up after the general public.”

But the biggest challenge was getting people to pay for tickets.

“Many people would watch the races and invite friends and family to watch it from their home,” he said.

The board said it would consider trailers and fencing along the river, which is predominately New York Power Authority-owned land.

But board members held off on approving the races until they see a contract.

“If we decide we are going to do it, then we can go about deciding what we will need to do it, but I would like to see a contract before we vote on it,” board member William Shoen said.

The village will hold a special meeting at 6 p.m. Feb. 17 in the municipal building to review the contract before deciding whether to approve it.

“They want our decision by mid-February,” Mrs. Otto-Cassada said. “Either way we go, we need to move on this.”

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