Cumberland Times-News

February 17, 2013

ICF to bring more money to Garrett than once thought

From Staff Reports
Cumberland Times-News

— MCHENRY — It is estimated that the September Deep Creek 2014: International Canoe Federation Canoe Slalom World Championships will provide a $20 million economic impact on Garrett County, according to a county commission news release.

Previously, Nicole Christian, president and CEO of the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce, estimated that the event would bring $10 million to $15 million to the county.

“The ICF World Championships represent much more than a simple competition. It is a gathering of nations from around the globe joining together in sport and camaraderie while establishing the legacy of this Olympic-style event,” states the news release.

At an annual prelegislative meeting in December, Christian requested legislation for a $1 million state bond bill to be used in connection with the event.

Sen. George Edwards and Delegate Wendell Beitzel are requesting  Senate Bill 423 and House Bill 611, which would authorize the creation of state debt not to exceed $450,000 and are requesting the state bond bill. The proceeds would be used as a grant to the county commissioners for the planning, design, construction, repair, renovation, reconstruction and capital equipping of Adventure Sports Center International. The project will also include upgrading telecommunications and building new and upgrading existing infrastructure and facilities.

These improvements are necessary to fulfill the requirements and obligations necessary to host the 2014 ICF Championship, states the bond bill fact sheet.  

Estimated capital costs of the project are about $2 million.

In addition to the project being funded with state bond money, $906,000 will come from an Appalachian Regional Commission grant, $250,000 from an ARC Area Development grant and $500,000 from an ARC Local Access Road Grant.

The ARC and AD grant will require a county match of $94,000 and $350,000, respectively, according to the bond bill fact sheet. The project construction is expected to be complete by May 2014.

It’s estimated that the event will bring more than 1,500 athletes and team support staff from about 50 countries. With 40,000 spectators expected, an additional 150,000 are estimated to attend related events. The ICF World Championships will tie in with the Star Spangled 200 celebrations, which will include a flag relay on water and land from Fort McHenry to the town of McHenry, according to the ASCI website. The relay will include a canoe paddle on the Potomac River and C&O Canal bringing the ICF flag and other historic flags to the opening ceremony in Garrett County on Sept. 16, 2014.

The ICF championships will mark the 25th anniversary of the 1989 Canoe Slalom World Championships held on Savage River in Garrett County, according to the ASCI website. The total economic impact of the 1989 World Championships was $10 million as reported by the Maryland Department of Economic and Employment Development.

In spring 2011, ASCI won the bid for the ICF Championships over Vienna, Austria, and Krakow, Poland. In March 2012, the county commission took ownership of ASCI.