April 15, 2016
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Opening Weekend at Watkins Glen International

Governor Cuomo Announces Opening Weekend at Watkins Glen International

$2.25 Million REDC Grant Supported Critical Track and Safety Upgrades Track Offering Season-Long Admission Discount For Veterans

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the start of the racing season at Watkins Glen International and encouraged all New Yorkers, as well as out-of-state travelers, to visit the track.

During the off-season, Watkins Glen International completed an array of critical track and safety upgrades thanks to a $2.25 million grant through Round IV of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative.

Opening weekend at Watkins Glen International kicks-off at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, April 16. Tickets are available for riders 18 and older with a valid driver’s license to test drive the newly paved course. Additionally, veterans will be offered a season-long admission discount.

"Today we celebrate opening weekend at one of New York State's prized tourism attractions," said Governor Cuomo. "Each year, the Glen's world-class racing events attract hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Southern Tier and generates hundreds of millions of dollars in the regional economy. As we kick-off the 2016 racing season, I encourage New Yorkers and visitors alike to not only consider taking in a race this summer, but also use it as an opportunity enjoy all the Southern Tier has to offer."

Watkins Glen International attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors, both from in and out-of-state, to the Southern Tier region making New York State a prime destination for travel and for business. Watkins Glen International is an anchor attraction with over 830,000 visitors and more than $200 million in economic impact each year.

The Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council selected Watkins Glen International as a priority project in Round IV, as it aligns with "Southern Tier Soaring" the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The $2.25 million state grant supported paving and track upgrades necessary for addressing critical safety deficiencies prior to the start of the 2016 season. The project utilized $3.3 million of local materials to replace existing track and complete upgrades to portions of the aprons, runoffs, and pit roads.

Watkins Glen International President Michael Printup said, "On behalf of the entire Watkins Glen International team, we are honored to have Governor Cuomo join us in the culmination of our modernization project. The investments that the State of New York and International Speedway Corporation have made in this facility stabilize our position as a tourism and economic engine in the Southern Tier region. Thousands of race fans, from across the country, will look to Watkins Glen International as a destination that keeps them returning to our wonderful state year after year. We’re looking forward to a great season at The Glen."

Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger, and Corning Enterprises President Tom Tranter said, "Venues like Watkins Glen International make our jobs of promoting the Southern Tier so much easier. It's a beautiful and exciting destination that draws hundreds of thousands of people to our area every year. The state's continued support of this race track through the REDC process is an excellent investment that continues to pay many dividends."

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "We are proud that Watkins Glen International calls New York State home, attracting world-class racing and visitors from around the world to the Southern Tier. The Glen supports nearly 2,000 employees and the region’s growing tourism industry, which are essential to growing the region’s quality of life and capacity for innovation – a key pillar of the $500 million plan to ensure the Southern Tier is soaring."

Veteran's Discount at Watkins Glen International
To honor the brave men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, Watkins Glen International is offering a season-long discount for veterans. Veterans will receive discounts for NASCAR admission tickets, as well as a free fan walk, which gives participants an up-close experience to walk on the pit road prior to the race. In addition, veterans will receive free admission as well as a companion ticket for all International Motor Sports Association races taking place in June.

New York State Division of Veteran's Affairs Director Colonel Eric Hesse said, "Governor Cuomo’s initiative to offer Veterans a discount to the upcoming season at Watkins Glen provides another great opportunity for the Veterans of New York State. There has always been a strong bond between Veterans and the NASCAR community and this will bring more exposure to our great Veterans. Watkins Glen is a great venue to see many different forms of motorsports and we look forward to our Veterans being in attendance."

Senator Tom O'Mara said, "We're lucky to call Watkins Glen International one of our own here in the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions, and we couldn't be more excited for the start of the new season and to showcase the new track. We take great pride in one of the world's iconic sporting venues and the fact that 'The Glen' has resonated so powerfully throughout the history of American motorsports for more than six decades. Watkins Glen International is one of New York State's premier destinations, a backbone of our leading tourism industry, and a driving force for countless charitable, community service and economic development initiatives, including the dedication of a particularly special commitment to our veterans."

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano said, "It's a great privilege to join Governor Cuomo, my legislative colleagues, Watkins Glen International, and the professional drivers and fans who make this sport go. It's exciting to welcome a new season at The Glen and to finally show off the new track surface that's the product of a lot of hard work and commitment by everyone at WGI. It's one of New York's great attractions and an absolute cornerstone of the statewide and regional economies."

Schulyer County Legislature Chairman Dennis Fagan, "Thank you Governor Cuomo for supporting Watkins Glen International, a major economic engine for our region. With the state’s support, WGI will continue bringing visitors to the area where they can visit local businesses and restaurants, and enjoy an exciting day at the track. We look forward to another great year."

Watkins Glen Mayor Samuel Schimizzi said, "We are excited to kick off opening weekend at Watkins Glen International and celebrate the new track with the community, visitors and race fans. We thank Governor Cuomo for his commitment to Watkins Glen and for investing in the safety of our racers. We look forward to another successful season at The Glen and encourage everyone to visit, spend time here and enjoy the races!"

Accelerating Southern Tier Soaring
Today's announcement complements "Southern Tier Soaring" the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $3.1 billion in the region since 2012 to lay for groundwork for the plan – attracting a talented workforce, growing business and driving innovation. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Binghamton, Johnson City and Corning as a destination in which to grow and invest.

Now, the region is accelerating Southern Tier Soaring with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 10,200 new jobs. More information is available here.​

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