By JOE LoTEMPLIO
---- — PLATTSBURGH — As this year’s Mayor’s Cup Festival and Regatta fast approaches, organizers are using the event to spark interest in a community project.
Organizers are hoping construction on the universally accessible Max Moore Memorial Tree House on the Saranac River can begin this year. When complete, it will give people a new opportunity to enjoy nature.
“This is another way to have a recreation facility that is free and open to the public and for anyone to use,” project coordinator Ashley Cousens said.
The Mayor’s Cup kicks off Thursday, July 11, with the Boat Parade of Lights, held along the lakefront.
Events will take place on Lake Champlain and in the downtown area through Sunday, July 14.
The 36th-annual sailboat race, featuring boats from New York, Vermont and Quebec, will be held Saturday morning on July 13.
Proceeds from sales of Mayor’s Cup T-shirts this year will go toward the Tree House.
PERCHED ON RIVER
The Tree House will be built among three large poplar trees on the bank of the river on Pine Street, near the City Police Station, at the beginning of the Saranac River Trail. It will hang out slightly over the babbling water, providing an inspiring view.
The house will also include walkways from the road down the bank to the trees and will have a gazebo-type structure at the base.
The project honors Max Moore, an 8-year-old boy who loved the outdoors and died in 2009.
The cost of the structure is expected to be between $60,000 and $100,000. It is being built by the Tree House Guys, a company based in Vermont.
So far, Cousens and others have raised about $15,000 toward the cost and are looking for more.
The Sunrise Rotary Club, the main sponsor of the Mayor’s Cup, is doing its best to promote interest in the Tree House this year.
“There are a lot of events around the city, and this is one that is very important, and we are talking it up as much as we can,” Mayor’s Cup Co-chair Gail Recore said.
USING OUR ASSETS
Mayor Donald Kasprzak said highlighting the waterside project will serve an important purpose.
“The river has forever been an asset in this community that has not always been fully taken advantage of over the years,” he said.
“Together with the tourism we have, the River Trail and downtown, the river is an asset that we really need to build on, and this will help do that.”
One of the highlights of the festival this year will be the return of the Mayor’s Cup Idol singing competition.
Auditions will be held on July 4, with the semi-finals on July 12 and the finals July 13.
Aaron Tourville of radio station Eagle Country 97.5, which is hosting the competition, said they expect to have a large field of competitors.
“And good ones, too,” he said.
SPIRIT OF IANELLI
Mayor’s Cup organizers are also looking for nominations for this year’s Spirit of Ianelli Award. The award goes to a person who has given much to the community.
It is named after former Mayor John Ianelli, who was in office when the Mayor’s Cup began in 1977.
The award was established in 2010 and first won by Bob Pooler. Matt Spiegel won in 2011, and Roger Harwood was honored last year.
Email Joe LoTemplio:firstname.lastname@example.org
MAYOR'S CUP INFO
Learn more about the Mayor's Cup Regatta and Festival, the Max Moore Memorial Tree House project and order the 2013 Mayor's Cup T-shirt at mayorscup.com. Mayor's Cup Idol details, including how to register for the singing contest, can be found there, too.
Nominations for the Spirit of Ianelli Award can be forwarded to email@example.com by July 4.
To make a tax-deductible donation to the Tree House project, make checks out to Sunrise Rotary, write "treehouse" on the memo line and mail it to United Way of the Adirondack Region, 45 Tom Miller Road, Plattsburgh NY 12901.