County Staff Have More Pressing Needs At The Momement

Having a nationally televised Tour is a good thing for the Peek’n Peak Resort and the rest of Chautauqua County.

It makes little sense for county employees spending time lining up sponsors and organizing the tournament. The 2019 tournament is on schedule to take place from July 1-7 at the Findley Lake resort, but the time has long since come to re-evaluate the way the tournament is handled.

That work will begin soon, though the county’s hand was forced somewhat by the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, based in Erie, Pa., deciding not to renew its sponsorship following this year’s tournament. The Chautauqua Region Economic Development Corp., which oversees the event, is hoping to find a sponsor to come in for a five-year commitment. Mark Geise, county IDA director, said the PGA sets many of the stipulations, including the cost to be lead sponsor which is expected to be about $900,000 a year. The $900,000 a year cost to headline the tournament could be reduced to about half that if television coverage is dropped, Geise said.

An advisory board has been established to help take some of the administrative burden off the Chautauqua Region Economic Development Corp. and IDA. Groups such as VisitErie and the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau will assist on the advisory board. We hope private individuals interested in helping are invited to do so as well. County officials have more pressing items on their agenda than planning golf tournaments and bicycling events. One would think there are enough organizations involved in tourism that events like the Tour and the Gran Fondo bicycling race can be continued without the involvement of county staff.