A Buffalo bank is donating $500,000 to help revive the Empire State Games this summer, after New York’s budget crisis forced the cancellation of the 2009 competition.
First Niagara Financial Group’s donation today brings the state halfway to a $1 million private fundraising goal announced by the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation in September. The fundraising is part of a four-point plan to stabilize the games’ finances without relying so much on tax dollars.
The 2010 summer games will be in Buffalo in July and the region expects they will mean $15 million for the local economy. About 6,000 amateur athletes are expected to participate.
Gov. David Paterson is praising First Niagara for stepping up in difficult economic times.