ST. MARYS ‚?? When the Governor‚??s Cup Regatta on Grand Lake St. Marys was canceled a week ago, some local people said that was not an option.
Within a week, the Lake Improvement Association donated $20,000 and another $20,000 has been raised to make sure the boat races are a go for the weekend of Aug. 24 and 25.
‚??From a tourism standpoint, I‚??m on cloud nine,‚?Ě Donna Grube, the executive director for the Auglaize and Mercer counties Convention and Visitors‚?? Bureau said Friday.
Grube said the lake has bounced back from drought conditions last year and algae problems from a couple years ago.
People can swim in the lake and eat fish they catch. There still remains an advisory to not drink the water and swimmers are told to shower after swimming, Grube said.
Tim Lovett, the president of the association, said people in the area, like the lake, just keep finding a way to bounce back.
The boat races are an important event that can pump $2 million into the local economy. The races were canceled last year due to a drought that left the lake too low to hold races. In 2010, there was too much algae to hold the races.
‚??The lake has taken a significant hit in the last few years in terms of water quality,‚?Ě Lovett said. ‚??We have made some strides and obviously we have a ways to go. We will continue to work with that.‚?Ě
The struggles with the lake also have created struggles for area businesses that rely on the lake and its visitors. Many business have taken huge hits, Lovett said.
The boat race is expected to draw 50 to 78 boats to compete in seven classes. Boats compete in various heats of five laps each on a 1-mile oval course, said Scott Anderson, a co-organizer of the event.
Boats can reach speeds of 90 to 150 mph depending on the type, Anderson said.
Race organizer Myron Buxton said boat racers like to come to St. Marys and find the community friendly.
‚??This is a great lake, and we‚??re here to show it off,‚?Ě he said.
Governors Cup Regatta