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Officials fine with Triathlon moving to Williams Bay



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January 26, 2011 | 08:48 AM
Fontana — Sometimes, traditions come to an end.

After more than 20 years of hosting the Lake Geneva Triathlon in Fontana, it appears the group will move the event to nearby Williams Bay.

On Friday, Fontana Village President Arvid "Pete" Petersen said, "That's terrific."

A couple of weeks ago, he said he would like to keep the event in the village.

Now that the event is gone, Petersen said he won't lose sleep over the change.

"In general, we are happy," Petersen said. "The Public Works Department is rejoicing."

Petersen said the triathlon creates a large work burden for village employees.

He also said the village still will experience the economic stimulus the triathlon brings.

"The Abbey won't sell any more or less rooms if its here or anywhere else on the lake," Petersen said.

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Trustee Patrick Kenny, who participated in the triathlon in the past, said he is disappointed the event is moving, but is "happy it is still going to happen in the area."

With little discussion, the Williams Bay Village Board approved a contract Jan. 17 with Frank Dobbs and Lake Geneva Sports LLC to have the Sept. 10 Lake Geneva Triathlon hosted at Edgewater Park, Williams Bay.

Last week, Williams Bay Village Administrator Bob Carlson said he was waiting for Dobbs to sign the contract.

A major part of the agreement is the event organizers have $5 million in insurance and it includes a hold harmless clause for the village in case of accidents.

Petersen said the village of Fontana never had a contract with Lake Geneva Sports and planned on requiring one if the event stayed in the community.

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Dobbs gave two reasons for wanting to move the extreme race to Williams Bay.

First, he said, Stateline Road, which is a part of the bike course out of Fontana, is in terrible shape, and he doesn't want to send bicyclists down that road again until it's repaired.

Kenny agreed and said Stateline Road "was the worse."

Second, Dobbs said he wasn't happy with Fontana, which billed his company $12,000 for village services in the 2010 triathlon. Dobbs said that charge seemed excessive.

Kenny also said the change in location likely won't affect how many people participate in the race.

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"From a participants point of view it will be fine," Kenny said.

Dobbs told the Williams Bay Village Board he received commitments for parking from the Williams Bay High School, Lions Field House, Gage Marine and Calvary Church. Participants and spectators will be bused to the triathlon site.

Dobbs also promised triathlon workers would pick up every bit of litter from the event.

The Williams Bay Business Association supported Dobbs' request, and the police and fire chiefs said they believed their departments could handle the safety and security for the race.

The triathlon also has private security, which is headed by Chris Severt, the Walworth police chief.

Although not a charitable event, Dobbs said the triathlon spreads about $20,000 through a number of organizations in the Geneva Lake area.

At the website lakegenevasports.com., the following were listed as recipients of donations from Lake Geneva Sports, LLC: Big Foot High School, Elkhorn Boy Scouts, Fontana Community Church, Fontana Dive Team, Geneva Lakes YMCA, Lake Geneva Water Safety Patrol, Linn 4-H, Linn Rescue Dive Team, Sharon Fire and Rescue, SMILES, St. Benedict Catholic Church of Fontana, St. Francis de Sales School of Lake Geneva, Walworth Fontana Rotary, Walworth Immanuel United Church, Williams Bay Dive Team, and the Williams Bay High School Athletic Boosters.

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