Ironman cancellation sparks anti-mayor sentiment

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Someone is not happy the full Ironman won’t be taking place in Coeur d’Alene again after this year.

“Dump the mayor, not the Ironman” is the message that was blasting Thursday from the large readerboard at the entrance to Riverstone along Seltice Way.

The Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commmerce announced earlier this week that the new contract between the chamber and World Triathlon Corp., the owner of the Ironman brand, does not include the 140.6-mile triathlon that has been held in Coeur d’Alene each year since 2003. The 70.3-mile half-Ironman, scheduled to take place again June 25, will continue in the Lake City for the next three years.

“The decision regarding the Ironman full race was outside the control of the Mayor’s office,” wrote Coeur d’Alene Mayor Steve Widmyer, on his Facebook page. “The person who controls the advertising on this board in Riverstone has had immense differences of opinion with my leadership. He’s entitled to his opinion but I wonder if it reflects the sentiments of our community or just his own?”

John Stone, the developer of Riverstone, went before the Coeur d’Alene City Council last week, before the announcement was made, and told them he was concerned about the potential cancellation of the full Ironman event.

“It would be a shame to terminate this arrangement without reconsideration in the community,” Stone said.

The local business community would take a hit if that happened, he said.

The Press left a message for Stone at his office, but the call was not immediately returned.

Widmyer said, on his Facebook page that as mayor, he always seeks solutions for Coeur d’Alene and the local economy.

“As a business owner, I can certainly understand that people are disappointed about this being the last year of the full Ironman. Ironman has been an economic engine but it’s also just plain fun to see our community support the efforts and athletes,” Widmyer wrote. “I hope a more positive approach to the issue can be advanced by working with the Chamber of Commerce and the Ironman coordinators to see what can be done. As your Mayor, I’ve truly appreciated representing our city and will continue to work to bring people together.”

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