Tourism

city ​​takes first steps in sports tourism | Local news

Roswell does not have facilities for major sporting events such as communities in the region, but it now has a five-year plan to attract smaller regional events.

The five-year plan and inventory of the city’s sports facilities were discussed Wednesday at the Roswell City Council’s General Services Committee. The plan was presented for information only and no action was taken.

According to Juanita Jennings, director of communications, sports tourism is any sport-related event that brings people to a city for an overnight stay.

Last year, the city added a sports tourism sales manager to the public relations staff. Shawn Lewis stepped down from that position this week to take a full-time job, Jennings said, but he did a lot of prep work in the months he was here, she said.

The city is looking to fill the vacancy.

Having this position could help the flag football tournament grow to the size of Hike It and Spike It, a tournament that has been held in Roswell for 24 years. At the beginning of June, a new flag football tournament Revive Roswell was played in the Cielo Grande recreation area, in which more than 70 teams took part.

“We never had a dedicated person who was going to carry it out. The beauty of the opportunity that we have now is that there is someone who plays sports,” she said.

In October, organizers Hike It and Spike It announced they were disbanding the event after having to cancel it for two years during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In its last tournament in 2019, Hike It and Spike It featured 471 teams and over 3,300 players. It is estimated to have had a direct economic impact of $3.29 million and an indirect impact on Roswell of $12.1 million, and raised thousands of dollars for local charities.

In general, however, the city’s plan is to advertise itself for smaller regional sporting events, Jennings said. This is due to the available facilities and their conditions.

Lewis and recreation director Alex Diaz took inventory of the city’s facilities and found that while Roswell’s location as a tourist hub for the region and its weather make it a good tournament venue, it lacks the number of fields, staff, and modern infrastructure for big events.

“In fact, we are in the regional market of sports tourism. Hosting any national tournament is probably unrealistic. What is there is regional, that is, smaller, maybe state, depending on the sport,” she said.

After taking inventory, Diaz and Jennings said they asked local leagues and associations to come up with a “wish list” to upgrade the facilities they use. They are part of a five-year infrastructure plan for the pitches and include features such as the netting for Randy Willis Stadium and Joe Bauman Stadium, new stands for Midday Optimist’s Minor League field, new lights for Stiles Field…

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