Take an Active Role in Facilities Planning

So you wish your community had better facilities to offer when bidding for various events? How about joining forces with those working toward facilities upgrades?

No, I don’t mean stretching your already rubber band budget. I mean, using some old fashioned political-type endorsements to persuade those who can make a difference.

Here’s one example. A group called the Friends of the Greater York Recreational Complex (http://www.greateryorkcomplex.org) is working toward building this rec center for the community of York, Maine, just off I-95 at the southern tip of the state. According to the website, “The Friends of the GYRC are advocating for an affordable multi-generational center for health and wellness that would include a warm-water recreation pool and 6-8 lane competition lap pool, fitness center, aerobic studio, walking track, and multi-sport court gymnasium that would accommodate tennis, basketball, volleyball and community programs.”

The description continues: “The center will significantly impact the region’s economy and vital tourism business. The health and wellness of the community is at the heart of the organization’s mission.”

This apparently isn’t the first time a pool and/or pool complex has been proposed for the area. Again, from the website, voters earlier approved a pool project and skate rink but even after the project was approved, the funding wasn’t there to finish the jobs.

So, enter Kerry Hoey, the executive director of the Maine Sports Commission, who wrote a letter to the editor for SeacoastOnline.com, supporting the construction of a multi-use recreational center to the area. “I believe their (Friends of GYRC) proposed project goals are well-aligned with our mission to promote Maine as a four-season destination for sports events and sports-related meetings, and to increase the economic impact of the state by attracting and expanding sports related events.”

Hoey goes on to explain what this means to the sports travel industry: “We expect a new swimming competition complex to generate approximately $1 million in total economic impact within one year, based on average hotel rates in the area and out-of-state participation at other swimming competitions in the Northeast.”

Hoey’s endorsement also appears on the landing page of the group’s website, reinforcing the Maine Sports Commission’s support for the project. “Your facility will be one of the only true swimming competition venues in the state and will allow for the possibility of hosting numerous large-scale events,” Hoey writes on the website. “The ability to attract larger regional or national swimming competitions and events will be a great asset to my organization and will lead to a larger economic impact for the area and state as a whole.”

Obviously the Friends of GYRC think this endorsement is valuable in their quest to have this complex built. Don’t underestimate the power of what your endorsement can mean to similar sports projects and upgrades that may be in the planning stages in your area. When you mention what those improvements can mean in dollars and cents, suddenly important ears start listening.

Greater York Rec Complex 1 Greater York Rec Complex 2

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