One of summer's most enjoyable events is about to begin. The Girls State Softball Tournament, which starts Monday, will be the highlight of the season for the 32 teams that made it to state-level competition. All the teams are outstanding. Making it to this final event of the season means that none will have any reason for more than a brief lament, no matter what their final standing. Making it to state is itself an accomplishment that marks a season as one to remember with pride.
This event has become a major feature of the summer sports season in our town. Fort Dodge has been the host city for this competition for four decades.
The marvelous Harlan and Hazel Rogers Sports Complex has been the selected venue for the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union softball finals for so long that it is hard to imagine any other location for this event.
We're pleased the IGHSAU leadership agrees that the superb facilities at Rogers and the other amenities Fort Dodge has to offer can't easily be topped. It is a source of pride that this community will host these tournaments through at least 2015.
It is also very good news for the economy of Fort Dodge and the surrounding towns.
The Fort Dodge Convention and Visitors Bureau, shared with The Messenger data regarding this tournament's financial impact on the local economy. The numbers are impressive.
Over the tournament's five days, approximately 25,000 people will visit Fort Dodge.
This will have $1.3 million in direct financial impact- the money spent by these visitors.
There is also $4 million in indirect stimulation to the local economy. The money visitors will spend here will help pay salaries and generate profits for businesses. Much of the money that goes out in payrolls and is earned by businesses as profit is plowed back into the local economy.
It's not hard to see evidence of the direct spending.
Hotel rooms will be filled this week not only in Fort Dodge, but also in nearby towns. During the course of the tournament, The CVB estimates that about 3,000 hotel room nights will be consumed by the fans and others the event will bring here. Additionally, the majority of the teams will be housed at Iowa Central Community College.
Anyone who visits a restaurant this week will learn firsthand that local eateries benefit greatly from this event.
The money spent in stores, gas stations, convenience stores and the assorted other places where visitors shop helps strengthen these local businesses.
When local businesses do well, so do we all.
The investment this community made in the Rogers Sports Complex is an excellent example of creative planning. When communities invest in carefully crafted infrastructure projects, they set the stage for future economic growth.
This will be a great week for fans of girls softball.
It will also be a wonderful demonstration that Fort Dodge is not only open for business, but also knows how to compete in that world like a champion.
The Messenger welcomes the competitors and their supporters to Fort Dodge.
Fort Dodgers are excited to have the teams and their fans as a part of our community for a few days. Win or lose, this will be a week filled with outstanding softball that will generate both great fun and treasured memories.