September 18, 2012, Commentary By Mike Fak, Slideshow By James Grimaldi, I did a lot of posting on Sunday morning. There were slide shows and videos and news and there is no need to wait when your paper is online.
I then spent some time catching up on all the news that has happened around the world that I didn't have any time to pay attention to these past few months. Did you all know there were Summer Olympics this year?
Anyway it was about 9 am and I started getting a taste for some bacon and eggs and set out for my favorite breakfast spot. I could tell they were crowded by all the cars surrounding the eatery and as I looked through the window, I could see people waiting for tables. Not one to stand in a line, I went to favorite place number two: and then to number three. They too were full and as I debated getting a muffin sandwich on wheels I noticed that those eateries too had plenty of cars in their lots and long lines in their drive thru's.
For a moment, it didn't dawn on me that between the Railsplitting Festival and the first Route 66 Soccer Tournament we had a ton of folks in town spending their money at our stores and that was where all the people came from.
I went over to the soccer complex and saw rows of vehicles parked with many leaving and many coming in as the games continued. Five hundred players, twice as many parents plus siblings and grandparents plus friends: the dollar signs were everywhere.
And when I left, I saw that the Wal-Mart lot was more crowded than usual and I smiled for all the extra business that had been driven into our community this weekend.
I know sometimes all the extra traffic at an event can change how we get around town. All those people do prolong our "Rush Minute". But special events like these only happen X times a year and those X times add up to serious sales tax dollars that the city and county would not get otherwise.
This year I smiled too as I realized that all those people were paying a 1% sales tax for our schools that in turn would lower my property taxes and I almost felt like yelling, “Buy more folks” as I drove back home.
And so as Logan county winds down from what was an incredibly busy 6 weeks of events, the economic jury still is out on how much the fair and balloon fest and railsplitter and the new soccer tournament added to our economy. But whatever the numbers they will be more than we would have gotten if we all just sat back and waited for someone to drive through our county on the way to somewhere else.
And there is more to the numbers than just sales tax. How much did these events help area merchants? In many cases I was told that this has been an excellent summer, better than most.
So kudos to all the groups and individuals who have worked so hard to not only give us high-end entertainment but also helped give a great boost to our economy.