Scottsboro and Jackson County offer great opportunities for tourism and recreation. Not only are the opportunities valuable to the residents, it also offers a stream of revenue for businesses and taxes.

On June 21-24, Scottsboro will host the 2019 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Elite Series tournament. The tournament will be held at Goose Pond Colony. Approximately 80 anglers will be competing for $100,000.

At a recent Scottsboro City Council work session, a request was made for $15,000 from the city’s tourism fund. The fund was established to assist community events with a focus on recruiting visitors to Scottsboro.

As part of the four-day event, Scottsboro will be promoting a festival at Goose Pond. The festival will include arts and crafts vendors, food vendors and a free concert. There will also be a kid’s area with inflatables.

The tournament weigh-ins will be streamed live, while the overall tournament will be filmed and aired on ESPN2 several weeks after the event. Goose Pond and Scottsboro will be cast in a positive light to homes across the country.

Having been involved with various festivals, events and organizations over the last 20 years, I’m well aware of the efforts it takes to promote and host such an event. I’m also aware of the potential increase in revenue the city can see from events like the one at Goose Pond later this month.

I have seen projections and worksheets on a variety of festivals and events held in Scottsboro, showing the potential income an event will bring to the city. Most city officials only view the tax benefit. While that is an important revenue source for the city, one of the most often overlooked benefits is the direct income potential for businesses.

It is great to see the revenue from taxes at a gas station, restaurant, retail store or hotel. It is even greater when the owners of those same businesses are able to make payroll to keep their staff employed and to cover monthly expenses. Hosting one event could prevent a hotel staff member from being laid off, or a server at a restaurant from not being able to make rent.

Many businesses in our city and community face hardships on a regular basis. I’m not suggesting one event can reduce those hardships, however, by utilizing the backbone of what we have in Scottsboro and Jackson County to grow a source of potential revenue would certainly help alleviate the burden.

Some may view the investment of $15,000 by the city’s tourism fund as a waste of money. I view it as a strong and wise decision. Unfortunately, Scottsboro and Jackson County are not going to have an industry boom overnight. I’m confident city and county leaders are working toward recruiting industry to the area, however, that is a long-term solution.

In the interim, let’s consider the potential for tourism and recreation revenue we have resting in our hands. Take advantage of every opportunity to improve and utilize our parks, lakes, mountains and recreational facilities. While our city and county leaders are doing their part, let’s also do our part as citizens to support these events. We should all be proud of our home and the hard work our neighbors invest. That pride is seen by visitors, encouraging them to visit more often and ideally, spend more money!

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