State athletic officials praise city after track championshipsPublished 7:02pm Tuesday, May 7, 2013
While the final figures may not be in yet, Selma city officials are expecting year two of hosting the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s Class 1A-3A state track championships went much better then year one.
Thousands of visitors converged in Selma Friday and Saturday, brining with them a wanted economic punch — one Selma is becoming very familiar with as tourism continues to be one of the leading economic sectors for the city.
“It was a fantastic weekend for Selma,” said Selma Mayor George Evans. “We were so blessed — blessed — with great weather for the events themselves. The rain we saw Friday afternoon and night made Saturday an even more beautiful day to be out at the stadium.”
According to Selma Parks and Recreation Director Elton Reece, roughly 5,000 fans, coaches and athletes were at Selma’s Memorial Stadium over the weekend, matching the total from the 2012 meet.
“Considering the rain that was forecasted to affect the meet, we are tremendously pleased with the turnout,” Reece said. “Everything went super. We couldn’t be happier.”
Reece said he received a call from the state tournament director Tuesday afternoon, informing Reece the facilities at Memorial Stadium received “glowing reports” from all of the district managers and team officials.
Sheryl Smedley, director of the Selma-Dallas County Chamber of Commerce, said she has heard traffic was up at many downtown merchants over the weekend, but was unsure if the meet brought increased sales to businesses.
“We had a few restaurants that we heard about that were caught off guard by the increase in visitors, but at this point that’s the only problem we heard of,” Smedley said, adding that most of the city’s hotels were filled to capacity.
Reece praised the volunteers at the weekend’s events, also complimenting the work of the Concordia College and Selma High School ROTC programs who helped coordinate parking around Memorial Stadium.
“They, along with the Selma Police Department, did a great job keeping what is always a hard job, very organized this weekend and we cannot thank them enough,” Reece said.
Now, Evans said, the city will have to wait for sales tax receipts to see what the true economic impact from such an event has on the city’s treasury.
“We will have to see what comes in. You know, with this and the success of the Battle of Selma — and all the other events we’ve seen this spring — we’ve really had some good momentum,” Evans said. “This really is among the busiest I have seen this city in years.”