Dougherty County Commissioner John Hayes seems to believe that the Albany State University homecoming is under appreciated in regard to it’s economic impact to the community. In a recent Albany Herald column, Hayes apparently claimed (it’s unclear who actually made the claim) that ASU Homecoming “easily tops other annual events”.
That’s all great…you know, except that it’s not true.
SWGAPolitics.com reader Russ did some leg work and forwarded this list of events and the money they generate for the city.
* Exchange Club Fair $5,000,000
* Albany State University Homecoming $3,000,000
* United Kennel Club Winter Classic $1,798,500
* Mardi Gras Street Festival $1,250,000
* Flint River Fall Finale Soccer Tournament $437,528
* Quail Unlimited Chevrolet Celebrity Quail Hunt $309,032
* SNICKERS® MARATHON® Energy Bar Marathon & Half Marathon $305,208
* Regions Bike Race Weekend $194,544
* International Festival $100,000
* Georgia Tandem Rally $58,860
* SIAC Men’s Golf Championship $43,909
* Pecan City Pedaler Nut Roll Bike Ride $31,800
* Cinco De Mayo $17,476
* GCCMA Fall Conference $16,786
Now, Homecoming is a big event, there’s no doubt. And It’s a hell of an economic impact for the region. However, some other comments Hayes made is pretty unusual. For example, from the Herald article:
“Think about all the full hotel rooms and restaurants this past weekend,” Hayes said. “This weekend helps keep people in jobs and fosters a serious community spirit that I feel goes largely unappreciated.”
Full hotels and restaurants are awesome. It’s just a #@** shame that it’s only once a year, isn’t it? It’s also worth noting that a great weekend in the restaurant and hotel business doesn’t keep jobs. If there’s not enough work for those jobs the other 51 weekends during the year, someone’s going to be laid off.
Businesses aren’t charity cases. They don’t keep people on just because they can afford it. They keep people on because they receive value for their efforts. And that’s not just the hotel and restaurant industries either. It’s just a fact of life.
Now, the economic impact needs to be looked at in the right way. Roughly $3 million is a nice boost. While it won’t keep those jobs necessarily, it will spread out through a market economy to keep some folks employed. It is a good thing. However, $3 million isn’t enough of a boost to really fix the problems in this town.
Hayes is upset that ASU Homecoming is under appreciated. Personally, I’m upset that events like the Snicker’s Marathon and the Exchange Club Fair are under appreciated by him. I’m upset that there’s little effort to show real appreciation to Quail Unlimited’s annual hunt and it’s economic impact.
Let’s face it. No one event makes enough of an impact to be elevated to economic savior. But enough $3 million and $5 million events and we just might have something finally.
Full disclosure: My father is a member of the Exchange Club.
Written by Tom Knighton. Read his blog at SWGA Politics.com. A lifelong political junkie, Tom started out his adult life as a journalism major at Darton College before leaving school to serve his nation as a U.S. Navy Corpsman. Through the years, he has watched government from outside and inside. A former Reagan supporter, then later a Democrat, Tom now finds himself quite comfortable as a card carrying Libertarian and all around smart-elec.