By Paul Huggins, Staff Writer, The Decatur Daily
Decatur recreation and tourism officials in May warned that the city needs to enhance the Jack Allen Soccer Complex with a press box to lure future tournaments.
They now can couple that warning with a letter from the NAIA men’s soccer championship.
It would like to play in Decatur in 2010 and 2011, but not without a press box, said Tami Reist, president of the Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Decatur Parks and Recreation estimates the press box would cost $150,000.
The men’s championship should generate a $1 million economic impact for both years, Reist said, so it looks like the tournament would pay for the press box.
The city has plans to spend $250,000 for parking/drainage enhancements at Ingalls Harbor this year.
Press box or parking?
That money would come from revenues generated by hotels’ $2-per-night room occupancy tax.
Some bureau board members said the press box should take priority over parking at Ingalls.
They noted the city wouldn’t need the press box in place until November 2010.
Reist said the NAIA needs confirmation by Aug. 3 that the city will commit to building a press box.