Thursday, August 13, 2009

Ingalls Harbor a boon thanks largley to Parks

EDITORIAL from The Decatur Daily

City leaders made the right move when they unveiled a new plaque at Ingalls Harbor on Tuesday naming the boat launch for David Parks.

Tourism leaders credit Parks as the “driving force” to create a first-class boat launch capable of serving major fishing tournaments. It instantly earned an outstanding reputation.

Fishing tournament organizers say Ingalls is second to none, and they’ve backed their words by scheduling more tournaments here. The Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau reports Ingalls generated a $3.9 million economic impact in less than two years since it opened.

Parks humbly said a team effort made Ingalls possible, and that’s true. Local hotels in particular deserve thanks for imposing a $2-per-night fee on themselves. This spared local residents from the tax burden of generating revenue to pay for projects like Ingalls.

But history shows great endeavors often succeed because one individual shows dogged determination to carry a project from conception to completion. Parks was that man for Ingalls.

Parks did everything from carrying civic leaders in his boat to scout locations to helping architects design Ingalls. When the city rejected early site suggestions — including one at Point Mallard — Parks never lost heart and continued searching for a suitable site.

Today, Decatur can boast of a facility that gives local boaters free access to the Tennessee River, puts out-of-town dollars into the local economy and provides the annual Riverfest with an ideal location to grow.

Well done, Mr. Parks.

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