The hotel industry is desperate.
Desperate to boost its floundering occupancy rates and desperate for the state to attract events that would bring large groups and organizations to the area and fill all the empty hotel rooms.
In their eagerness to improve their industry, a group of hotel, tourism and business folks have been visiting local municipalities pushing the idea of a regional sports complex to be built on county property in Frederica.

A $10,000 donation will help fund a $70,000 feasibility study proving that the area will benefit from an influx of visitors coming afar to watch sporting or other types of events, they contend.

Both Milford and Harrington were courted before Christmas and, while leaders of both cities seem to be supportive of the concept, neither committed to the $10,000 amount.
And it’s unlikely either will.

These are tough economic times for everyone, municipalities included. A $70,000 feasibility these days is too much money — not that it ever was affordable.

The big thing absent in all this is a commitment from a sports group to run the operation. The county’s not interested – they’re just donating the land. The industry group contends that they’ve been approached by other groups but nothing’s concrete.

Nothing sounds very likely no matter whether a $70,000 feasibility study is made or not.

Youth sports, no doubt, are a hot item. Parents will spend hours on the field to watch their little darlings play, and open up their wallets for hotels and food while they’re at it. It’s a big business.

But in order for it to work, the emphasis has to focus on creating a nice venue for these sports groups to want to play. Without it, the good sports teams are going somewhere else.

Our leaders should be seriously questioning why they need to spend $70,000 for a study that’s going to state the obvious.

What’s needed is a motivated outfit to run the show. It’ll be hard work to develop tournaments where out-of-state teams will want to play. There’s more to it than simply building a local site and expecting teams to come.

Support of the local programs is necessary and much still could be done at that level to bring  groups up to higher regional standards.

This is where money would be better spent.
Not on another feasibility.

Just look at what’s happened with a similar high-priced feasibility done recently. The same industry and economic types all backed a study to bring airline service to Dover Air Force Base – even though airlines have tried before and been unable to make it work.

So the check was cashed, the study completed and the air terminal is likely going to stay empty unless the same local governments come up with the $1 million annual subsidy the study said is needed to sustain a local airline service.

Money well spent? It’s doubtful.