The following has been released to Q93 from
the City of Alexandria:
Alexandria, La. (Jan. 26, 2021) — At its regular meeting Tuesday night, the Alexandria City Council approved awarding of a construction contract for the work needed to repair the eight baseball/softball fields at the Johnny Downs Sports Complex. The fields were heavily damaged by a tornado in December of 2019.
“This is a significant step in rebuilding the complex, and it keeps us within our timeline to have the fields ready for play to host the upcoming Dixie Softball World Series at the end of July,” explained Alexandria Mayor Jeffrey W. Hall. “Getting the Johnny Downs Sports Complex repaired is critical to the city. Not just to the local youth who will get to play on the fields and get all of the benefits that come from youth sports programs, but also to the local economy. Johnny Downs has an established reputation as a tournament host, attracting thousands of people to Alexandria each year. And while they are here, they stay in hotels, eat at local restaurants, buy gas and other items from local retailers. It adds up to millions of dollars in revenue annually for our city as well as jobs for our residents. Maintaining a competitive sports complex is an important piece of our overall economic development efforts, right along with reducing blight, providing training programs for local businesses and upgrades to our infrastructure. It all works together to create jobs, increase local revenues and benefit all of our residents.”
The Alexandria-Pineville Convention and Visitor’s Bureau describes sporting events as a high economic impact category that can have direct and immediate results on the local economy. Based on its research, the CVB estimates an average family visiting Alexandria for a two-day softball tournament will spend $550. Looking at figures from the most recent full season tournaments were played at the Johnny Downs facility, including USSSA travel ball tournaments, LHSAA high school softball games and Dixie Boys and Dixie Girls baseball and softball tournaments, sporting events at the facility generated an estimated $2,918,300 in economic impact for Alexandria with 33,000 visitors and 9,205 hotel room stays.
Looking ahead to the Dixie Softball World Series, a six-day tournament with participating teams from across the Southeast coming to Alexandria in late July, the CVB projects more than $1 million in economic benefit to Alexandria. That estimate is based on a projected 1,200 overnight guests and 500 attendees who come just for a single day. The bulk of the benefit is expected to come in food and beverage sales, with an estimated $362,974 in revenue to local businesses.
“This is significant revenue that benefits our local business community,” Hall said. “By adding artificial turf to the infields, we expect to be able to attract even more tournaments, and in turn generate increased revenues. That’s why you are seeing so many other communities – Ruston, Natchitoches, Pineville – investing in artificial turf fields. They understand the economic benefits. Our central location, as well as our reputation as a host city, gives us an advantage. But we must continue to invest in our facilities as part of our overall economic development efforts to maintain these financial benefits for our residents.”