Lacey slow in promoting new Regional Athletic Complex

June 17th, 2009 by Ken

That’s the assessment of Mike Dexter, director of the Thurston County Visitor and Convention Bureau (VCB).  Dexter told the business and economic development committee of the Lacey Chamber of Commerce that promotion of a sports complex takes time.

“We need to start going after business, for the Regional Athletic Complex (RAC) now,” he said.  “We can’t wait for the customers to come.  It takes two to three years to generate business for a new sports complex.”

The City of Lacey was mum was Dexter’s comments but pointed out that the facility was busy.   “Those are all local people,” Dexter said.   “That’s what parks directors are oriented towards.

“We need to start cultivating our relationships with the various out-of-town sports groups such as softball and soccer, as well as baseball,” he said.  “The VCB is in the position of being able to consummate the deal with the sports teams.”

Dexter, while not criticizing Lacey officials, did say that he was surprised the city hadn’t worked more closely with the VCB in promoting the RAC.

Dexter also addressed the issue of Cabelas, and its impact on the local community.   Cabelas  reached its multi-million visitor mark in its first year, according to the Economic Development Council.

Dexter said he didn’t think Cabelas had much of an impact on the rest of the community.  “Their trip to Cabelas is a two-hour blip, then they’re back on the road to home or their next destination.”

He also said he hadn’t seen a lot of evidence of Cabelas involvement in the community.  “Maybe its because they’re trying to get this first year under their belt.  I anticipate that as time goes on, they’ll become more involved in the community.”

UPDATE – – The City of Lacey has hired Sue Falash who will work half time on recruitment and promotions of the RAC, and the other half time will be to work on site with organizations.

According to Lacey Assistant City Manager Scott Spence, new Lacey Parks Director Lori Flemm has been hired in her new position partly because she has experience  in the construction and operations of two athletic complexes.

In addition, the city is working with Skyhawk (the former Bucknell Park) to coordinate all activities.

“We’re devoting time and resources to the RAC,” Spence said.  “We have the people and the resources we need to make it successful.”

Posted in Business, Informational, The Real News

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