One comment in particular from Mark Stober of Huntington, IN was particularly insightful. Here is what he had to say.
“It's possible to explore this niche without making a big investment in facilities, if our experience in Huntington, Ind. is any indication. At an old stone quarry we have small hydroplane races and a distance swim. A 2-day bicycle race goes along county roads. Our nearby reservoir, which has a mountain bike trail surrounding it, hosts various foot and bike races. We had the state wrestling tournament in the high school, which filled the hotels for miles around. The only new facility is a baseball complex which is attracting tournament interest. All of these attract visitors. So for some communities, maybe it's a matter of being creative with existing resources.”
These type of facilities and the resulting level of interest that they generate locally and regionally are not only very important for the generation of tourist dollars into the community, but also to making a locale more enticing for people and businesses to locate in them. With our society becoming more mobile and people being able to “vote with their feet” in deciding where to live and operate, I’m seeing the importance of these quality of life facilities becoming beacons for recruitment.
Let me know what you are doing to make your town one of these beacons.