Cyclists spend big in city

Published 9:15 pm Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cycle North Carolina’s three-day 2012 Spring Ride participants contributed a measurable $150,084 to the local economy during April 13-15, according to a survey.
The amount is a conservative figure, said Lynn Lewis, the city’s tourism-development director, and does not include extra members of participants’ families who did not cycle during that weekend.
“The number is a conservative number, but we know for sure that we can back this number up,” Lewis said.
The written report carried this disclaimer: “This estimate is that of direct spending, meaning spending done between an event participant and local retailer. This does not include expenses borne by the event coordinator on catering, supplies, gas, etc.”
Lewis, in her presentation to the City Council on Monday, noted the city spent $2,500 to help bring the event to the city. Lewis also noted this year’s Spring Ride set a record for participants, with 1,137 people taking part. Of that number, 51 percent were first-time visitors to Washington, she said.
“What a great opportunity to expose our community to people that wouldn’t have been here otherwise. So, that was a great opportunity to show it off. I think it supports the claim that endurance sports (are growing in popularity) — we’ve seen growth in areas like triathlons and cycling events and 5Ks and 10Ks. I think you’re going to see continued growth in those areas because of the impact they have on the community,” Lewis said.
“The survey respondents (15 percent of the event participants) had an opportunity to list where they dined. I believe that just about every restaurant in Washington was listed. Dairy Palace, Bill’s Hot Dogs, Pia’s, Down on Main(street) — they were all on the list. I think all of our restaurants in the community saw an impact from visitation for the weekend.”
Lewis said businesses other than restaurants benefited from the three-day event.
“At least four downtown business have indicated to me that was their best weekend on record. So, that bodes well for this type of event and type of participants who came,” Lewis said.
Lewis provided the council members copies of comments made by survey respondents. Those comments include “the good and the bad.” Many comments touched upon the friendliness of area residents and business owners, the beauty of the river and surrounding environs and activities (such as Music in the Streets) not associated with the Spring Ride. Others said the waterfront camping area needed better security, lamented the lack of good crab cakes and expressed the desire for more and easier access to “morning coffee.”
No council members had questions for Lewis or offered comments on the survey’s findings.
For additional coverage of the council’s meeting, including details on building bathrooms and a dock master’s station on the west end of Stewart Parkway, see future editions of the Washington Daily News.


About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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