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Olympic venue has had $6.2M impact so far in fiscal 2015
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Oklahoma men’s rowing members Scott Alder, Luke Reynolds, Caden Andrews, Gabe De Filippo and coxswain Jacob Green near the finish line at the American Collegiate Rowing Association National Championship at the Lake Lanier Olympic Venue on May 23. - photo by Erin O. Smith

The Lake Lanier Olympic Venue off Ga. 284/Clarks Bridge Road in Gainesville has had a $6.2 million impact so far on the area economy in fiscal 2015, officials said Tuesday.

Gainesville Parks and Recreation used information collected by the venue from its visitors to determine economic impact numbers. Fiscal 2015 began July 1, 2014, and ends June 30.

Other events to be calculated for fiscal year 2015 include The Lake Show on May 30, Gainesville-Hall Dragon Boat Challenge this past Saturday and the Southern Invitational this Saturday.

“Those will be relatively small numbers,” venue manager Morgan House said. “They are all local events. People are not coming in (from outside the area) and staying the night in hotels.”

A training camp in February and March has had the largest impact so far this fiscal year, at $1.6 million, figures show.

Based on 12 months of events, starting in May 2014, the venue had a $7.8 million impact, factoring in the American Collegiate Rowing Association National Championship held in late May 2014, officials said.

“This report goes to show that the (venue) not only plays a big financial role in the success of our community, but it also supports the fact that this venue and park offers the best location for local, national and international events,” House said.

He didn’t have previous economic impact numbers to compare to, but House said he is hopeful totals will be even stronger in fiscal 2016, which starts July 1.

“We’re going to see a huge jump” for the Pan American Championships set for next May, House said. “That’s going to have people coming in from all over North and South America.”

The Olympic qualifying event is expected to draw some 1,000 visitors.

Stacey Dickson, president of the Lake Lanier Convention and Visitors Bureau, said she was pleased by the economic impact report.

Her organization “works hand in glove with the venue on a weekly basis, and it’s so rewarding to see the efforts of our partnership benefit the community in such a meaningful way,” she said.

“We expect further growth of these numbers in the coming years as” renovation and improvement plans take place, Dickson said.

At its Thursday work session, Gainesville City Council is set to discuss capital improvement funding for the venue.

“The results of this (economic impact) study further solidify what we have known for many years,” Mayor Danny Dunagan said. “The Olympic Venue is an economic engine for our community that deserves to be maintained to the highest degree.

“We are financially committed to the revitalization of the venue and will continue to show our support in every way possible.”

Regional events