NASC study pushes Charleston to improve sporting facilities

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau funded a sports facility study prepared by the National Association of Sports Commissions.

The Kanawha County Commission and the Central Convention and Visitors Bureau also helped fund the analysis.

Don Schumacher, NASC Executive Director, analyzed all of the competition quality sporting facilities in West Virginia counties and presented his findings at a meeting held at the Charleston Civic Center Wednesday.

Schumacher said he was impressed by several facilities in Kanawha County including the improvement plans in Nitro, South Charleston, the University of Charleston, and at the Civic Center.

On the other hand, Schumacher said the county lacks a big facility that has many fields in one place. Alisa Bailey, President and CEO of the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the event planner looks for these facilities that provide the convenience of not having to move around during competitive events.

Schumacher suggested a muli-sports complex in Shawnee Park in Dunbar including competition facilities, space for runners and cyclists, and fields. He said the Bureau should consider building an auditorium to create a competitive use for the property.

Bailey said they left the meeting feeling confident about what their future plans are.

“We can really capitalize upon this market for tourism,” said Baily.

In addition, Mark Cherry, who serves on the West Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association’s Legislative committee, provided a report of several tourism bills that were cut and budgets that were addressed in this year’s session.

Baily said they lobbied for more tourism funding because they are losing ground compared to other states. She said they also need to expand and remodel certain buildings in Charleston. Jack Harrison, who serves on the Civic Center selection committee, discussed improvement possibilities.

“We’ve had $100 million worth of infrastructure improvements that will be going on in Charleston, not only improvements in some of our hotels, like the Sheraton Four Points and the Marriott, but we will probably be in access of $60 million in expansions of the Charleston Civic Center which would make it a true convention center,” said Baily.

Baily said improvements will bring a lot of prosperity to Charleston. The results of the sports study will be available on the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau’s website.

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