The Corolla Civic Association (CCA) recently began criticizing Currituck County Government for spending occupancy tax funds on projects located outside of the Corolla community. The CCA claims these projects have little or no tourism value.
One of the most heavily-criticized subjects is the construction of recreation facilities located on Currituck’s mainland section, specifically the baseball/softball fields at Community Park in Barco. The CCA’s claim that this athletic facility has little or no tourism value for Currituck County is simply not true.
Already for 2018, which is only the second operating year of the facility, Currituck Parks and Recreation has booked baseball or softball travel team tournaments for 27 weekends. Each tournament will bring an average of 14 teams to Currituck County. This includes players, parents, coaches, family members, and fans of each team. In fact, so many teams (21) are coming into Currituck County on April 28-29 that some games must be held at local school fields in addition to Community Park in order to accommodate everyone.
Travel baseball and softball teams will come to Currituck County this year from many different locations, including Hampton Roads, Williamsburg, and Richmond, Va., and Roanoke Rapids, N.C. And in addition to the 27 travel team tournaments, Currituck will also host the 2018 Tarheel Baseball District Tournament, which includes youth teams from all over the eastern N.C. region.
With a total of 28 tournaments, there will be a significant number of visitors coming into Currituck County who will spend money to eat, buy gas, and visit local attractions. Without the baseball/softball complex, many of these people might never come to Currituck County. And once they are here and see what Currituck County has to offer, many may choose to return for future vacations.
The CCA’s claim that this facility does not benefit Currituck’s tourism industry is not only false, but also short-sighted. These tournaments not only provide an economic boost each weekend, but also play a key role in the county’s long-term approach towards expanding the tourism industry onto Currituck’s mainland and enhancing commercial development throughout the county.
A recent hotel feasibility study, available from the Currituck Economic Development Department, revealed that the expected increase in visitors to Currituck – brought in large part by these ballfields – places Currituck above a market threshold necessary to attract a new hotel to the mainland. As a result, the county expects restaurants and other businesses to also look more closely at the Currituck mainland for possible new locations.
Currituck’s spending of occupancy tax funds is meant to benefit the entire county, not only the neighborhoods in Corolla. Many projects funded by occupancy tax have been constructed in Corolla, including the Corolla Greenway, a public restroom facility on Corolla Village Rd., restrooms in Historic Corolla Park, and a wheelchair-accessible ramp leading directly onto the beach. But other projects located outside of Corolla, such as the baseball and softball fields, are also very important to the local tourism industry and to the future of the whole Currituck County.