Breathing fire into the local economy
The spring 2012 Tour of the Dragons cycling event was a resounding success and the tour directors would like to recognize everyone involved -- area residents, local businesses, the many volunteers, key agencies, local municipalities and sponsors -- for helping to make an important event for our area great.
Organizing and managing an event of this complexity requires commitment from many different sectors. Annual events like the Tour of the Dragons clearly offer important business opportunities by attracting a significant number of visitors from outside our region who patronize businesses large and small and help grow our overall economy.
An important statistic, well established at similar national bicycle racing events, is that each racer represents three and a half visitors to a bike race venue. This year’s 400 race participants equated to 1,400 visitors to the area, 85 percent of whom are not from Vermont but all of whom spent money in local lodging establishments, enjoyed our restaurants and shopped in local businesses.
The race represents an indisputable boost to our local economy during the traditionally slow period between the winter ski season and the summer tourist season, and many businesses seized the opportunity and profited from the visitors. The majority of the competitors commented that they loved downtown Bennington, the challenging terrain and beautiful scenery of the Shires of Bennington.
Those from outside Vermont said they would likely return here to vacation with their families and friends. This is significant: return visits and spending represents a boost for our economy that will help grow Bennington. At the same time we recognize that not all businesses in the downtown area realized immediate benefits from the event, although the long term benefits are irrefutable.
The design and nature of the 2012 downtown race course may have made it difficult for the businesses "inside the loop" to see their regular foot traffic, and we acknowledge their concern. To address that concern a new course for 2013 is being finalized. Our goal is to find the right balance for the community as a whole: host a quality event, bring visitors to the area and minimize the impact on downtown businesses.
Our initial meeting with the town of Bennington was very positive, and we are very pleased with the cooperative effort to do even better each year. We’re looking forward to an even better Tour of the Dragons of an improved design for 2013, a win-win event for the residents, business owners, the town of Bennington and the Shires of Vermont -- an event that will breathe even more "Dragon fire" into our future economy.
North Bennington Historial is historical is historical
The recent letter to the editor, in which the writer claimed she could somehow ascertain the amount of historic value in antique buildings, once again points out how dangerous history revisionists can be. If it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.
The value of our local buildings -- especially Bartels Lodge -- has already been evaluated and determined by the professionals of the Bennington Museum and the Vermont Division of Historic Preservation. It has significant historic value and should be preserved.
It was stated also in this letter to the editor that these elected officials had the "right" to conduct business as they see fit. This distortion is not only incorrect but perilous to how our system of government is meant to operate. The official’s right to conduct business must be tempered by their inherent responsibility for the good and for the welfare of the people -- and not by cronyism.
FRANK E. GIORANDINO