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Covington Center Arena marks first year

The Covington Center officially opened its doors one year ago and has seen a variety of successful events in the past 12 months.

"I think everyone is pleased with how it has gone this year," said Tony Wells, The Covington Center manager. "There have been some rough edges we have smoothed along the way, and I've learned a lot."

One of the things Wells said he is most pleased about is the number of people who, after using the facility, decided to return.

"We have a lot of re-bookings for next year, and some have booked as much as five years in advance," he said.

In the last year, there have been a host of different events at The Covington Center. Everything from rodeos, horse shows, team pennings and ropings, music concerts, a car show, cattle sales, and even a political rally has been held there. The facility, as it was last year, will be the site for all the livestock events during the upcoming Kiwanis Fair, and a circus is also scheduled in November.

"I am very pleased with the number, and variety, of events scheduled at the Covington

Center thus far," said Greg White, Covington County Commission chairman. "The support of folks in the county has been great, and it has been gratifying to hear those from outside the immediate area comment about their positive impression of the Center, and in fact of the entire County, as they arrive."

Not only has the Center brought entertainment opportunities to the county, it also has an economic impact on the area; something White said will continue to grow.

"A recent news report about a bass tournament in Prattville, which attracted 350 participants, suggested that the event would have a $1.5 million economic impact on the community," White said.

"If this is true, then we will have several $1.5 million events in Covington County each year as a result of the horse shows, ropings, team pennings, etc. that use the Covington Center.

In fact, we have already had several of those during the first year of operation."

Both White and Wells said the success of The Covington Center is because of the support it has received.a

"I appreciate the support of Covington Electric, Alabama Electric and the City of Andalusia – Touchstone Energy Partners – who are our Title Sponsors this year," White said. "Others are also expressing interest in participating in various capacities. So the community support needed for this facility to achieve maximum impact is being realized."

Support has also come from county leadership, Wells said.

"The county commission has done a good job of supporting us," he said. "I certainly appreciate them, and I appreciate the members of our advisory committee."

Now that they have completed their first year, Wells said he hopes to have a study done to show the economic impact the facility is having on the county."

"We wanted to get through the first year before we had such a study done," he said. "In the near future, I foresee this building being completely booked every weekend as well as some during the week."

For more information about The Covington Center, as well as a list of upcoming events, visit it on the web at www.thecovcenter.com