Best foot forward

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 16, 2003

Andalusia put its best foot forward Saturday when it hosted not one, but two major events - at the same time, in relative close locations.

The fifth annual Southern States Open Martial Arts Championship at Andalusia Elementary School and a major quarter horse show at the Covington Arena were both held over the weekend bringing guests to our fair city which in turn filled our hotel rooms, filled our restaurants, shops and roadways.

With the influx of these guests, many of them from as far away as New Orleans, Atlanta and Tallahassee for the karate tournament, and other parts of Alabama for the quarter horse event - Andalusia proved itself capable of hosting simultaneous, big-time events.

With ample facilities like the Covington Center Arena and the gym at Andalusia Elementary School - the foundation is in place. Other venues like the Kiwanis Community Building, the LBW Dixon Center for the Performing Arts, the Andalusia High School Auditorium, LBW, AHS and AMS gyms, Johnson Park, Southside Sports Complex, AHS stadium and others make Andalusia a good place to hold an event.

Our hotel space is exceptional for a town of roughly 10,000 people. Ninety percent of the rooms are newer with amenities that aren't often found in small town hotels.

With the state of the world in this post-September 11 mode, more and more companies and organizations are choosing smaller, friendlier venues for their groups. Andalusia could be one of those.

With continued improvements in existing facilities, we could start a pretty nice little convention and exposition industry. A few more hotels and restaurants and who knows what could happen.

We won't rival Birmingham, Atlanta and Orlando for the "big-time" events, but we could start getting the events that pick Dothan.

We're already getting major outdoors-type events in the area, and we're only scratching the surface.

When the Rotary Club brings their World Championship Domino Tournament back in July, it's another opportunity to put our best foot forward.

And look at the facilities that could be improved upon to host more events.

Point A Park could be cleaned up and the lake cleaned out to host a waterski tournament. There's a nice topography in the area, an Olympic-trial caliber bicycling event or marathon could be nice.

The possibilities are limitless. All we have to do is continue to be gracious hosts and keep building on what we have.