Arena gearing up for business, again
The Covington County Commission recently found itself at the end of a 10-year lease of the Covington Center Arena, and they are now back in the business of promoting and managing the facility which is located on South Bypass in Andalusia. One of the Commission’s first actions was to establish an Advisory Board. The newly formed Advisory Board members have been busy!
Much behind the scenes work is going on to prepare and make ready the facility for event bookings. Concerts and equine events typically secure show dates nine to 12 months in advance, so there is a short amount of time to give the facility a facelift and thorough cleaning. These projects are under way now using primarily inmate labor.
“We are excited to report we have contracts on several events for the next 11 months, including what we anticipate will be multiple events by two different organizations in 2020, “ said Arena Advisory Board member Becky Courson, who is in charge of publicity.
Plans are in the initial stage for a possible music concert in the coming months. An event promoter from Nashville is coming down to tour the facility in two weeks, she said.
The Advisory Board is reaching out to various cattle associations and farm groups in hopes to secure cattle shows or a farm expo for next year also. Anyone in the community with contacts with an association or with a suggestion for an event that would be a good fit for the Covington Center is encouraged to contact any of the Commissioners, County Administrator Karen Sowell, or a member of the Advisory Board – Thomas Huggins, Courson, Dwight Mikel, Dennis Moore or Carla Powell.
“Economic studies have shown that a three-day equine event at a facility typical of Covington Center will potentially pump more than $100,000 into the local business community,” Courson said. “ This is direct benefit to our local retailers as these folks coming into town spend money at the local restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, hotels, vets, farm service retailers such as the Farmer’s Co-op Store, Tractor Supply, and clothing stores like Touch of Country. The auto dealerships even benefit as they sell vehicles to these visitors. These expenditures produce sales and lodgings tax that benefit our entire community.”
A two-year study completed in 2016 by Auburn University researchers revealed that the equine industry pumps an astounding $2.08 billion into the Alabama economy. This impact represents approximately 24,000 jobs throughout our state.
There are many families throughout Covington County that have for twenty years been directly impacted by the offerings of the Covington Center, and many others that we hope will take advantage of the opportunity to be a part of this great American agricultural tradition.