Prattville grateful for Navistar LPGA Classic

Posted by Bryan Henry  -  bio | email


Vacant stores at the High Point Center shopping district in Prattville are vivid reminders the economy hasn't recovered.

In fact a smoothie business on the corner of one intersection closed recently after opening about a year ago.

"I agree we're not where we want to be," said Prattville mayor Jim Byard.

Not where the city wants to be in terms of hauling in a lot of sales tax revenues from High Point, all the more reason why the mayor was more than grateful for the Navistar LPGA Classic golf tournament; more than 50,000 spectators, not including golfers, adding up to a projected $7 million impact based on last year's turnout.

"One rule in golf. You play the ball where is lies. The economy is where it is," Byard said.

Mick Thompson says his cajun cafe in downtown Prattville jumped about 10% over a two day period during the tournament.

"It really helped," Thompson said.

First, it was Navistar and now the county fair. Two back to back events, two money-makers for the city.

"We expect around 12,000 visitors and the people who bring the fair have been here a few days already and spent money in town, so there's clearly an economic impact there," said Autauga County Fair Manager and former Prattville city councilman Gene Hall.

While the mayor does not hide the fact that Prattville is not getting a solid return on its investment for now on High Point, he does point out the city's sales tax revenues grew by $8 million in 3 years since businesses like Target and Kohl's opened.

No one knows just what the economy will do but one thing for certain; Navistar has signed an agreement to come back for two more years and there's no reason why the fair won't return for its 44th year next fall.

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