Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Arena poised for even bigger economic and recreational roles

While contending that the Old Spanish Trail Arena (OSTA) is already an economic boon to the community, arena manager Steve Swift says he hopes recent and future improvements will bring even greater benefits to area residents.

The OSTA hosted some 23 events last year, Swift said, adding that he didn’t count the ongoing non-paid use by winter indoor soccer leagues. Although the paid events in 2012 generated only about $16,000 cumulatively in arena rental fees, Swift said the facility’s benefit to the community is much greater.

According to an annual report given to the council, the largest event, the Easter Jeep Safari, drew about 5,000 attendees, of which an estimated 3,000 were visitors to the area, with many of them staying a full week or even longer. When the visitors’ local expenditures on gas, food, entertainment, and lodging are taken into account, Swift said a conservative estimate of Jeep Safari’s total economic benefit to the community is around $3.4 million.

The other 20 or so events held at the arena last year brought another 2,000 visitors to the Moab area, making the total economic impact of all events between $3.6 and $4.2 million, Swift noted in the July 1 report.

According to the report, the Easter Jeep Safari infused $3.4 million into the local economy this year. The UTV Rally on the Rocks in May, with 550 visitors, added $319,000, the Land Rover Safari in October, drew 260 visitors, brought in $178,000, the Canyonlands PRCA Rodeo in June, drew 400 visitors and brought $153,000 into the economy, and the Rock and Gem Show in October drew 300 visitors and brought in $82,000. Times-Independent