Mixed feelings on triathlon's effect

Business owners split on benefits of Annapolis event

October 28, 2007

Business owners were evenly divided about whether the inaugural Annapolis Triathlon had a positive effect on the city, a new survey has found.

Requested by the city council's Economic Matters Committee, the survey was one of two conducted about the triathlon. The second, by the triathlon's organizers, polled participants in the Sept. 9 competition.

"We felt it was important to have a third party look at the big picture of these type of events," said Mike Miron, Annapolis' director of economic development. "We wanted to hear from the people that these large events impact -- businesses, residents and participants -- to get their thoughts and suggestions about what we are doing right and what we can do better."

Some business owners feared that a crush of spectators and athletes would drive customers away from downtown.

Minor Group's business survey, which was released Friday, found that:

34 percent say the event had a positive impact on the city, and the same percentage said it had the opposite effect.

14 percent were neutral.

54 percent said the city should host the triathlon again.

Participants in the triathlon who responded to the second survey were overwhelmingly positive about the event.

The Annapolis Triathlon Club received more than 600 responses to its survey of athletes, volunteers and spectators. Respondents answered questions about the quality of the route, the overall experience and the amount of time and money they spent in the city.

The survey found that participants were impressed with the race and Annapolis, and would like to see the event continue.

Because this year's event was held on a Sunday morning and downtown churches were concerned about traffic, survey participants were asked whether they would be willing for the race to be held on a Saturday. A large majority said yes.

Complete results from both surveys are available at www.anna polis.gov.

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