Sentinel-Echo.com

Letters to the Editor

August 9, 2010

Abandoning Tour de London? What a shame!

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — To the editor:

It’s a damn shame!

I read in the July 12 issue of The Sentinel-Echo that the board of directors has decided to abandon the Tour de London and pass it on to some other organization. This decision is confounding to me.

Back when London Downtown was formed, the purpose of the organization was to revitalize our downtown area and create events that would bring people downtown. Our streetscape project was one way to create interest in downtown and I applaud London Downtown for creating such a beautiful area in our city. A promotion committee was set up to develop events to bring citizens to town and to entice people from outside London to come and visit and bring additional revenue to our city. The Tour de London was one of many events devised as a way to bring outside revenue to London and at the same time bring in visitors to our city.

We were lucky enough to have HSBC step up as the title sponsor for the event and that ensured its success. But at the same time, we had other sponsors come forward with funds that helped offset some of our expenses. Was the Tour de London a big profit maker? No. Was the Tour de London sucking London Downtown dry? No.

I must have misunderstood the concept of “bring people downtown.” I didn’t understand that the idea was to make a ton of money on events from day one and I don’t think previous downtown directors and boards thought this way either. Granted, this particular event was not “monetarily” profitable, but it was successful in bringing outside money to our community. …

The Tour de London was a difficult event to put on and required in excess of 75 volunteers. The vast majority of volunteers were from local businesses and local cyclists, but sadly there were few volunteers from London Downtown’s board. I do applaud those few who did volunteer, but I guess there is more interest in being on the board than trying to make sure our events create interest in our city from outside the area.

The Kentucky Sports Authority has recently expressed interest in assisting with the Tour de London in the future and is trying to target 2011 for such an event.

Hopefully, this can happen and the Tour de London can rise from the ashes.

I hope London Downtown has not lost focus. I am, however, curious as to how much profit we can expect from America in Bloom.

David Sutton

London

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