Inventory of local sports venues in the works

PARKERSBURG – The Greater Parkersburg Convention and Visitors Bureau has compiled an inventory of local sports facilities.

The inventory, the first such comprehensive sports facility inventory of the area, will be a marketing tool in helping organizations plan an event in the Parkersburg area, said Mark Lewis, president of the bureau.

“It’s another tool for us,” Lewis said.

The Sports Facilities Handbook is being produced by Stonewall marketing, the Marietta company which has the contract from the state of West Virginia to market tourism. The 11-by-8.5 inch publication will be full-color and spiral bound, Lewis said.

It will contain sporting facilities available in the region, such as gyms, gymnastic facilities, softball and soccer fields, he said.

“This is our attempt to really get a handle on what we have,” Lewis said.

The bureau, along with the Innovative Grant Program of the Wood County Commission, promotes sporting events. The competitive grant program was established by the county commission after it raised the room occupancy tax from 3 percent to 6 percent in 2008.

In August, the commission donated $40,000 through the program to nine events, including next year’s United States Specialty Sport Association Softball Tournament, the Wood County Junior Wrestling Tournament, the city of Vienna for the West Virginia SSAC Girls High School softball tournament, the West Virginia Duals wrestling tourney the Wood County Sports Association Inc. for softball events, the Parkersburg South Basketball Youth Tournament and the E.L.I.T.E. Sports Center.

The grant program is designed to support tournaments and events generating overnight stays in the Wood County, which means more money spent at hotels and restaurants, he said.

“This is the intent of the Innovative Grant Program through the county commission,” Lewis said.

The resource guide will be used by the bureau to encourage more events here and aid organizers in finding a venue for their event, Lewis said.

“We can give them this and say ‘we’re willing to work with you,'” Lewis said.

Financing for the resource guide came from the bureau, he said.