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Sarasota News Leader June 7, 2013 The county's Tourism Development Council, which Commissioner Nora Patterson chairs, was caught by surprise by the request for the letter when it learned of it during a May 16 meeting. At that time, both Virginia Haley, president of Visit Sarasota County, and Paul Blackketter, president of Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates (SANCA) — which manages events at Benderson Park — explained that FISA, the international rowing federation, is used to governments, not private entities, hosting major events. Therefore, FISA representatives had requested that Sarasota and Manatee counties make it clear they will cover any remaining expenses associated with the World Rowing Championships if revenue from the event does not pay for everything. Page 36 Assistant County Administrator Lee Ann Lowery addresses the County Commission in Venice on June 4. Photo by Norman Schimmel A June memo from Lowery to the County Commission says that Visit Sarasota County conservatively estimates the economic impact of hosting the rowing event would be $12,970,000 — in today's market — given the expected direct spending by participants and attendees. The tourism office's conservative estimate for the total regional economic impact is $24,615,000, the memo adds. Those figures do not include the value of marketing the championships to more than 130 million international television viewers (the last four days of competition are televised worldwide, the memo notes); the value of marketing Benderson Park and Sarasota County at all FISA events between 2013 and the 2017 World Championships; the economic impact of Benderson Park hosting the 2016 World Cup Games, which typically is included in the award of the championships; and the economic impact of teams from around the Paul Blackketter addresses the crowd celebrating the completion of the North Cattlemen Road extension during a ceremony on May 24 at Benderson Park. The extension provides motorists with a new north-south alternative to Interstate 75 from University Parkway to Fruitville Road and complements other improvements at the park. Photo by Norman Schimmel

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