The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

July 16, 2014

Spa City awaits Saints

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS —  “The Saints are going to be marching in pretty soon,” a beaming Spa City Mayor Lloyd Haynes told the audience gathered for Monday evening’s city council meeting.

With The Greenbrier Classic PGA tournament barely in the rearview mirror, White Sulphur Springs has a short timeline in which to regroup resources before next week’s much-anticipated arrival of the New Orleans Saints. The NFL franchise will conduct a three-week training camp at newly-constructed facilities at The Greenbrier resort, with players scheduled to report July 24.

“That’s new ground for us,” Haynes said, pointing out that, while White Sulphur has five years of experience dealing with the thousands of golf fans who attend the Classic, it’s difficult to gauge the numbers and needs of Saints fans who will visit this inaugural West Virginia-based training camp.

The mayor noted that one difference can be found in the parking situation. While the people attending the PGA event park at the State Fairgrounds in Fairlea and are brought to White Sulphur by a fleet of charter buses, the football fans will park their vehicles next to the city’s water plant and be transported to the training camp cross-town via school buses, according to city officials.

“With the traffic coming through town, there is a possibility for our downtown businesses to capitalize on the potential shoppers,” Haynes said.

The parking area is a little more than a mile past the center of town, up Big Draft Road. Although the city will not charge fans to park at the water plant, a fee of $5 per adult and $2 for each child under 12 will be charged to those boarding a bus for transport to the training camp facility. Personal vehicles, walk-ins and private buses/motor coaches are not permitted at the training camp.

The official buses will run continuously throughout the days when practices are open to the public, taking spectators between the parking lot, football facility and the resort.

In addition to providing parking and coordinating security details with The Greenbrier, the city is also lending portable bleachers to the resort for use around the training camp’s three practice fields.

In other business:

- Council approved $1,000 requested by Spa City Soccer for use in fiscal year 2014-15.

- Council renewed the city’s contract with BrickStreet Insurance for commercial services for another year.

- Council authorized the mayor to complete negotiations and sign a contract with Region IV for assistance in planning a new city maintenance building.

- Council member Lynn Swann announced the city’s Main Street organization is planning to stage a wild game cook-off in late October.

- Council member Audrey VanBuren confirmed that it appears the municipal swimming pool may need to be replaced rather than repaired, saying, “It has severe leaks.” She said some funds have already been raised, and plans are being made for additional fundraisers to benefit the pool fund.

— E-mail: talvey@register-herald.com

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