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VCB backs plan to attract sporting events to Kitsap

In an effort to attract tourism and increase sports activity, the Kitsap County Visitors and Convention Bureau is supporting the idea of establishing a sports council directly charged with soliciting this business.

“The idea is to attract teams from out of the area to come here for tournaments and playoffs,” said VCB chief Grant Griffin. “We can get out-of-towners to come in here for an event, then stay to use our facilities, stay in our hotels and shop in our stores.”

After a meeting last week where the issue was discussed, Griffin said the principals need to “get all our heads together and decide how to fashion our next steps.”

Griffin said Kitsap County could comfortably host a variety of sports, from soccer to softball, lacrosse and skating. He said that many of the less-popular sports, such as horseshoes, have potential. “Some of these sports attract thousands of people, and this gives us opportunity to make some money,” he said.

According to Griffin, large tournaments often require a complex with multiple playing fields. He cited two areas — Pendergast and the Kitsap County Fairgrounds — that could host such a facility.

The biggest obstacle, he said, is scheduling meets around people who area already using the fields for certain events. Also, the limited number of hotel rooms in the area makes it necessary to not schedule two major events at the same time.

Griffin said the next step “is to sit down with the customer — the athletic leagues — and map out whatever they would like to see.”

The nascent idea of a sports council has the unanimous support of the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners.

“This is an excellent idea,” said North Kitsap Commissioner Chris Endresen. “I’m wondering why I didn’t think of it myself.”

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