Industrial Development Coordinator sees potential in World Games

Published 2:59 pm Wednesday, January 28, 2015

With Birmingham selected to be the host of the 2021 World Games, Chilton County Industrial Development Coordinator Fred Crawford hopes to explore possibilities for the county to participate in some way.

Crawford presented his “vision” during the regularly scheduled Chilton County Commission meeting Monday to gain support from the county in letting the organizers of the World Games know that Chilton County is open to options.

“There will be 110 countries participating in these games,” Crawford said. “I think it is important for us to let the organizers of this event know that we are willing to work with them. We can help, and being only 45 minutes from Birmingham, we could serve as one of the outgoing areas people would be willing to travel to for a hotel or to eat.”

The World Games are held every four years in the year following the Olympic games. Birmingham was selected by beating out Lima, Peru and Ufa, Russia.

Birmingham will be the first U.S. city to host the games since 1981.

Crawford said the committee responsible for the games had announced some of the locations for the games to be played, with neighboring Shelby County selected to host some of the games.

“With that many people coming to this area, I think it is important for us to tell those involved in the planning process that we are interested,” Crawford said.

According to the website for the World Games, the event showcases more than 25 sports including dance sports, squash, tug of war, sumo, karate, fistball, orienteering, korfball, canoe polo and artistic roller skating.

Crawford asked commissioners to consider passing a resolution appointing Crawford or an authorized representative to serve as a spokesman for Chilton County.

Commissioners unanimously voted to allow Crawford to serve as a spokesperson, and thanked Crawford for the idea.

“I think this could be a great thing for our county,” commissioner Shannon Welch said. “There is a huge amount of revenue going to be brought to this state, and I would think that there may be a way we could help capture some of that revenue.”

Crawford said on Wednesday that he would like to see Chilton County serve as a location for visitors attending the games to visit and possibly stay in hotels and eat at the county’s restaurants.

“There will be people coming to watch the games or friends and family of the athletes who will not necessarily be wanting to stay in Birmingham,” Crawford said. “They might come to Alabama for a week or two before or after the games and come and stay in our hotels and eat at our restaurants.”

Crawford said he would also like to explore the possibility of Chilton County hosting some of the games at different locations throughout the county.

“I don’t know if all of the locations for the games have been established, but I think there are several areas in the county where it would be an ideal location to host some of the events,” Crawford said. “The Exhibit Hall at the Clanton Performing Arts Center would be great for a boxing event or Minooka Park could host an archery game. I just think it is important for us to let the organizers know that we are here and willing to work with them in whatever way we can.”