TAVARES, Fla.,None - Leaders of the Lake County city that borrowed millions of dollars to build a seaplane base and marina said they have proof it's paying off.
Tavares taxpayers have sunk more than $8 million into the new marina and seaplane base. While some critics have called it an enormous waste of money, city leaders say landing a string of national fishing tournaments is proof of success.
When it comes to rating a fishing tournament, they don't come bigger than Bassmaster.
"There's only nine of these events we hold every year," said Mike Mulone, B.A.S.S. event director. "Three in the southern division, and there's quite a few lakes and great destinations around the Southeast to host this."
And it was the city of Tavares that landed it.
The county is hopping with 400 fishermen from all over the
Since 2008, the city has hosted 10 national fishing tournaments.
"Direct and indirect fiscal impact would be in the millions of dollars," Neron said.
Fishermen and fans have packed restaurants for the entire week -- same story with the hotels. There's even a hotel
"The city already has a fantastic natural resource in the Harris chain of lakes. But bringing all the development to Wooton Park -- that made it easy for us to make the decision," Neron said.
City leaders said they are surveying all 400 anglers in the tournament to learn where they stayed, where they ate and how much money they spent.