The Terre Haute Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) receives $58,223 in matching grant funds from the Indiana Office of Tourism Development. The project components include constructing a climate-controlled athletic medical building south of the finish line and amending the existing finish line structure. Both project components are essential to staying competitive in the sport of cross-country, promoting athlete safety and the spectator experience and maintaining above average efficiency for race day operations. The Terre Haute CVB was one of three grants awarded.
“Indiana’s tourism industry continually grows year after year, and these projects are an example of that,” Lt. Governor Crouch, who chairs the council, said. “By funding these projects, we are investing in tourism amenities, attractions and facilities that enhance the visitor experience.”
The cross-country course, which attracts 30,000 to 40,000 visitors annually, has reinforced the state of Indiana’s reputation as the home for racing. As a leader in the industry, the course has secured racing bids for events such as NCAA Division Championships, IHSAA State Championships and Nike Midwest Regionals. The bidding process is a competitive process in which the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course presents on the course’s assets. These bidding periods are how races, invitationals and championships are secured, therefore allowing Terre Haute, West Central Indiana and the state of Indiana to welcome thousands of people from across the nation to the facility.
"I'm happy to see our community tackle these state-side grants and see success. This is just another example of our community competing and winning. I'm proud to be part of a legislature that is funding important programs like tourism. Attracting people to Indiana is part of our overall economic strategy. Certainly, seeing our own CVB win this grant should ignite our excitement for many more opportunities in the future," states Senator Jon Ford.
The climate-controlled athletic medical building will be unique to the sport of cross-country. As an outdoor sport, athletes are exposed to all elements. The sport’s season begins in the heightened heat of late summer and ends in November. Athletes experience overheating and dehydration, hypothermia from running in the rain or snow and everything in between. The climate-controlled athletic medical building will provide an indoor place away from the public eye to assess all injuries to better ensure the safety of everyone.
The updates to the existing finish-line structure will enhance the operational aspects that go into hosting a race. Operations such as officiating, reporting and announcing are all expected to be done with precision and accuracy. During the 2019 NCAA Division I Championships hosted at the course, over 100,000 people from 20 countries web-streamed the race live online. Amending the finish line tower will elevate the reach that the course and its races have and add to the overarching package the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course offers to athletes, officials, coaches and spectators.
“Over half a million people have been to the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in its 22 seasons. That’s over half a million people we have brought to our community. Receiving these funds align with what our community is working to enhance,” states Mayor Duke Bennett. “Not only does the course support our tourism industry, it is a major contributor to the economic vitality of the region.”
Competing for grants such as these keeps Indiana competitive and our region and community relevant.
“Indiana has always been next level,” states David Patterson, Executive Director of the Terre Haute CVB. “This funding proves that Indiana is next level in safety, next level in competing and sports tourism and next level in keeping our state an industry leader.”