Massena Wants To Increase Number Of Fishing Tournaments

Massena Wants To Increase Number Of Fishing Tournaments

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Fishing tournaments are a lot of fun. Competitors catch big fish and spectators get to watch. But a small town on the Tennessee River saw something else. They saw a way to revive a flagging economy.

“We began to see it as an opportunity, rather than just an old river that flowed through town. And it's been transformational for us.” said Dennis Tumlin, economic development director, Dayton, Tennessee:

Dayton now hosts about 30 bass fishing tournaments a year. Two new hotels and five restaurants have opened. Sales tax, lodging and property taxes are all up.

Massena officials think the same could happen here. Two fishing tournaments were hosted in Massena this year.

“People love to fish, they spend a lot of money fishing, they travel to fish,” said Massena Town Supervisor Joe Gray.

No one says bass fishing could replace the kinds of jobs that disappeared here when General Motors closed some years ago. But they are saying bass fishing could be an important building block towards a new economy for Massena.

“On a global scale, businesses are going to move here and there. And having that extra tier of economic impact for us through tourism helps offset that industrial job loss," said Tumlin.

So Massena is buying in. Supervisor Gray wants to double the money spent on promoting fishing.

Its boat launch will soon get a $3 million upgrade. Town officials say they are already casting to attract more tournaments and more anglers.

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