ROCKINGHAM — County leaders are rooting for a slice of the revenue that will pour into the local economy with both the U.S. Open and the U.S. Women’s Open being held in nearby Pinehurst.
“It’s always good when our neighbors host something large,” said Emily Tucker, president of the Richmond County Chamber of Commerce. “It’s nice to reap the benefits.”
Tucker said local businesses, including hotels, gas stations and restaurants, could see an increase in patronage with the overflow from the golfing event.
Rockingham Mayor Steve Morris mirrored Tucker’s optimism.
“I would assume the hotels should benefit from it,” he said. “I understand the hotels are booked up to Raleigh.”
Morris, a golfer himself, said he will be one of 6,200 volunteers providing crowd control.
The city and county coffers could also cash in with the 3 percent occupancy tax rate.
“I look at things on a regional level,” Tucker said. “If it’s a large enough event, the surrounding counties benefit.”
But it’s not just retail businesses expecting an upswing.
Tucker said she’s hoping for an increase in visitors to local attractions including the Hamlet Depot and Discovery Place Kids in downtown Rockingham.
“We have lots of things for families to do together,” she said.
Tucker also touted outdoor activities that visitors could enjoy, such as canoeing on Hitchcock Creek.
“We hope that they’ll spend some of that U.S. Open money here,” she said.
Governor Pat McCrory and several cabinet members were in Pinehurst Monday to talk about the potential for growth following the event.
“The state of North Carolina will be on a world stage for the next two weeks, and we want to take full advantage of that to show people what a great state this is,” McCrory said in a Monday statement. “It’s said that ‘You never have a second chance to make a first impression,’ so we want to make sure that first impression is incredible.”
The governor’s office says the dual event is estimated to bring in $169,000, citing the local visitors’ bureau.
“While the immediate economic impact of the championships will be substantial, we also have the chance to leverage the next two weeks to lead to more economic development for North Carolina,” said Sharon Decker, state commerce secretary.
“This is our opportunity to show companies North Carolina’s great business environment, and to share some of the advantages of having a corporate presence here.”
Reach reporter William R. Toler at 910-997-3111, ext. 16.