A Wednesday headline and article, “Colts fans enjoy AU campus but spend little time, money in city,” drew criticism from Anderson boosters who worried that the story cast a negative light on the community.
The critics pointed out that the reporter who wrote the article talked to only a small percentage of people (he interviewed about 10) attending that day’s Indianapolis Colts training camp practice at Anderson University. That is true, and the article was in no way a scientific sampling of the practice attendees.
Still, in an anecdotal fashion, the responses are valid. In short, the selected fans said they basically get in and out of Anderson as fast as they can. They come to see the Colts practice and, while they like AU’s campus, they don’t see much else appealing about Anderson.
Those of us who live and work in the community know that it has a lot to offer — fun things to do, pretty neighborhoods and nice people. So it naturally bothers us when outsiders don’t see the good in the community.
Which begs the question: What are local officials doing to entice Colts fans to spend more time and money when they come here for Colts camp, and what is being done to encourage them to come back to Anderson?
Officials at the City of Anderson and at the Anderson/Madison County Visitors Bureau believe they’re making a strong effort to do both.
In an email Friday, Anderson Public Information Officer Charlee Turner noted the local food and beverage tax typically gets a 15-20 percent increase when the Colts are in town, suggesting a rise in hotel stays and restaurant visits. She also pointed out that many local businesses display signs welcoming the Colts and that the city hosted its second annual Colts breakfast at the Paramount, featuring Coach Chuck Pagano as the keynote speaker.