Ironman officials address concerns of local business owners - WSMV Channel 4

Ironman officials address concerns of local business owners

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - More than 12,000 people are expected for Chattanooga's Ironman on September 28. Numbers that big mean a big impact on restaurants, hotels and shops.

Ironman leaders Wednesday morning met with local business owners about the positive and potential negative impacts the event will have on the community.

"It's a 17 hour adventure. People have to know what's going on with Ironman Chattanooga," said Tim Morgan, president of the Chattanooga Sports Committee.

Sept. 28 will be an all-day affair but athletes, their families and their fans will stay in town for an average 4.5 days.

"There's going to be a significant amount of new money visitors coming to the area specifically for Ironman and they are going to spend their money and have an economic impact on our community," he said.

Conservatively, Morgan estimated the event will pump $8 million into the local economy. But there were a few questions and concerns at Wednesday's meeting. A St. Elmo restaurant representative asked about lane closures for the bike race portion. A hotel representative from downtown asked about feeding the athletes.

"It's just an unknown type of thing at this point. They mentioned linens and amount of supply that people will need and require," said Peter Guarneiri, Director of Sales and Marketing for Hilton Hotels of Downtown Chattanooga. "We may have to reach out to other communities that have done this in the past and see what they've done that's worked. We want to make sure these athletes certainly are very happy with our services as well."

A Chattanooga police sergeant was also at the meeting at the Choo Choo to talk traffic. Most roads needed for the bike and run will only require one lane closure.

The Ironman consists of a 2.4 mile swim in the Tennessee River, followed by a 112 mile bike ride through downtown and North Georgia, and topped off with 26.2 mile run through downtown and North Chattanooga.

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