Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed stated this week that the town will change the way it prepares for the annual Camellia Bowl after followers who traveled right here for the sport discovered lengthy traces, parking issues and few open venues.
“Georgia Southern introduced a terrific crowd right here. We would like them to come back again,” Reed stated. “On the identical time, we all know that we won’t put together for what we expect goes to be the group. We have now to organize for what often is the most crowd.”
The bowl sport normally lands on or earlier than Christmas Day, however this yr’s matchup between the Buffalo Bulls and Georgia Southern Eagles was performed at 11 am on Tuesday, Dec. 27. Some Bulls followers have been snowed in, however about 15,000 Eagles supporters streamed within the Monday earlier than the sport to seek out Christmas occasions over and plenty of downtown bars and eating places closed or short-staffed. The following morning, followers reported parking and visitors points at Cramton Bowl, and contours to get into the venue stretched down Madison Avenue.
Reed stated Tuesday that the town did a post-event audit and located miscues — “these with the town and people from companions.”
“We plan to implement a few of these options to make sure that it will not occur once more,” he advised the Montgomery Metropolis Council. “We understand that there must be extra collaboration between the town and our downtown retailers and retailers. We additionally should be sure that we tackle a number of the facility issues at Cramton Bowl that have been highlighted and introduced up.
“A few of these we have recognized about and need to repair. Some have been a bit of bit new.”
Followers on social media started sharing a number of the issues they bumped into right here within the days after the sport. Since then, a domestically owned Georgia Southern Eagles retail retailer has produced a line of commemorative shirts printed with, “I survived Montgomery 12/27/22,” and the phrases “always remember” over the Alabama state define.
Montgomery Parks and Recreation Director David Carr stated the town evaluate discovered three particular, crucial points on sport day:
- Ticketing. Carr stated the will-call course of led to the lengthy waits that some followers endured to enter the stadium. He stated the town plans to work with others to alter how the method is dealt with as soon as followers arrive. “We expect we’re in fine condition with what we’ll do sooner or later,” he stated. “… We did not have any points on the different gates, however the will-call gate was the No. 1 gate.”
- Concessions. Carr stated the problem was not with how a lot meals or drink was obtainable, however the lengthy wait to get it. “As a matter of truth, talking with our concessionaire, we needed to toss out hamburgers and scorching canines on the finish as a result of they weren’t bought,” he stated. Town plans to arrange a brand new pedestrian space between the east and west bleachers the place meals vans and different concession suppliers can arrange as a part of the venue to serve followers quicker.
- Parking. There was no free parking across the stadium, and typically, touring followers have been compelled to pay $20 to park at numerous public tons. Carr stated the town plans to convey again a shuttle service and work with companions to make use of tons round downtown through the sport.
“I believe we’ve a game-plan to handle these issues going ahead,” Carr stated.
Ron Simmons, who leads the Montgomery Space Chamber of Commerce’s tourism workforce, apologized to followers for the issues within the days after the sport. He stated the chamber will likely be working to show round these adverse impressions.
“I do not need us to be outlined by this,” Simmons stated in December. “Numerous locations did some actually good issues, however sadly it is overshadowed by issues that weren’t completed as nicely. However I promise you this, we’ll enhance it. That I do know.”
Shannon Heupel contributed to this story. Brad Harper covers enterprise and native authorities for the Montgomery Advertiser. Contact him email@example.com.