SportsEvents Magazine

NOV 2016

SportsEvents is edited for those who plan tournaments or other sports events.

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Page 15 of 59

Water Crisis In Flint In April 2014, lead was introduced to the city of Flint's drinking water due to a cost-cutting move at the municipal level. The crisis was limited to water lines managed by the city and did not impact the other 20 municipalities in the county, according to Bob Campbell, APR, senior communications manager with the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce. But once the city's predicament made national news, a perception problem ensued. In fact, the 2016 Central Collegiate Women's Hockey Association (CCWHA) league tournament was actively looking for a new destination to host its event before Mona Murphy CMP, CTA, CSEE, sports sales manager with the Flint & Genesee Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), intervened. "One of our schools told their team they would not allow them to travel to an area that was in a crisis," said Molly Mahoney, CCWHA commissioner. "When this happened, I immediately reached out to Mona to let her know that we might have to change locations. She immediately went out of her way to gather information, relo- cate our teams to hotels that were not using city water and answered all of the questions and concerns that we had." Ultimately, the league kept the tour- nament of six Division I teams and four Division II teams in Flint but overcoming perception was not easy. Murphy was tasked with gathering news articles, state- ments and maps showing where the crisis was, where the group would be staying and how they would avoid the areas of concern. "Our [city] water is basically poison for our residents. Who can argue with that?" Murphy said, empathizing with the event planner's plight. "I knew my teams were protected but when it hit nationally, that re- ally sparked a lot of concern and questions. Then it was up to us to act quickly and put out those fires." Ultimately, the decision to stay was made based on a relationship of trust built between the City of Flint and CCWHA. Master Disaster SPECIAL Feature t BY SELENA CHAVIS Seasoned event planners know that all events have one thing in common — the unexpected. And while most planners expect some headaches and issues to arise, disaster readiness and response is a category unto itself. The reality is that no one-size-fits- all best practice response to disaster exists because every crisis is differ- ent. From the threat of Zika in the Caribbean and the water crisis in Flint, MI, to flooding in Baton Rouge, LA, we explore how sports event planners and destinations are weighing the pros and cons, and making informed decisions that consider safety and participant expectations. An Inside Look At Disaster Response November 2016 16

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