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COL Keep the barrow show

We are part of The Trust Project.

Austin's matching funds would be money well spent

The city of Austin this week took what we hope is the first step toward keeping the National Barrow Show in Austin this fall.

The city's finance committee voted to match, up to $5,000, any financial support that Mower County provides.

Chamber of Commerce Director Sandy Forstner said $12,000 to $15,000 from the city, county and other sources is needed to set up for the show at the Mower County Fairgrounds and clean up afterward.

We believe the money will be well spent and urge our local government officials to make what we consider to be a rather nominal financial commitment, when you consider the returns on this investment.

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Forstner estimates that the annual event, which was canceled last year because of the hoof-and-mouth scare, brings an estimated 3,000 people to Austin in early September. These visitors from all over the nation and abroad stay in local hotels, eat at local restaurants and shop at local stores -- giving the community a welcome economic jolt. Other communities in the area also benefit, with exhibitors filling hotels as far away as Dexter and Albert Lea.

Last year, after the event was canceled, Forstner estimated that Austin businesses would collectively lose about $250,000 worth of business. It would be a shame to see the community take the same kind of hit in 2002 and years to come.

So, it would behoove the city and county to do what it can, financially and otherwise, to keep the barrow show in Austin.

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