Public/Private Partnership at its Finest


Local residents passing the Foley Event Center, soccer complex and OWA last weekend could not help but notice the bustling activities happening throughout the facilities.

Cars from out of the area jammed the soccer complex while the event center also had parking lots full to overflowing.

The parking lots were full next door too. OWA was hopping.  The amusement rides were in full swing, sidewalks were packed with shoppers and lines for the restaurants were out the door.

The crowds represented all ages, but appeared to be mostly families with children of various ages.  And not just moms and dads but also grandparents, siblings and friends visiting our area and making a family weekend centered around their sports participation.

Five years ago, The Poarch Creek band of the Creek Indian tribe and the City of Foley conceived a plan for a private/public partnership to build an amusement and entertainment district next to a sports complex operated by The City of Foley.

The tribe did extensive research about exactly what would attract families for wholesome entertainment saying they were planning to attract as a target customer a 13-year-old girl and her extended family … little brother, grandparents and best friends.

Meanwhile the City of Foley constructed impressive indoor and outdoor sports facilities to attract large soccer and sporting events from throughout the region.

The benefits of that public/private partnership were on full display last weekend and show the wisdom and accuracy of the original vision. Wholesome family activities abounded and our economy benefited from the synergy generated between the two first-class facilities.

OWA and The City of Foley have created a new reason for visitors to come to our area, enjoy their families and hopefully spread the word back home about the excitement in Baldwin County.  The tribe and city efforts add to the extensive successful marketing messaging that our Convention and Visitor Bureau creates about wholesome family activity at our beaches.

Kudos to the City of Foley and Tribal leaders for creating a vision, and, investing in successful, family-centric tourism that benefits us all.  These leaders have made our community better.