Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Festival Benefits Workers Economic Benefits Include Employment

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Festival Benefits Workers Economic Benefits Include Employment

Article excerpt

Around 3:30 every morning through July 10, food-service workers will be packing ham-and-cheese sandwiches into box lunches.

They don't mind the early hours. For most of the summer, they've had no work at all. They are among the 60 extra workers for Marriott Educational Food Service who have been brought in from summer layoff to help feed the 3,000 athletes in the U.S. Olympic Festival.

Marriott's increased payroll for the two weeks will be about $33,000.

From Lake Saint Louis to Edwardsville, the festival is making an impact on the bottom line - and the employment line - of local businesses.

A study commissioned by the Festival's local organizing committee predicted that the area would reap $23 million. That takes into account such factors as out-of-towners staying in hotels and buying gasoline, local festival-goers eating out and parking, the added working hours to serve the athletes - and the ripple effect of this money circulating in the local economy.

Add to that another ripple effect of millions of dollars in construction and renovation of the sports facilities for the events, and the study predicted a total economic impact of around $77 million.

That trickles down in interesting ways:

Bi-State Development Agency has contracted with seven private bus carriers - mostly school bus operators - to put more than 100 extra shuttles on the road every day of the festival. They'll move around athletes and officials and fill in mass-transit service to 19 of the 37 festival sites.

The festival committee is spending $210,000 through Bi-State for everything from gasoline to added MetroLink trains to added salaries for bus drivers.

Mid Rivers Mall in St. Peters is handing out a booklet of merchant coupons to festival patrons who park at the mall and ride a free shuttle to the new St. …

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