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Sesquicentennial Economic Impact Report Released

The report states that while all of Manassas City benefited from the Sesquicentennial events in July, the shops and restaurants in Old Town saw a higher increase in sales.

The economic impact was measured by tax revenue collected by the city in July 2011 and compared to July 2010, according to a report by the Department of Community Development for the City of Manassas.

Additional data was also collected from the Sesquicentennial weekend of July 21 through July 24, 2011, and used in the report.

According to the report, Manassas City restaurants increased their revenue by $811,500 in July 2011 compared to the same month in 2010, which resulted in a 14 percent increase in meals tax collected by the city.

In Old Town, the City collected an additional 31 percent in meal taxes, and those restaurants enhanced their revenues with an additional $212,015. Old Town shops collected 55 percent more sales tax revenue in the same time period.

Sales tax throughout the rest of the City (outside of Old Town) was flat when compared to the same time period last year, the report said.

The report stated that Manassas as a whole benefited from the Sesquicentennial, though the shops and restaurants in Old Town Manassas saw a higher increase than elsewhere in the city.

One Old Town merchant said the best day of the Sesquicentennial surpassed even the best day of the holiday shopping season.

Although extreme heat played a major factor in visitor numbers, the City was successful in achieving  goals established for the Civil War Commemoration, according to the report, to include:

1) to offer, through diversity and inclusiveness, how Manassas and our region, played a significant role in the American Civil War

2) to promote the city

3) to benefit the community

4) to potentially create additional events that could be held for many years to come

5) to create economic development for the area and Old Town Manassas as well

 “The Sesquicentennial event was a significant undertaking, both in time and manpower, so we are very pleased with the positive economic impact to the city as well as the level of regional and national exposure that Manassas garnered..we wanted to put Manassas on the map and this event was a giant leap forward in making that happen,” said Elizabeth Via-Gossman, director of community development for the City of Manassas.

The events had a high cost and were also impacted by

In 2010,  the city voted to appropriate $274,400 for events leading up to the commemoration in July and for the commemorative celebration itself.

In February 2011, the Manassas City Council budgeted and appropriated an additional $330,799 for the four-day events to included staff compensation and supplies. The city also enhanced landscaping and other improvements leading up to the July events, the report stated.

An additional $79,000 was also budgeted for the Manassas Museum to retain two part time positions and conduct special exhibits and programs before and after the main events in July, according to the report.

The city's Finance Committee will also hear a resolution at tonight's meeting to amend this year's budget by an additional $123,332 to make up for low ticket sales. According to city documents, there were not enough tickets sold to cover all of the expenses incurred by Historic Manassas, Inc., and they are seeking reimbursement.

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