Our Opinion: Changes coming to cross country championship

The host city and venue remain the same, but fans of the state cross country championship will experience some changes this year.

For the first time in its 30-year history, admission will be charged by the sponsoring organization, the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA).

The championship again will be held at Oak Hills Golf Center on Ellis Boulevard, which organizers this year plan to convert, for one day, to a one-way street to accommodate traffic.

The one-way conversion would create three lanes, two for through traffic and one for parking and bus stops.

Advisories and signs would prepare motorists for the Nov. 5 event.

For three decades, the local economy has been a beneficiary of hosting a sporting event of this magnitude.

The state cross country championship draws an estimated 400 high school teams — 200 boys teams and 200 girls teams — and attracts about 6,000 people, according to the Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB).

The economic impact for our community averages $80,000 annually, according to the CVB, based on room nights that range from 500-700 each year.

The decision to charge admission was made by MSHSAA, which charges for attendance at other events. Because the cross country venue is not an enclosed area, a front perimeter fence will be established with four admission booths.

Change — particularly following a 30-year history — often requires a period of adjustment.

We urge organizers to continue providing information and we encourage fans to be flexible as the cross country championship undergoes changes.

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