Dayton is fishing for dollars and catches CBS’s Eye

ON A COOL THURSDAY MORNING — BEFORE SUNRISE — NEARLY 200 BASS FISHING BOATS LAUNCH FROM A SMALL DOCK IN DAYTON, TENNESSEE.

WHILE THE ANGLERS COMPETE TO HOOK THE BIGGEST BASS IN CHICKAMAUGA LAKE, THE TOWN IS CASHING IN. SO SAYS DENNIS TUMLIN, THE HEAD OF THE COUNTY’S ECONOMIC AND TOURISM COUNCIL.

How much money has fishing brought to your community of Dayton?

DENNIS TUMLIN: “The– our statistics show us that about $14 million new dollars came into town last year.”

14-MILLION DOLLARS IN THINGS LIKE FOOD, LODGING, AND NEW TAX REVENUE. THAT’S A BIG DEAL FOR THIS SMALL TOWN OF 72-HUNDRED IN SOUTH EAST TENNESSEE.

Mayor: “We now have a tournament that comes in here with 400 boats.”

MAYOR GARY LOUALLEN WAS RAISED IN DAYTON.

DANA JACOBSON:
“Tell me what Dayton was like when you were growin’ up here?”

GARY LOUALLEN:
“It’s– it was just a small country town, had a little country stores–”

IT’S ALSO A TOWN THAT’S BEEN STRUGGLING SINCE THE RECESSION.

DAYTON IS IN THE HEART OF RHEA COUNTY — ONE OF THE MORE DEPRESSED AREAS OF TENNESSEE, BASED ON STATISTICS THAT INCLUDE POVERTY RATE, HOUSEHOLD INCOME, AND UNEMPLOYMENT.

BUT WHEN MAYOR LOUALLEN WAS ELECTED FOUR YEARS AGO, HE HAD A PLAN TO TURN AROUND DAYTON’S ECONOMY.

GARY LOUALLEN SAYS “It started out with the council.//I fished and I went to them with an idea and said, “Guys, if you’ll trust me and run with me– on this and– and go along with this,” I said, “fishin’ could really make it good for us. ”

URNS OUT DAYTON WAS SITTING ON A SECRET:

nats boat in lake

CHICKAMAUGA LAKE IS MORE THAN 50 MILES LONGA, AND BOASTS SOME OF THE BEST BASS FISHING IN THE SOUTH.

IN 2014, THE TOWN BEGAN SHARING THEIR LOCAL TREASURE, USING IT TO REEL IN SOME BIG TIME…

Read the full article from the Source…

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