OUR OPINION: Tough Mudder a good deal for city
The City of Mansfield deserves praise for securing the return of the Tough Mudder event next year.
This year’s two-day event brought nearly 20,000 people to Mansfield to challenge themselves on the 12-mile extreme obstacle course.
More importantly, the event pumped $5.3 million to our local economy in the form of spending by organizers and participants. Part of that came from indirect or induced spending, a multiplier that pumps dollars into our economy from suppliers or others peripherally connected to the event.
Last year’s Tough Mudder challenge was hailed by participants and visitors as a huge success, nearly selling out despite several issues beyond the control of organizers.
When nearby parking fell through, organizers reacted quickly to find a suitable solution, using rented school buses and parking lots at the Richland Mall and the former GM plant.
Mother Nature also brought a rainstorm on the second day of the event, making the run through the mud even muddier.
After planning began for the event more than a year ago, Tough Mudder and the city entered a five-year agreement that located the course on city-owned land near Mansfield Lahm Airport. Tough Mudder agreed to pay the city $30,000 each year— even if the event were to be canceled.
Last month that became a very real possibility when Tough Mudder raised major issues about parking and— believe it not— too much mud.
Turns out Mansfield’s mud run was the muddiest run of Tough Mudder’s 52 venues this year. It was so muddy, in fact, that construction of the course nearly held up the race.
However, organizers came together to work out a deal that would provide nearby parking for 6,000 vehicles and allow for an access road for course construction. There is no question that Mansfield has many assets that can be leveraged in ways that benefit our community financially. One of those assets is our location between two of Ohio’s major metropolitan areas. This was a key element in Tough Mudder’s decision to bring their wildly popular extreme obstacle course here. The city’s ability to find a way to accommodate the needs of this business shows what can be done when local leaders work together.
This is the kind of action we expect from our elected leaders and we encourage similar behavior in the future.