Weekend baseball tournament bringing thousands to city

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 4, 2000

This weekend’s Governor’s Cup baseball tournament at Halls Ferry Park will bring thousands of visitors and dollars to Vicksburg, but it will also bring some traffic headaches, South Ward Alderman Sam Habeeb said.

Traffic will be heaviest at the park’s entrances on South Frontage Road, especially between games and this evening, when tournament traffic will combine with normal rush-hour traffic, Habeeb said. The tournament begins at 5 this afternoon.

“It’s always something we have to deal with, but we’re just going to have to get the police department out there and direct traffic the best way they know how,” Habeeb said.

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He also encouraged families to plan ahead to avoid making a lot of trips in and out of the park. Habeeb also recommended that visitors staying near the Vicksburg National Military Park travel along South Frontage Road instead of navigating the intersection with Halls Ferry Road.

“My best suggestion would be to try to come to the park early or plan a day out so you can avoid coming in and out of the park too many times,” said Habeeb, who is in charge of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.

With 43 teams and nearly 500 players in the tournament, plus their families, Habeeb estimated the tournament will bring $40,000 to $60,000 to local businesses.

The largest chunk of that amount is expected to come from hotel and motel rooms. Most of the city’s larger inns have filled already, several managers said.

“We have a few rooms here, but we’re basically full,” Battlefield Inn manager Linda Hollowell said. Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn manager Greg Eslick said the tournament, combined with normal summer business and conventions, have caused him to turn some tournament teams away.

“Both of our hotels have been full for some time,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of calls for other teams, but we just haven’t had room.”

The tournament will end Sunday.