Boy Scouts easing their way into W.Va.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Some local businesses are feeling the ripple effects from more than 40,000 Boy Scouts, volunteers and staff flocking to Fayette County for next week's 2013 National Scout Jamboree.
Charleston hotels, restaurants and modes of transportation are preparing for the influx by increasing staff, beefing up security and making sure accommodations are in place as thousands come through the area.
Holiday Inn Express General Manager Rusty Eaton said while the hotel has not yet seen much advance demand, he still anticipates Scouts will fill up many rooms.
"We're expecting a pretty big influx of individuals," he said.
"A lot of people will be making last minute reservations, and we've picked up a lot of residual businesses - Air National Guard and others that are pretty good for Charleston and certainly for our hotel."
Eaton said the hotel still has a few rooms available each night next week, but he believes they will soon fill up.
Local favorite Pies and Pints Pizzeria is hoping those Scouts will stop by the restaurant for a slice or two - and the staff there is ready for them to do just that.
"We are staffed up properly," General Manager Chris Warner said.
"We are preparing for larger parties and how to accommodate that over the weekend - especially for the week before and week after the retreat. That's our strategy, and we plan to execute it properly. We're looking forward to the business."
In addition to Charleston Town Center's banner welcoming Scouts to town and housing an information booth to distribute materials, the mall is also making final preparations for the Scout invasion.
"We've alerted merchants and restaurants," said Lisa McCracken, marketing director for the mall. "We also have some extra security on hand that we have brought on this summer, which is not necessarily for the Boy Scouts, but we have an increased security team and added some additional guards."
McCracken said mall management also moved up a Disney teen star appearance to this Saturday - when many Scouts will be coming through town.
"We scheduled Peyton List, who is a teen star on the Disney TV show 'Jessie.' She plays the role of Emma, " McCracken said. "Normally we bring a teen star later in July, but we wanted to bring them in earlier this year to have it as an offering for guys and girls involved in Scouting."
Brian Belcher, Yeager Airport's director of marketing and air service development, said the airport is already seeing volunteers and staff flying in from all over the country.
"We didn't have a total Boy Scout count, but we knew the staff and volunteers would be flying in here for the most part," Belcher said. "They're leaving every two hours - from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. - this week. Staff is waiting on buses or loading to go to the Jamboree."
The airport is staying busy with uniform-clad staff members and is prepared to stage extra buses if necessary.
Belcher said the airport also is prepared to accommodate Scouts and other staff at the terminal if needed.
He said a concerned mother called notifying him that her son, who is a Scout, will arrive later than the shuttle. He said while the airport would do that anyway, Belcher said there is also a military room in the lobby that can accommodate Scouts and staff who need to spend the night there.
The airport will continue to fly in many of the staff and volunteers through the remainder of the week, and Scouts may be coming in a little later on.
"We can only take as many seats as we have - our preparations are to handle the maximum amount of traffic. And we're seeing heavy loads."
"We're just really prepared to handle whatever it is, whatever comes our way."
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