GREENWOOD, Ind. (April 3, 2015)-- Downtown Indianapolis isn't the only place getting the love this Final Four weekend. Our suburban communities are also preparing for lots of visitors, and the money they'll bring. It's a rainy Friday at the Greenwood Municipal Airport, on the eve of the semifinal games in downtown Indianapolis.
"We really expected a lot of teams and the alumni and their fan bases to come flying in," said Lori Curless, Airport Manager.
Curless is a bit blue though, with small aircraft rain is not your friend. A dozen calls and prospective landings days ago turned into just a handful by Friday afternoon.
"In the middle of the week when they were predicting thunderstorms, that's when we saw calls canceling their flights. They were either going to go elsewhere or take commercial or drive," she said.
Curless said she thinks they'll get some surprise arrivals. Customers will be greeted by a renovated terminal and crew rooms. But with the four teams within driving distance, hotels in the area expect spur-of-the-moment guests, too.
"The whole region benefits from these giant events like Final Four because our hotel occupancy is spiked. We're virtually sold out," said Christian Maslowski, President and CEO of the Greater Greenwood Chamber of Commerce.
Maslowski said a big Final Four in Indianapolis means a big win for Greenwood.
Visitors that stay in area hotels will eat in area restaurants, meaning tax money stays in Johnson County, despite all the action in Indianapolis.
"Not only an economic impact for the local businesses but also for our community because those taxes reinvest right into public safety and parks and recreation and schools," said Maslowski.
Craig Spencer at Main Street Grille is banking on a crowd. He's bumped up staff and has a welcome sign at the door. Now it's time to let the games begin.
"Like to fill this place up," he said.