McDonnell to seek $1 million for commemoration event

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The tall ships are coming back to Virginia.  Gov. Bob McDonnell said Wednesday that he will seek a $1 million budget amendment to support a commemoration of the War of 1812 that will feature OpSail 2012. This parade of tall ships and naval vessels from around the world filled hotel rooms in Hampton Roads when it last visited the state 10 years ago.

OpSail 2012 starts in New Orleans in May and will reach Virginia from June 6th until June 12th.

“This state support for OpSail 2012 is exactly that kind of targeted investment and will leverage significant private sector dollars,” McDonnell said in a statement. “State funds will be invested specifically in activities that generate revenue and jobs for our localities and citizens.”

In 2012,  OpSail generated an estimated $58 million in the Hampton Roads economy and attracted 2 million visitors to the region, McDonnell said. Local hotels were 90 to 100 percent full.

The event also would provide an opportunity to showcase the Port of Virginia.

OpSail 2012 is expected to generate $150 million in spending, according to Bill Magann, president of the W.F.Magann Corp. and chairman of OpSail 2012.

The $1 million in state funding is expected to leverage $80 million from private, foundation and other public-sector groups.

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