Boys Sweet 16 takes over downtown Lexington
"We feel blessed to be able to have this happen right next door to us," said Rob Perez, owner of Saul Good. "The people come in in droves and it really helps our business."
Of course, restaurants aren’t the only businesses enjoying the influx of people. Hotels and merchandise stores are getting a big bump as well.
Niki Heichelbech, with the Convention and Visitors Bureau says, "We’ve got folks coming in from all over wanting to know what to do when they’re not in the games, and then, of course, where to eat and where to go out and have a good time at night."
The Convention and Visitors Bureau doesn’t have an exact dollar amount of how much the tournament helps Lexington’s economy, but estimate the figure in the tens of thousands.
The added business is a huge boost for downtown Lexington, but for the locals comes a more irksome side effect: increased traffic.
Lexington Police are advising all drivers to expect heavier congestion especially around noon and six p.m. Officers say to leave early, be patient and watch for people crossing the street.
"If you don’t need to be in the downtown area, I would avoid it," says Lt. Chad Bacon.
Officers expect the tournament and traffic to be busiest on Thursday. They say if you can find any alternate route around downtown, you’re likely to avoid some serious delays.