gmhTODAY 14 gmhToday May June 2017 - Page 29

competitions and training programs, which generate revenues for the Sports Center as well as local hotels and restaurants. Morgan Hill has the Morgan Hill Outdoor Sports Center, the Centennial Recreation Center and the Morgan Hill Aquatics Center. Gilroy is looking at an expansion of its Sports Park to create yet another regional draw. Agritourism is something South County continues to develop. “The Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail is an excellent example. Morgan Hill, San Martin, Gilroy and the county all got on board to make it happen. People like to come and tour the wineries and our downtowns for food and entertainment,” Tate said. “Gilroy is making a big push in conjunction with Morgan Hill to help market our local wineries, to make people north of us aware that we have world-class wineries,” Velasco added. When it comes to food-themed events, the Gilroy Garlic Festival is now in its 39 th year. Other big regional draws are Morgan Hill’s annual Mushroom Mardi Gras, now in its 38 th year, and the Taste of Morgan Hill events. The Gilroy Welcome Center has done a fabulous job promoting tourism in Gilroy and by association in all of the South County. The same is true with the Morgan Hill Downtown Association and the Tourism Alliance. Major events fill hotels in both Gilroy and Morgan Hill. “South County has a strong agricultural heritage, as opposed to having been ‘developed out’ like the rest of the county,” Tate said. “Our farms, ranches, wineries, nurseries, and tree farms have shaped our regional identity since the beginning. We also have a stronger representation of Hispanic communities than the rest of Santa Clara County, as do Hollister and Monterey. We don’t do a lot with those cities, but from a cultural aspect, we could explore the possibility of regional initiatives.” “If Santa Clara County were to win designation as a National Heritage Area, it would make our county the first area west of the Mississippi to win this distinction,” Velasco said. “People from South County communities are currently engaged in a countywide effort to apply for this designation. Agriculture holds a special place in our local, regional, state and national history. It’s something for us to be proud of.” TM Regionalism and Quality of Life “Gilroy and Morgan Hill are experiencing gro ݥ̰)ݡ́ѡtY͍ͅq]ѠѡаݔٔѼ)䰁ݡٕȁͥɅѥѼѹȁݡɔݔ)͡ɔѕɕ̸5剔ӊéɽхєͱѽ́)ѥձȁՔ剔ӊéЁѡ!MI])݅ЁѼЁѡхѥݥѠѡ̰Օ)䁑̸ͥ5ȁQє$ٔѡˊé)յ́ݽeЁͥхєѼѡȻt)ɑѼQєq]܁Քȁչ)ə̰ӊéхЁѼ͕ٕ̰ͬɽаaMձݔ)Ёѡ́ɕd%ӊéѵ́ѕи]ѡ)ѕ啅́MѠ չݥݕɕ镐ѕɵ́)٥ɕѥ丁]݅ЁѼɕѡЁݡ)ɕ͕٥ѡՅ䁽ѡЁɽ՝Ё́ɔѡ)Ёt)%1I=d5=I8!%10M85IQ%8)5d)U9)ѽ乍(