Special Olympics Brings Big Boost to Stevens Point Economy

By: Colleen McPartlin
By: Colleen McPartlin

This summer-like weather isn't all bad; it actually may be partly to thank for the big turnout at the games.

The city of Stevens Point is well prepared to take on the thousands of people who head there for the Special Olympics. The summer games have actually been held there now since 1979.

The Convention and Visitors Bureau expects nearly 1,800 athletes, 500 coaches, 1,100 volunteers and 5,000 spectators to head to Stevens Point for the Special Olympics Wisconsin State Summer Games, and those people are bound to drop a little cash while they're there.

Sara Brish of the Stevens Point Convention and Visitor's Bureau says, "We anticipate that the Stevens Point area will see nearly a million dollars in expenditures over the course of two days."

After last year's games were interrupted with thunder and lightening, the sunny days were welcomed by this year's athletes and their families.

Lynne Schroeder, a mother of Special Olympics Athlete, says, "I have a feeling more people have come because of the nicer weekend; more people tend to stay away when it's wet and rainy."

And while some of the families didn't stay at hotels, the Convention and Visitor's Bureau says the hotels in town were mostly all booked up, not to mention that there are several other ways to spend money.

Brish says, "Gas stations, restaurants, shops and attractions throughout the city."

She says this is one of the biggest events in Stevens Point throughout the year, and as more events come to Point, the better it looks to attract more tourists to the area.

The families of the athletes say they spent anywhere from the cost of a few souvenirs to a couple hundred for hotel and accommodations, but they all agreed that it was worth it to see their athletes enjoying the games.