April 15, 2011
The gap separating the Washington State Special Olympics Winter Games and its host city for the past 20 years, Wenatchee, has been narrowed to 20 thousand dollars. Roger Klute with the Wenatchee Convention Bureau announced Thursday that he intends to recommend that funding be made available through the local Tourism Promotion Fund . .
Roger Klute’s announcement came during a meeting attended by about 50 interested community members who gathered to brainstorm ideas on how to keep the games in Wenatchee and raise the necessary to money to accomplish that. Steve Hair attended the meeting and filed a report..
Special Olympics has notified the City that it can not afford to return because of costs related to the future use of Mission Ridge Ski Resort. Special Olympics Vice President, John Borgonion says the organization can’t afford what Mission Ridge is willing to donate. .
Mission Ridge Ski Resort’s Marketing Director Jeri Barkley defended the resort’s contributions to the event over the past 20 years. She said in today’s economy the resort can’t absorb the 80-thousand dollars in costs it donates to the event. She directed her comments to Borgonion and Wenatchee Special Olympics coordinator, Carol Morrel . .
Barkley encouraged those at the meeting to come up with alternative ideas for financing the games. There were a few ideas floated around at the meeting that was moderated by Wenatchee Valley Sport Council Marketing Director, Eric Granstrom. He sounded encouraged afterwards . .
The three-day Winter Games attracts over 15-hundred athletes from all over the State generating over 800-thousand dollars for the local economy.
Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce Manager, Craig Larsen expressed optimism that a financial solution can be found. He urged Special Olympics to commit to a long term deal and let the Community raise the needed money . .
And Borgononi says Larsen’s suggestion is something Special Olympics might be interested in pursuing . .Special Olympics has said a final decision in the matter will be made in June.