State volleyball a spike for downtown Cedar Rapids - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

State volleyball a spike for downtown Cedar Rapids

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Eastern Iowa's largest city is expecting a big week to the tune of nearly $2 million.

Cedar Rapids is hosting the state volleyball tournament for the 23rd year in a row. 

Laura Albrecht drove all the way to Cedar Rapids to cheer Ankeny Centennial to victory.

"I think we're going to hang around for a little while," said Albrecht. "We're going to watch Ankeny -- they're in their fifth game so we're going to cheer for them as well -- and then go out to lunch and hang out for a little while."

She was one of many people that kept downtown restaurants busy during the lunch rush and filled all but one or two of the 267 rooms at the city's new Doubletree by Hilton hotel.

The state volleyball tournament is expected to bring in around $1.8 million for Cedar Rapids.

"We are delighted to have girls' state volleyball," said Mary Lee Malmberg, director of sports tourism for the Cedar Rapids Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. "There is a special excitement that comes back to the community when girls' state volleyball is here."

This is the first time since 2010 the tournament has been held downtown after the U.S. Cellular Center closed for renovations.

"Whenever you close a facility like this, you do worry that you'll have a place for them to go," said Malmberg.

The Center has reopened, but the city convinced the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union to move to the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena for two years, promising a better downtown when the tournament moved back with more restaurants and hotel rooms for fans to choose from.

Since state volleyball began in Cedar Rapids in 1991, visitors have spent $33 million in the city. Cedar Rapids has a contract to host the games through 2016.

The Cedar Valley also gets a big boost thanks to high school sports this time of year. The football semi-finals and finals are being held at the UNI-Dome starting Thursday.

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