Events give "bump" to Cedar Rapids after floods - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Events give "bump" to Cedar Rapids after floods

CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - Events like the Iowa High School Girl's State Volleyball Tournament are staying in Cedar Rapids, despite flood damage to many of the venues that host them. That's according to Mary Lee Malmberg, Director of Sports Tourism for the Cedar Rapids Area Convention and Visitor's Bureau.

"Girl's state volleyball is a huge event for Cedar Rapids," she says. She tells us it's big-ticket events like the tournament, that will help revitalize downtown and the rest of the city. "Direct spending is really what we track here in town, which is where I trade dollars with you directly. It will range from $1.8 to $2 million for this event."

Mike Dick, Executive Director of the Iowa Girl's High School Athletic Union, worried the tournament would need a new home after the floods. But a visit to the U.S. Cellular Center in September convinced him to keep it here. "Everything was good. They'd had a big concert the night before, so we knew we were in good hands and ready to go." The tournament is now contracted to stay in Cedar Rapids through 2015.

Malmberg says several other national sporting events, such as soccer and even horseshoes, have already signed contracts with the city. "They feel this is a great way to help us in our recovery."

President of the Visitor's Bureau Tim Boyle says the flood did its worst to many of the city's venues, but says most event coordinators have found ways to work around that, to keep their business here. "We lost, at least temporarily, lots of cultural assets. The Czech and Slovak Museum, the African-American Museum, the Theater Cedar Rapids, The Paramount [Theater], but everybody's been pretty creative in finding new spaces and new ways to put on a play, a concert, a show, or whatever it might be."

Visit our sports page to see the latest results from the State Volleyball tournament.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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