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September 25, 2009

 

City to grant $700,000 if Gay Games come here

Selection to be made September 29

Cleveland--The city’s bid to host the 2014 Gay Games got another boost on September 14 when Cleveland City Council approved a $700,000 grant to assist the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission in putting on the event.

The money comes from the repayment of city loans made to development projects in the 1980s and 1990s, primarily large downtown sites.

It will only be spent if the Federation of Gay Games selects Cleveland as the host city for 2014.

That decision will be made during the organization’s annual meeting in Cologne, Germany, from September 26 to October 2, with the vote on September 29.

The Cleveland Synergy Foundation is working with the city of Cleveland, the Cuyahoga County commissioners, Positively Cleveland and the Akron-Summit Convention and Visitor’s Bureau to bring the Games to northeast Ohio.

Cleveland’s $700,000 comes in addition to $1.3 million in in-kind donations, such as police and other logistical support, plus facilities like Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Supporters of the bid believe that the Gay Games could bring over $60 million into Northeast Ohio’s economy.

“We’re showing in good faith that we want to bring the Gay Games here and are willing to put up some cash,” said city economic development director Tracey Nichols. “We need to show that this is a strong commitment.”

She is optimistic about the outcome of the September 29 vote.

“I think we are going to blow Boston and Washington out of the water,” she said of the other two cities still in the running.

In addition to Cleveland’s support, the Akron/Summit Convention and Visitors Bureau pledged $100,000 for marketing and promotion. Should the Federation choose Cleveland, the rodeo would be held at the Summit County Fairgrounds in Tallmadge, and the golfing events would be at the Firestone Golf Course in Akron.

“The Akron/Summit Convention and Visitors Bureau recognizes the tremendous opportunity Northeast Ohio will be afforded as the host of the 2014 Gay Games,” said president Su san Hamo. “Throughout the entire bid process, our staff has been dedicated to providing the necessary in-kind support to develop the comprehensive bid proposal and to host the site selection committee.”

The committee came to town in late July, and were treated to a massive soiree at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Thousands attended the event, far beyond the museum’s actual capacity, and the only factor keeping people from being turned away at the gates was the steady stream of guests entering and exiting.

The day before the vote is taken, each of the three potential host cities will be allowed to make a final presentation. A Cleveland delegation left this week for Cologne to give their proposal another boost.

The Gay Games have been held once in the Midwest, in Chicago three years ago, and once on the East Coast, in New York City in 1994. However, Cleveland is more centrally located than Chicago overall, and has a lower cost for travel and hotel rooms than either Boston or Washington, D.C.

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