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Putting Warwick in the winner’s circle

There’s no denying that the local youth sports scene is huge. But what happens when you combine the already thriving local groups with those from across the region? Those playing the games may hear the sounds of cheering fans and encouraging coaches, but those from the city hear only one thing: cha-ching.

Starting on Friday, Warwick played host to the New England Regional Figure Skating Championships, a competition that drew nearly 200 competitors to the city’s Thayer Arena. With the skaters, came parents, friends, coaches and cheering squads, all injecting dollars into the local economy.

Karen Jedson, executive director for the city’s Economic Development Department, said they expect the impact to exceed estimates. They also projected about 1,600 hotel rooms were booked over the course of the championship.

What Jedson hopes is that this competition will lead to larger ones in the future, which means even more stimulus for the city.

And that’s a very good thing, especially considering the fact that those who organized the event said the tough economic climate made it difficult for them to get major sponsorship. By sticking their necks out to put together a $100,000 event like this, those from Warwick Figure Skaters (the local organizing committee) have done us all a favor.

Events like this week’s happen quite frequently, too. Winslow Park, which will be relocated to airport land off Lakeshore Drive, plays host to many regional ball games. There are hockey, soccer, softball and baseball tournaments held here, too.

By bringing in people from across the region, our local hotels, retail shops and restaurants reap the rewards.

It’s good for tourism, too. With the chance to spend a few days in the state, visitors have the opportunity to explore and discover, and maybe decide they’d like to return sometime soon.

It’s an economic and cultural win for the state.

So while the skaters take to the ice and compete for the chance to move on to the next round of competition in Hyannis, those from the city are relishing their every moment spent here in Rhode Island.

The New England Regional Figure Skating Championships aren’t just a time for the competitors to come out on top; it’s a time for Warwick to win big, too.


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