Wichita will host the YMCA National Gymnastics competition in June 2015, city and YMCA officials said Wednesday.
More than 5,000 visitors – including more than 1,200 athletes from YMCAs nationwide – are expected to travel to Wichita for the event, creating an economic impact of more than $2.7 million, said Susie Santo, president and CEO of the Go Wichita Visitors and Conventions Bureau.
Go Wichita is working with the Greater Wichita YMCA and Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission to host the 77th annual event, which is scheduled for June 23-27 at Century II. Tickets will be available next spring.
The Wichita YMCA was chosen because of the strength of its facilities, the support the YMCA receives from the community and the affordability and family appeal of the downtown area, said Jim Weaton, YMCA national director of events.
“We were hard-pressed to find a more organized and more efficiently run YMCA than in Wichita,” Weaton said. “I would certainly put Wichita in the top 10 YMCAs in the country.
“They’ve done a phenomenal job in the last few years, and that kind of growth takes a real partnership between the facility and the community.”
The location and diversity of programs the YMCA offers make it unique, said Jim Korroch, volunteer chair of the Greater Wichita YMCA board of directors.
“We see a diverse range of people using the facilities, from the business crowd during weekdays and kids from area schools to families on the weekends,” Korroch said. “In this very basketball court we served food and gave coats to the homeless during winter, and now we’re in here talking about how we’ll bring an economic impact of millions of dollars to the city.”
Santo said the event will have a lasting impact on Wichita.
“What we know is that when visitors come to Wichita they have a great time,” she said. “This event will introduce people to Wichita who have never been here before and give families memories for a lifetime.”