The President of the Special Olympics announced Monday that the first-ever U.S. summer games will be held in Ames in 2006. Iowa Special Olympics President Rich Fellingham says the process began several months ago. He says the national office decided about eight months ago that it wanted to do the event, and then they opened it up to bids from state organizations. Fellingham says there are 52 state organizations, including two in California and one in the District of Columbia. He says those who’ve attended the Iowa version of the summer games will see a lot of similarities. He says the event will be much larger, except for the number of athletes, which will be about the same as the Iowa summer games. Special Olympics estimates the national games will bring some $6 million into the Ames economy — something that pleases Ames Mayor Ted Tedesco. He says when someone visits, a dollar turns over about five times. Tedesco expects some 50,000 people will visit during the games. Tedesco says the games will have an impact on the state that can’t be measured in dollars. He says people will come back to the state that we don’t know came here first because of this event. The Special Olympics national summer games are scheduled for July of 2006.
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