Grants awarded to bring in tourneys

October 27th, 2017

By Dave Gong | The Journal Gazette

Four sports tournaments were awarded Sports Development Grants from the city of Fort Wayne, Mayor Tom Henry and Visit Fort Wayne officials announced Thursday. 

“Every year, Visit Fort Wayne and the city of Fort Wayne sit down and try to figure out a way to continue to make the city of Fort Wayne as attractive as possible, particularly in the area of sports,” Henry said. “Once again, this year we're going to be able to position ourselves to offer some additional monies to help those organizations that want to bring some sporting events to Fort Wayne, to put them in a position to be able to do just that.” 

The city is providing $20,000 in grant funds to help Visit Fort Wayne book these tournaments, which are expected to bring a combined 3,700 people to Fort Wayne and generate $1.7 million in economic impact.

The tournaments that received grants:

  • OneHockey: 2017 Fort Wayne Forecheck (2,000 attendees)
  • Adaptive Sports USA: 2018 Junior Nationals (500 attendees)
  • U.S. Figure Skating: 2019 Sectional Figure Skating Championship (500 attendees)
  • International Jugglers' Association: 2019 Festival (700 attendees)

Each will be the first time the events are held in Fort Wayne. 

The Adaptive Sports USA Junior Nationals is the largest longstanding multisports event for youth with a physical disability and/or visual impairment.

The reputation of Turnstone, which provides comprehensive services to adults and children with disabilities, helped influence the decision to bring the tournament to the city, Visit Fort Wayne CEO Dan O'Connell said. 

“Turnstone has worked very hard to position Fort Wayne as a leader in adaptive sports and they've been building a tremendous résumé,” O'Connell said. 

The goal for that tournament is to have 400 athletes come to town and participate, Turnstone Director Mike Mushett said. Competitors will come from all 50 states in ages ranging from 7 to 22. 

“This is a very important event in the Paralympic pipeline, the development of Paralympic athletes. This is a major steppingstone,” Mushett said. “It will be one of the most complex events the Turnstone team has undertaken.”

The facility will be partnering with several organizations, including South Side, Carroll, and Homestead high schools and The X-Count shooting facility.

The events highlighted Thursday are only a few of the tournaments and meetings planned for Fort Wayne in the near future, Henry said.

In 2018, the city will host more than 70 tournaments and sporting events, with an expected draw of 115,000 visitors and $25 million in direct spending throughout the year. 

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