Senior Games underway in Cleveland - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

Senior Games underway in Cleveland

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Senior Games in downtown Cleveland Senior Games in downtown Cleveland

Opening ceremonies have just finished up.

There are more than 10,000 athletes and the games are expected to draw 30,000 people to Cleveland.

And that has city leaders seeing green.

It's a festive atmosphere as Cleveland gets ready to host the National Senior Games.

And for the athletes getting ready to compete, their first impression is a good one.

"Wonderful. Wonderful city. You have a great Lakefront," said Warren Everett of Huntsville, Alabama.

"I love it here.  I do really," said John Eckenrode of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

That must be music to the ears of city leaders who are banking on events like this to help revitalize the city.

It cost more than $400 million to build the new convention center. 

The place will be filled with athletes for the next two weeks and participants will be filling up hotels and restaurants, spending money and taking in the local sights.

"Of course, we went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame right off," added Warren.

The estimated economic impact of the senior games is $35 million, not exactly chump change.

If the thousands who've come to town leave with a good impression, that can only help Cleveland's convention business. 

"Everything is great. We've been to other events and this is above par as far as all of them," said John Eckenrode.

"This is my fifth senior games," said Wanda Newsom of Taylor, Texas.

"And Cleveland gets a thumbs up," asked reporter George Smith.

"Yes. My word. Yes," yelled Wanda.

That's just the kind of review Cleveland wants to hear.  The competition runs through August 1.

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