Strathcona County has been selected as the host community for the 2021 Special Olympics Alberta Summer Games.
The event will take place over four days in the first week of July 2021. The goal of the games is to enrich the lives of Albertans with intellectual disabilities through sport.
“The Special Olympics Alberta Summer Games are based on values of inclusion, accessibility and fairness which Strathcona County values as well,” said mayor Rod Frank.
The county is expecting to see almost 1,400 athletes, 2,500 family members and nearly 200 volunteers participating in the games. The county is reaching out to local hotels and food services to help accommodate everyone.
Hosting the event is estimated to cost $500,000, though most of the cost is covered by exterior sources like grants and sponsorships. The county itself is pitching in around $150,000, which is included in the budget.
With so many families spending time in the community, the county is anticipating an economic impact of about $500,000.
"We know that with these athletes, a lot of their family do come and stay in the community and come and watch. So we know the economic impact will be pretty high with regards to accommodations, entertainment and food," explained Suzanne Lobb manager of outdoor community services programs and planning.
The county has already ensured their facilities are ready for the games, despite the games being two years away.
Fort Saskatchewan will also likely be a host for some of the events.
The competitions include swimming, track and field, bocce, soccer, basketball, golf, powerlifting, 10-pin bowling, rhythmic gymnastics and softball.