Mayor Says City to Host Major Sports Event

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Windsor Star/Doug Schmidt

 An army of almost 1,100 volunteers enjoyed being part of the International Children's Games so much that they can't wait to get involved in Windsor's next big community event, a United Way organizer told city council last week.

That's great news, said Mayor Eddie Francis, because he might just have their next assignment.

"I'm not kidding - we have another event," Francis told Lorraine Goddard, the local United Way's community impact and development director. The mayor said he hopes to divulge details of the next big event within the next couple of weeks after consulting with the groups and organizations needed to successfully pull it off. He said it's not a swimming event but a "significant" multi-discipline sports competition with even more participants than the approximately 1,500 ICG athletes and coaches who gathered in Windsor last month.

"I think we've positioned our city to take advantage of these types of events," Francis told The Star.

While recognizing that "some people don't want us to have these types of events," he said he'll continue to pursue them. Francis said when he next reports to council on the big event he also hopes to be able to divulge details of another big swim event being planned for Windsor's new aquatic complex.

Francis said Tuesday, Sept. 24 he doesn't yet have budget estimates for the event.

The United Way's Goddard said a survey completed by half the ICG volunteers indicated they "were very happy and very pleased with their overall experience."

On a five-point scale, volunteers rated a 4.8 average to the question of whether their Games experience exceeded their expectations.

Using a provincial grant and working with the university in the lead-up to the Games, the United Way created a database of volunteers - more than 1,100 are now registered - that can be tapped into for future large-scale community events.

"It's a fantastic resource for our community going forward," said Goddard, adding it's just another "legacy" tool left behind by the recent Games.