Our view: Welcome the Keystone Games with open arms

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Let the Games begin.

And let the residents of Luzerne County be gracious hosts.

In case you haven’t heard, the Keystone State Games roll into town this week.

The 37th annual edition of the Olympic style athletic competition will bring athletes from across the state right to our backyard.

These athletes will compete for gold, silver and bronze medals in sports such as baseball, basketball, table tennis and even something called pickleball.

But Luzerne County and its residents will be competing for an even bigger prize – the Games themselves.

According to staff writer Jen Learn-Andes’ story, the Keystone State Games are locked in to staying in the area through 2019. After that, event participants will provide feedback that will help determine if the Games stick around a bit longer or head out looking for greener pastures.

Make no mistake, we should all want the Keystone State Games to call our little neck of the woods home for more than just a few years.

As our president would say, the Games will have a HUGE impact on the area.

“It’s big,” Luzerne County Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Janet Hall told Learn-Andes. “Thousands of athletes will participate in the games. With their families included, that’s a lot of people coming.”

Hotels and other lodging establishments are sure to benefit as will bars and restaurants, sporting goods stores and shops of all kinds.

The annual economic impact was cited at more than $10 million in York County, which previously hosted the event, Hall told Learn-Andes. That would be a shot in the arm that Luzerne County certainly could use.

So as you are out and about this week, don’t get too discouraged if the wait at your favorite restaurant is a bit longer than usual. Don’t let a little heavier traffic on the commute to and from work get under your skin.

And by all means, if you see someone wearing a medal around their neck, congratulate them.

Because if we are all on our best behavior for the next week, Luzerne County may walk away winning something much more valuable than that pickleball gold medal.

– Times Leader

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