State Prepares for National Games While Businesses Eye Heaping Prize

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Lincoln, Neb.-- Nate Kellison has co-owned the Round-Abouts Restaurant on the corner of 70th and A Streets for the last two years.

Kellison said the Cornhusker State Games, of which opening ceremonies were held last night at Northeast High School, always bring a nice boost to his profits.

"We always get a little boost from that," Kellison said, "so last night we had a pretty good night, a lot of new faces a lot of out of town people."

The announcement that Lincoln will host the 2015 National Games in 2015 has Kellison, and other local businesses, excited for the prospects.

"We're always looking forward to the state games," Kellison said, "and with this new announcement, I think that's pretty neat for Lincoln and says a lot about how people are perceiving Lincoln that can host events like that."

The Jimmy Johns nearby said they normally earn about $1,000 on a weekend night, but last night, they pulled in about $1,800.

The national games could mean even more, as the Nebraska Sports Council expects the state to earn $20 million during the 2015 games, with about 47,000 people expected to either compete or spectate.

Before the state sees those dollars signs, Dave Mlnarik, Executive Director of the Nebraska Sports Council, said there's a lot of work left to be done.

"The good thing about the bid process is what you're really doing is going is putting these things in place so you know where everything is now. But, beyond that, we've got a long way to go."

Mlnarik said they've completed about 10 percent of what needs to be done.

Mlnarik said one of the biggest challenges is finding enough facilities to host the events.

About a quarter of the events will have to take place outside of Lincoln, and university housing may have to step up to provide enough room for competitors.

"Will it max Lincoln, facilities wise," Mlnarik said, "yes, and that's a good thing.

"Will it spill into other communities and even Omaha, yes, it will, in a pretty major way."

There's a long road ahead, but Mlnarik said the risk will be worth the reward.

"We've got a long way to go," Mlnarik said, "but we're excited for the challenge."