One venue that brings a significant number of visitors to Kenosha County often is overlooked as a tourism magnet. It’s the RecPlex in Pleasant Prairie.
It’s the setting for triathlons and for hundreds of tournaments and events each year in ice hockey, basketball, volleyball and swimming.
In all, thousands of athletes, their family members and friends become acquainted with Kenosha County through the RecPlex.
In 2014, for example, swim meets are planned in the aqua arena for 36 weekends. They vary in size, but some of the larger ones — such as state meets for Wisconsin and Illinois and the Speedo International — can attract 3,000 to 4,000, according to Chris Finkel, assistant director of recreation for the RecPlex.
“This is our third year of the competition pool,” he said, referring to the 10-lane Olympic-sized pool. There are only three in Wisconsin, with the others in Brown Deer and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“We’re very excited to have a facility that can handle those types of events,” Finkel said. “Of course we enjoy helping to drive the economic engine of this area.”
Dennis DuChene, president of the Kenosha Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, appreciates that, too. Whether the visitors are swimmers, triathletes or hockey, volleyball or basketball players, they’re all welcome along with their family members and friends.
These consumers have the opportunity to eat, shop and stay overnight in Kenosha County. And the more they explore what the community has to offer — often between games or meets — the more reasons they find to return.
“Having these visitors in your community is a great way to help businesses,” DuChene said, noting that the 8 percent room tax from folks who spend the night in local hotels and motels basically funds the bureau.
The more the bureau collects in room taxes, the more the organization can spend on promoting Kenosha County. And the more the group can spend on promoting Kenosha County, the more visitors it can attract.
The influx of visitors is particularly appealing during the winter when those who run local hotels often are more desperate to fill rooms.
Editor’s note -
This story is part of a six-day series about the Kenosha County economy.