Boston’s Olympic Bid: Get Involved in the Public Dialogue

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OlympicRingsOn Jan. 8th the City of Boston was selected by the United States Olympic Committee as the U.S. bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, beating out competing proposals from Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. Since then, the organizers of Boston’s Olympic bid unveiled their plans for the 2024 Summer Games. Those plans include a pedestrian boulevard along a channel running to a temporary Olympic stadium and upgraded public transportation to shuttle fans between the university and waterfront venues. The operating budget for the games would be $4.7 billion, money that would come from broadcast revenues, sponsorships and ticket sales. The bid itself includes $3.4 billion to get the city ready, much of it to build the athletes’ village at UMass-Boston, for example.

It is also important to note that the Olympics start well before and extend after the two week official games. Athletes and officials would be coming to Boston weeks ahead of time from the entire world and the Paralympics take place the two weeks after. The City should look at this as well beyond a two week event.

There has also opposition to this bid. Chris Dempsey, co-chair of “No Boston Olympics,” said opponents are considering pushing for a November ballot measure in the city. Opponents are worried about everything from budget overruns to an overwhelmed transit system and officials’ taking their eye off needed improvements, such as improved housing.

The USOC has until September to submit its bid city to the International Olympic Committee which will select a host city in 2017. Boston now goes up against potential bids from Rome, Paris, Germany and South Africa.

In order to have an open and transparent process and to hear the concerns and questions of the community, the Mayor has set up a series of 9 Citywide meetings between now and September (dates and locations are below).

  • January 27 at 6:30 p.m. -Suffolk Law School, 120 Tremont St.
  • February 24, 6:30 p.m. – Condon School Cafeteria, 200 D St., South Boston
  • March 31, 6:30 p.m. – Harvard Business School, (building to be determined)
  • April 28, 6:30 p.m. – Roxbury Community College, 1234 Columbus Ave., Roxbury
  • May 19, 6:30 p.m. – Cleveland Community Center, 11 Charles St., Dorchester
  • June 30, 6:30 p.m. – English High School, 144 McBride St., Jamaica Plain
  • July 28, 6:30 p.m. – Mildred School, 5 Mildred Ave., Mattapan
  • August 25, 6:30 p.m. – Ohrenberger School, 175 West Boundary Road, W. Roxbury
  • September 29, 6:30 p.m. – East Boston High School, 86 White St., East Boston

Questions to keep in mind for the community forums:

  • What are the benefits of hosting the Olympics in Boston?
  • How would Boston handle an influx of people in terms of transportation and commutes?
  • What would safety precautions entail?
  • What are the plans to prevent spending from spilling over to becoming the public’s debt?
  • How will the Olympics impact low-income communities?
  • How will Boston sustain increases in employment opportunities once the Olympics is over?
  • What will be done with the infrastructure built with the specific purpose of housing the Olympic games after it is all over?
  • How will investing in the Olympics impact the investment in other social issues such as urban communities, Boston public schools, etc.

 

Pro Articles:

Opposition Group (No Boston Olympics): http://www.nobostonolympics.org/

Con articles:

AnnysaPicAnnysa Rodriguez is currently pursuing her Masters in Social Work at Boston College with a concentration in Children, Youth, and Families. An advocate for youth, Annysa has worked in numerous capacities from facilitating and running career development workshops to her current position as a College Success Advisor at Steps to Success where she works to enhance the educational outcomes of students. She is thrilled to be delving into more policy related work during her internship at Wheelock.