Boston organizers to make 2024 Summer Games bid info public
BOSTON — Sailing in Boston Harbor. Baseball at Fenway Park. Beach volleyball on Boston Common, the oldest public park in the United States.
The organizers of Boston’s Olympic bid unveiled their plans for the 2024 Summer Games on Wednesday. Those plans include a pedestrian boulevard along a channel running to a temporary Olympic stadium that would serve as the event’s "front yard," and existing or upgraded public transportation to shuttle fans between the university and waterfront venues.
It was an encore performance of the presentation that won over the USOC. Afterward, Boston 2024 released most of the bid book, which included a detailed look at the sites and the necessary finances to make it possible.
The 3-inch thick binder included plans for venues, transportation, finances and security, and hints at the political and public arm-twisting needed to make it happen. David Manfredi, an architect who is the co-chair of the Boston 2024 planning committee, said the goal is to leave a legacy not just for the athletes, but for the city as a whole.
"It’s really about envisioning what the future is, what 2030 is, and then translating that into a games plan for 2024," he said. "We believe Boston is the right size city for the Olympics. It’s a great historic city, a beautiful city and a really walkable city."
Boston now goes up against potential bids from Rome, Paris, Germany and South Africa. The IOC is scheduled to make its decision in 2017.
The presentation featured glossy photos of the city at its current best and renderings of what could be: Fireworks going off over a new — but temporary — Olympic stadium, tall ships in the harbor and fountains spraying from Fort Point channel as international visitors stroll along its promenade.
Co-presenter Cheri Blauwet, an Iowa native and two-time winner of the Boston Marathon’s wheelchair division, pictured the Olympics as a catalyst for urban development that would have benefits throughout the region.
"We call Boston home by choice because we understand that no city can offer the same power for personal and professional empowerment," said Blauwet, a doctor and two-time Paralympian. "So this is a story of transformation."
Here are some other things to know about Boston’s Olympic bid:
PAYING FOR IT
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, a media headquarters near the South Boston waterfront and a temporary Olympic stadium just south of downtown.
Although the bid promises not to rely "on a single tax dollar," it is dependent on more than $5.2 billion in public transportation and infrastructure projects already planned or underway in the Boston area. And the federal government would be expected to chip in on security.
Boston would be the most compact games in modern times, Manfredi said. Twenty-eight of 33 proposed venues would be within 6.2 miles of the athletes’ village, which is planned for the waterfront campus of UMass-Boston.
"We can plan a walkable games, we can plan a transit-oriented games," he said. "It supports the idea that Boston, the city of Boston, is the Olympic Park."
IF YOU CAN’T SAY SOMETHING NICE
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh denied a report on Wednesday that he was trying to keep city employees from speaking out against the Olympics.
Documents obtained by The Boston Globe include a promise that the city and its employees would refrain from making statements that "reflect unfavorably upon, denigrate or disparage, or are detrimental to the reputation" of the IOC, USOC or the Olympics.
"Mayor Walsh is not looking to limit the free speech of his employees," said spokeswoman Laura Oggeri, adding that the agreement included "standard boilerplate language" that all applicant cities have historically signed.
NO BOSTON OLYMPICS
Opposition groups are calling for a referendum to gauge public support for hosting the 2024 Games, but bid president Dan O’Connell declined to speculate how that would affect the process. Repeating that a statewide referendum is a "rigorous" process, O’Connell said, "I’m not sure we’ll ever see anything on the ballot."
"We are certainly hopeful that there will not be a negative referendum vote," he said. "We would be ready to make our case."