The circus is coming to town… maybe. Boston is the United States Olympic Committee’s bid for the host of the 2024 Summer Olympics. Although the plan is not finalized yet, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is certain that Boston will officially be the USOC’s bid come September of this new year. It is around this time that the official decision will be made as to whether or not Boston’s campaign for the Olympics is strong enough to put forth.
The temporary plan that has been publicized promises to utilize many iconic venues and a whole host of college facilities, perhaps even Boston College’s Conte Forum. The plans call for the construction of a temporary Olympic Stadium in Widett Circle in South Boston. The structure would be torn down and stands reused by high schools and colleges immediately following the Games. The notorious Olympic village would be created somewhere on the UMass Boston Campus, jutting out onto the Bay.
The rendering below shows what a redesigned Dorchester Avenue as the pedestrian Olympic Boulevard could look like.
Perhaps the most interesting venue disclosed by the USOC is the Boston Common, where beach volleyball would be played. While it does not offer the typical beachside feel, it would offer an incredible view from the heart of Boston.
Major concerns for any city interested in hosting the Games are the expenses and opportunity costs associated with financing the event. Just last year, Sochi, Russia barely--and in some cases not entirely--finished its construction before the opening ceremonies with a grand total of just over $50 billion in expenses. Facilities in Sochi, however, were built from scratch, while Boston already has numerous stadiums and facilities. Gillette Stadium (68,700 seats), The TD Garden (17,500) and Harvard Stadium (30,300) are time-honored, well-known and major venues that are perfect for hosting events. Mayor Walsh says that Boston 2024 will privately cover the estimated $4.5 billion in finances.
One organization called No Boston Olympics leads those citizens who are less than convinced that Boston is a sound choice for the 2024 Olympics. They maintain that valuable time and money will be wasted in creating a suitable environment for the Olympics rather than going towards things that will actually improve the city for the future: healthcare, employment rates, homelessness and housing. Yesterday at the first public meeting held by No Boston Olympics, Chris Dempsey, a founder of the group, stated, "We believe that Boston can host an Olympics. It would be safe. It would be exciting. It would be fun. The question is, should Boston host the Olympics?”
The most important thing that Boston citizens seem to want is transparency in the bidding process. This is, in fact, what Mayor Walsh has promised over the next years, although he doubts that Boston’s bid will be held to a vote. He has announced that there will be numerous public meetings on the subject, offering citizens ample opportunity to voice their concerns.
The United States has not hosted a Summer Olympics since 1996 in Atlanta. Could 2024 be the year the Olympics come to Beantown?