Boston residents got their first chance on Wednesday to see how Olympic planners would handle the 2024 Summer Games if they come to the city.
"It's really about understanding or envisioning, with the city, what the future is, what 2030 is, and then translating that into a games plan for 2024," began David Manfredi of Elkus Manfredi Architects.
This was the most in-depth look backers of a 2024 Olympics for Boston have offered yet, full of images for a proposed Olympic stadium alongside the southeast expressway, connected by an Olympic boulevard along the Fort Point Channel to South Station. A new Olympic village at the Bayside Expo Center would become a dorm for nearby UMass Boston and a beach volleyball stadium would be built on Boston Common by the marathon finish line.
In all, it's a $4.7 billion plan, and Dan O'Connell, president of Boston 2024, said taxpayers are on the hook only for already planned transit and infrastructure upgrades.
"This effort is privately funded. It has been privately funded to date. And the operation of the games will be privately funded," O'Connell explained.
26 of the 33 venues are within a mile and a quarter of an MBTA subway or commuter rail stop.
"We believe the Boston games can be the most walk-able games in modern times," Manfredi added.
The plan calls for meatpacking and food businesses to be cleared out to make way for the Olympic stadium. As you can imagine, that idea faces a lot of opposition from business owners here. If the Widett Circle location goes away as the stadium location, there was only one other location in the city Boston 2024 mentioned.
"When you look at the land available, one possibility would have to be the Suffolk Downs site in East Boston. But we have not pursued that at all to date. But if something were to come up where the midtown Widett site were not available, I think we would engage with those communities and see if there was interest in it," O'Connell suggested.
Only six of 33 sports venues would be outside of Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville area, including a soccer and rugby at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, rowing on the Merrimack River and boxing at the Tsongas Arena in Lowell, and slalom kayaking and mountain biking in western Massachusetts.
Boston beat out bids from San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., earlier this month to be selected as the U.S. nominee for the 2024 Games. The city now goes up against potential bids from Rome, Paris, Johannesburg and Berlin or Hamburg, Germany. The IOC will make its decision in 2017.
Boston 2024 has promised a walkable, sustainable games that would take advantage of facilities and fundraising at the area's 100 colleges and universities and require no public funding. But very little of the bid information has been made public so far.
Doubters cite recent cost explosions at the Sochi and Beijing Games and say the Olympics is a bad deal for the city. The group No Boston Olympics has complained that the bidding has been conducted in secret and called for all of the bid information to be released.
"They still seem to be taking their orders from the USOC," said Chris Dempsey, one of the group's founders, calling for all of the documents that were signed by the mayor and submitted to the USOC to be made public. "Releasing just a partial set doesn't exactly reassure the public that this bid is good for the citizens who live here."
Meanwhile, State House News Service reports that House Speaker Robert DeLeo is pushing for statewide Olympic venues, including sites in Springfield, Worcester, the South Coast and in the Berkshires.