- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 26, 2014

BOSTON (AP) - A commission looking at the viability of trying to bring the Summer Olympics to Boston in 2024 says finding space for an 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium and a 100-acre athletes’ village would be major hurdles.

Boston already has enough hotel rooms, security expertise, and cultural cachet to host the games but faces a “monumental task” making the city easy to navigate and finding enough space for the necessary venues, according to a draft report from the 11-member state commission.

The panel, which scheduled a meeting on Thursday to vote on whether to approve the report, said Massachusetts fares well on most of the criteria established by the United States Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee, which makes it “feasible” to host the Olympics.

But the draft report, which was first obtained by The Boston Globe, added that being an Olympic host would be a “monumental task” that should not be taken lightly.

“I am encouraged by the potential opportunities that can be borne out of hosting the Olympics,” said John Fish, the chief executive of Suffolk Construction and leader of the commission. But, he said, “the next question needs to be asked: Is this in our best interests, socially, politically, and economically?”

Not everyone is thrilled with the idea.

A group called No Boston Olympics said the endeavor could end up costing between $10 and $20 billion dollars. The group said it arrived at the estimate by comparing the past eight Olympic Games - four summer and four winter - and finding a median cost of $15 billion.

No Boston Olympics spokesman Chris Dempsey said bidding for the Olympics would shift resources away from education and infrastructure projects.

“Whatever we think we have to gain by staging the Olympics here is not backed up by any economic data, or the experience in other cities,” Dempsey said.

The draft report does not address the cost of bringing the games to Boston, nor does it make a recommendation as to whether the city should actually bid for the 2024 games, but urges supporters in the public and private sectors to set up a nonprofit group to explore the idea further and to work with the USOC on developing a bid.

The commission was created by Gov. Deval Patrick and the state Legislature. Its members included state lawmakers, the Suffolk County sheriff and the chief executive of Boston Duck Tours.

Massachusetts is already home to 20 top-flight track-and-field venues, 14 stadiums for soccer, nine large baseball parks, five major basketball arenas, and two horse tracks.

But there are four necessary venues the state lacks, including the Olympic Stadium and Olympic Village, as well as a velodrome for cycling events and a large aquatics center.

The USOC is expected to decide next year whether to recommend a U.S. city to the IOC, which will select a host for the 2024 games in 2017.


Information from: The Boston Globe, https://www.bostonglobe.com

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