A great many people have let me know about their reservations about hosting the Olympics in Boston. I personally remain enthusiastically hopeful that hosting the Olympics in 2024 could be a hugely positive thing for the city and for the state.
Here’s the most important thing to know right now: The process is just getting started. Selection to be the U.S. candidate does not bind the City, much less the Commonwealth, in any way. Rather, it gives the City the opportunity to compete. A critical part of that competition will be cementing the public consensus necessary to make credible public commitments in 2016 and 2017. The IOC will ultimately assess the quality of our leadership’s ability to deliver an Olympics venue — in terms of both management capability and public support. There will be a huge public process over the months to come, during which the details of our proposal will be fleshed out, costs defined and ultimately binding commitments made (or not).
Here is an outline of the process that lies ahead, now that Boston has been selected as the U.S. city that will compete. For more, see the website of the International Olympic Committee.
- Over the next 8 months, Boston (and the state and surrounding communities) will agree on a plan to be submitted to the IOC.
- That plan will be delivered to the IOC in a series of increasingly clear and specific documents during the period between September 15, 2015 and January 8, 2016. The January 2016 submission must include letters of guaranty — implying some cost to withdrawal after that point.
- In April or May 2016, the IOC will winnow the Applicant Cities down to a group of Candidate Cities who will then provide additional information to the IOC — responding to written questions and appearing before IOC.
- In the Summer of 2017, the full membership of the IOC will vote on a choice from among the candidate cities.
Everyone involved is confirming that the public process will be voluminous. The State House News quoted Boston’s Mayor Marty Walsh as saying:
Are we just going to ram it down people’s throats? Absolutely not. We’re going to go out and talk to people in Boston.
SHN quoted Governor Baker, speaking more broadly, in the same vein:
What people need to understand is what the city of Boston achieved with this decision is the right to compete globally as the representative entity of the United States, but the actual full-blown proposal, the one that’s really going to be the representation of what the city and state and the USOC believes is the plan is going to be submitted to the International Olympic Committee in September, and that’s really what the public transparent process associated with the final bid is going to look like and I think that’s really where the focus should be.
Mayor Walsh has announced a series of Boston meetings to solicit broad public input.
- 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
There will undoubtedly be many additional hearings at the state level as well, although they have not yet been scheduled.