Boston 2024 Partnership offers details about where Olympics venues would be located

The Boston 2024 Partnership has until December to formally put together its argument to the U.S. Olympic Committee that Boston should host the 2024 Summer Olympics.

But the Partnership and its representatives have already begun making the case to the public. Witness the busy day they had today, first at the State House talking up the Olympics to Boston’s legislative delegation, and then reconvening at the partnership’s headquarters on the South Boston waterfront to chat with the media.

As part of his presentation to reporters, Partnership president Dan O’Connell offered a long list of details about where the partnership would prefer to build certain venues, and where certain activities would take place during the games. There wasn’t much in the way of surprises in terms of the locations that would be used. But this was the first time that O’Connell talked about many of them in a detailed way with a group of reporters.

The goal would be to build a Summer Games that is largely reliant on public transit for spectators and private shuttle buses for athletes, with no new parking spaces at the venues. This, of course, is aimed at the widespread concern that three weeks of Olympics events could paralyze the city’s major roadways and side streets. O’Connell offered a projected budget of $4.5 billion — a price tag that would be covered through a combination of ticket sales, broadcast rights payments and sponsorships. That figure doesn’t include a tally of at least $5 billion in public infrastructure investments — such as extra tracks at an expanded South Station and a new West Station in Allston — that the Partnership’s backers say are on track to happen anyway.

The proposed venues would be reflected in the bid book that Boston would submit to the U.S. Olympic Committee by December. The USOC would then make a decision on which city in the U.S. would bid for the games in January — Boston and Los Angeles are potential front-runners in a race with San Francisco and Washington. The International Olympic Committee would make a final decision on the 2024 location in 2017.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the venues discussed by O’Connell, presented with the caveat that there will be probable changes in future years before the Games would begin on July 12, 2024.

Widett Circle: The partnership is eyeing Widett Circle, a roughly 100-acre area, for the Olympic stadium. It’s a place that’s now largely used to store towed cars and salt piles, hard by the Southeast Expressway. O’Connell says the Partnership is talking about construction of a 60,000-seat stadium for ceremonies as well as track and field competitions that would be temporary in nature, to be disassembled after the Games. The site, sandwiched between the Andrew and Broadway T stops on the Red Line, then would be primed for commercial redevelopment. The Dorchester Avenue stretch along the Fort Point Channel could be turned into a grand “Olympic boulevard” that could allow spectators to walk from South Station to the stadium (assuming the USPS finally agrees to leave its Fort Point station for new digs in Southie).

UMass Boston: The Olympics would need at least 6,000 units to host some 16,000 athletes in a secure environment. These would go at the BaySide Expo site, now owned by UMass Boston. Most would be portable modular units that could be moved to other locations, including other universities. About 2,000 would remain on site for the university’s use as it looks to build up residential options for its growing body of undergraduates.

Franklin Park: Equestrian would take place at Franklin Park, which has the benefit of animal care operations on site thanks to the zoo’s presence. O’Connell concedes that this could disrupt the public golf course there, but says that funds from the Olympics could be used to restore the course in better condition after the Games are over. He also discussed using the Olympics as a way to spur new rapid bus transit into that area.

The Boston Convention & Exhibition Center: Several events would take place there, including table tennis, judo and tae kwon do. The BCEC’s $1 billion expansion, scheduled to open long before 2024, would play an important role in accommodating all the activities.

The Boston Common: A beach volleyball facility would be built above the Boston Common garage. The marathon and long-distance cycling race would end by the park at Charles Street. (The Boston Marathon route, O’Connell said, isn’t flat enough for an Olympic competition.)

MIT: Archery and fencing could be hosted at MIT’s campus, with MIT eyeing the possibility of a new building dedicated to fencing.

Allston: Harvard Stadium would be used for field hockey games, while BU’s Agganis Arena and Nickerson Field, on the other side of the proposed West Station, would play an important part in the Summer Games as well.

Outside Route 128: There are some events that the Partnership could not locate in or close to Boston. That includes rowing, which would take place on the Merrimack River in Lowell. (The Charles River’s bridges would get in the way, per Olympics guidelines.) Gillette Stadium in Foxborough would be needed for soccer games, which would likely take place throughout the entire three-week stretch of the Games and in other facilities in the region as well.




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