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Olympics organizers promise to leave a pool in Franklin Park, but at what cost?

Richard Davey talks up the Olympics

Richard Davey talks as Rev. Jeffrey Brown (l) and architect David Manfredi listen.

If Boston gets the 2024 Olympics, backers say they would fulfill part of their goal of making permanent improvements to venues by leaving behind a new swimming pool in Franklin Park after the end of the modern pentathlon planned for the park.

The pool would go next to White Stadium, which would undergo a major renovation as a venue for both the pentathlon - whose athletes compete in five separate sports - and for equestrian events.

But at a packed meeting called by the Franklin Park Coalition and the Emerald Necklace Conservancy at the golf-course clubhouse tonight, skeptical residents questioned who would maintain the pool in a park that already has a major backlog of issues, or even if a park designed as bucolic slice of the country in the middle of the city really needs another concrete structure to go with all the other structures that have eroded Olmsted's original vision over the decades.

No problem, Boston 2024 CEO Richard Davey replied: If residents really object to a permanent pool, organizers could put in a temporary one - and figure out another way to improve the park.

Some residents objected to the idea of a bunch of rich people on horseback effectively barring park neighbors and other Boston residents from the park and questioned whether equestrian events could be simply held some place else.

Davey acknowledged the initial plan approved by the US Olympic Committee was really a "proof of concept" more than a concrete final plan and that Boston 2024 is already considering venue changes - he noted similar opposition to a beach-volleyball stadium on the Common.

Davey and architect David Manfredi discussed in broad terms how they saw Franklin Park fitting into the Olympic dream: White Stadium would get an overall redo that would include temporarily increasing its capacity to 20,000 seats, while grassy, non-fairway parts of the golf course would be turned into a course for equestrian races.

Manfredi said the stadium and the fields around it might have to be closed off to the public for up to a year to allow for construction. In contrast, the golf course would only have to be shut for about a month, he said.

When one resident asked about the potential traffic impact on Blue Hill Avenue, Davey got the biggest laugh of the night when he said organizers will be trying to convince Olympic participants and spectators to take the T.

Former state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson, who lives near the park, said she's concerned about displacement of poor residents living near venues; in fact, she said she's currently working on a master's thesis on the topic of displacement in Olympic host cities. She said both London and Beijing moved large numbers of residents to make way for their games and that in Atlants, 30,000 people were forced to move. "What we get [from the Olympics], hopefully, is we get to stay in our homes."

Wilkerson

She added she's also concerned about ensuring local minority- and women-owned businesses get a fair shot at Olympics business.

Davey said residents should take heart that even if Boston doesn't get the 2024 games, the current planning will leave Boston a better place because that planning involves a deep look at what residents want their city to be in 20 or 30 years. One resident retorted that "feels a little bit like extortion" - as if residents cannot expect any improvements at all in the city unless the Olympics are forced down their throats.

Davey said he has taken no position either for or against City Councilor Josh Zakim's proposal for four referendum questions on the Olympics. However, he said that just based on the discussion tonight, the issues are "a lot more complicated than yes/no."

Although many in the room opposed the Olympics bid in general and the Franklin Park idea specifically, a number said they either had yet to make up their minds or supported the idea. One man said that as a White Stadium neighbor and former figure skater, he can't wait to see Olympics events there - and the improvements to the park that would come afterward.

Among those in attendance: Former Gov. Deval Patrick, who did not, however, speak.

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Comments

Who would the pool be for, the horses?

They're suggesting they'll build something for the neighborhood after the Olympics? Really?

How are we supposed to believe there will be any money left, that it won't get scaled-down, revised, etc...?

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One of the five events in that is swimming, so they'd build the pool and then leave it behind after the games for the city.

Davey mentioned the possible creation of a "legacy fund" for helping to maintain stuff like that that is left behind after the games. He said Los Angeles still has a fund doling out sports-related grants after its Olympics.

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Kind of like the Big Dig "legacy fund" for the MBTA, I'm betting.

And how, exactly, are people supposed to use the T to get to these venues if DeLoser continues his antics and the system shuts down?

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The pool is for the modern pentathlon. Adam - the level of debate regarding the Olympics is gutter level here. Just so much misinformation and downright idiocy in the comments section.

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A certain PR firm who won't register here is talking to Adam directly about how the Olympics will be all candy and unicorns!

The comments on UHub are for the most part well thought out, albeit snarky, remarks pointing out the hucksterism of those self assumed potentates who want to destroy this city for their own ego.

Keep defending fathers who steal their children from their mother will ya and stop insulting our intelligence, ok?

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How about the "level of debate" on the subject of space savers?
Btw, this anon is 100% against the Olympics coming to Boston.

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Try the Globe or, God forbid, the Herald if you want gutter commentary. Sorry, but the pro-Games folk have just not made a strong case here at all and obviously the Franklin Park part is just a small element. Blithe cluelessness seems to abound re vital questions like transportation and infrastructure, let alone to major changes made to historic public areas by an entity that has zero long-term interest in or commitment to their wellbeing. Come on--try making a counter-argument instead of pretending to be shocked, SHOCKED by the low level of the conversation.

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... or continue to be regarded as an anonymous coward*.

* thanks, Slashdot.

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I will write this and debate this every time I read this. Calling an anon an anonymous coward does not prove or disprove a point.

An argument with a name behind can be elevated to be a "brand" recognized as someone to be trusted. An argument could be undermined if the validity of the argument is backed by the trustworthiness of the person. But in the end, it still goes down to what's said.

Let me put it like this, if he registered and then make that exact same post. Does it make it anymore agree or disagreeable?

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I think registering provides a continuity which is missing when more than one "anon" posts more than one comment on one post and further posts. How to tell the "anons" apart? Discuss. Whether the comment is "agreeable" or "disagreeable" is often aided by further content from a registered user before making that judgement.

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... though I found it ludicrous, compared with comments at any so-called "news" site.

Let me put it like this, if he registered and then make that exact same post. Does it make it anymore agree or disagreeable?

No, but then I could compare this comment to previous posts that [registered handle] had made and get some context. Is he pro-BostonOlympics2024 because he thinks it's a great idea, or is he just a wanker who spends all of his UHub time issuing ad hominem attacks.

I think the planning thus far has been poor; it's been aimed at making money for construction companies rather than for smaller businesses. It's discounted the disruption to our summer tourist industry -- which, face it, depends a lot upon people freely wandering the Freedom Trail -- and there's a lot of "we want this because we're not little people who have to live with it" bad ideas. IMNSHO.

If I had any faith that the organizers wanted buy-in from the people who live in and near Boston and will be dealing with these disruptions, I'd be lobbying for the Olympics here and everywhere else, with my handle. Instead, I'll come out at best skeptical, and at worst opposed.

His comment addressed none of those issues; it attacked the commentariat for being largely opposed to the current public plans.

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They promised a pony. How were you to know they meant a plastic my little pony?

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Having your horse drown is one of the things that separate amateur from professional water polo players.

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It's obviously for water polo.

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It doesn't seem like a good idea to close off the largest green space in that part of the city to residents that use it most....from family bbqs to festivals......where would these events happen that year?

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...would break the City budget, so venues will then fall into disrepair, and the whole thing goes down the drain...except the remaining eyesores.

If you can't maintain it, don't have it.

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to the detriment of everyone on the South Coast.

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Like the hugely expensive lightly used Greenbush line?

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Ridership is well up. The Weymouth and North Scituate parking lots are nearly filled, even before this winter. Hingham not so much, only because the boat is a much more fun option when it is above 50 degrees.

The Greenbush will prove out.

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My point was only that the South Shore has gotten heaps of MBTA dollars in the past years, above what demand would support (at the time). It is probably a net benefit to the region, just not a homerun in terms of cost/benefit yet.

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From Hingham going into town you have the option of the Greenbush Line, taking the 220 to Quincy and catching the Red Line, driving over to Quincy or Braintree, parking and taking the Red Line, taking the ferry (as weather allows, and enjoying a drink with the sunset on the way back) or just saying fuck it and sitting in traffic and driving into town.

I think there just aren't enough rickshaw options for Hingham residents. Maybe we can get them a dedicated J-Pod line?

Not to pick on Hinghamites but just to highlight that some past transit investments (made over the screaming cries of "no we don't want that") at the cost of a half a billion, may not have been the wisest or have helped our current mess. And in the end Route 3/SE "Express"way is still horrendous.

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I was just making the comment that this is what is ahead for the T.

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If it costs too much, maybe they can turn it over to the capable hands of the DCR?

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Well, I stand corrected: she's at this meeting and working on a master's thesis!

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she's also concerned about ensuring local minority- and women-owned businesses get a fair shot at Olympics business.

boop beep bop boop *ding*

she wants some cash to stuff in her bra

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If they promised some of the horses will be black?

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Sales is such a great teacher of dealing with people. One lesson is that customers will make all sorts of promises. But until they sign the contract it doesn't mean anything. Until Mr. Davey's masters sign the dotted line all his selling of the great and glorious sports fest will amount to nothing.

I am getting the sense that the people who most want the Olympics constitute the new Brahmin caste of the city. It's a bit fishy at times, it does deign to include Dot rats who rise to great heights. It includes dictators for life of legislative satraps and a host of poobahs and other important people who would sacrifice absolutely nothing of their own, but would sacrifice anything belonging to the people of Boston, for the sake of cloaking themselves in the glory (and money) of the, cough cough, Olympics.

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This is just all kinds of wrong. The way things are going right now, the residents will gentrified right out of the neighborhoods anyway, slowly but surely, by 2024.

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However, he said that just based on the discussion tonight, the issues are "a lot more complicated than yes/no."

He's said the same thing in every interview I've heard, because every interviewer worth his/her salt asks why they don't put this extremely-expensive, not-all-that-popular proposal to a vote. His point seems to be that he thinks he can win everyone's hearts and minds by throwing them table scraps, or unmaintained swimming pools in public parks. (Seriously, what the hell are we going to do with a swimming pool in Franklin Park?)

I haven't heard an interview where anyone really follows up on this, though NPR tried a few weeks ago and was basically brushed off. This saddens me, because I actually want to hear his response to someone grabbing him by the collar and yelling "Actually, yes, it's exactly as simple as yes or no--do the residents of this city/state want to deal with the huge goddamn hassle and inevitable public expense so that you and your family can make a ton of money on construction bids?"

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"Davey said residents should take heart that even if Boston doesn't get the 2024 games, the current planning will leave Boston a better place because that planning involves a deep look at what residents want their city to be in 20 or 30 years."

Why can't these so-called leaders do this any way without the Olympics? Get together, figure out the city's problems, and pull together people who can get things done. Something like the old "Vault" of yesteryear. They would still get their construction money, but without all the waste of the Olympics.

I had been kind of on the fence about the Olympics at the beginning, but the more I see of these hacks and construction honchos dangling trinkets like pools in front of the masses the more disgusted by the whole thing I become.

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They wouldn't get construction money from TV coverage of the Olympics is the Olympics doesn't come. Argue about whether you want the Olympics, but don't pretend you can have the money from hosting the Olympics without hosting it.

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You all want better for the future of the city then say yes to the olympics. Listen you need to make sacrafice in order to get bettter. STOP BEING SO SELFISH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The only thing franklin park has going for itself is high crime

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Clearly you've never been to Franklin Park.

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Try going there sometime or hey, if you want to get all fact-y, look at some crime stats or talk to BPD. Franklin Park is actually a very low crime area which is why when something newsworthy does happen there, it's a big deal. It's a beautiful, beautiful spot and heavily used by a lot of people, including golfers, runners, and walkers in addition to a lot of kids. But really--keep talking like you know anything about anything.

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Tim, please return to your troll bridge and wait for someone to pass before you jump out spewing your nonsense.

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I worked in Franklin Park at the zoo for several years and never had any crime issues but did get to see how many people from all different backgrounds used Franklin Park (well the 1/2 that isn't the golf course is well used). Huge groups of people playing cricket, lots of families bbq'ing all day hanging out together, groups of friends and leagues playing baseball, softball and soccer, the kite festival, carnivals. The non golf part is really one of the better used parks in the city and one of the most diverse recreational areas in Boston.

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Sacrifice, not sacrafice. Franklin Park and Olympics are proper nouns. Sentences end with periods. Words in full caps is the internet version of yelling (never especially polite).

A better future for the City of Boston is not dependent on a gigantic economic vacuum cleaner sucking out much of its soft and hard wealth and leaving crumbs and gleanings for the hoi polloi. In a democracy (such as it is given the depressive apathy that is standard) a better future depends on the average citizen. That makes democracy a hard task master because it lays responsibility on each citizen.

If the creation of an Olympic city is required for bettering the city, then just as massive testing as the arbiter of whether a person should graduate from school results in teaching to the test, so-called improvements prompted by the Olympics will be solely for the Olympics. All that will remain are quick to crumble buildings, landscapes that are destroyed for volley ball courts and fancy horsing around. A swimming pool? It will become the new frog pond - with actual frogs.

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Clearly, you know nothing about Franklin Park or the communities that surround it! Go look at the statistics, it is a low crime area and has been for years. Believing otherwise is just falling for the stereotypes of urban neighborhoods.

And to call people selfish for wanting to keep access to a public park in their neighborhood is utterly ridiculous and ignorant. There's nothing selfish about clinging to Olmsted'sprinciples that the common green space must always be equally accessible to all citizens. The communities surrounding the park have supported the park in so many ways even through all of the years of city/state neglect. You have no idea the sacrifices this area has made in support of Franklin Park. Witness the almost 30 years of work of the Franklin Park Coalition (which sponsored this meeting) - http://www.franklinparkcoalition.org. What happens to all the activities currently going on in the park, where do they go? Now that the park, golf course and zoo are on the rise, some suburbanites are seeing its value, gentrifying the neighborhood, and re-aligning the park towards their own wishes (dressage?!) rather than the needs of current residents.

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Contrary to popular belief, it is in fact not 1983 anymore!

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Does that mean I have to ditch my Members Only jacket?

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Can we vote on whether to get rid of the golf course at Franklin Park? More than 1/2 of Olmsteads gem is wasted so a few lards can play golf subsidized by the city. There are plenty of golf courses around metro Boston, taking that much parkland that could be enjoyed by many more neighbors of the park and giving it to a few people who drive there is a disgusting waste.

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And a lot of Boston Residents use it, sorry you dont play golf, but you also dont speak for all of Boston. Actually to be honest, it's mostly used exclusively by Boston residents because its in Dorchester. Not many Country Club types from the burbs are lining up to shot 18 in Dot.

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A few lards? - a course like that probably sees 40,000-50,000 rounds a year (and 4 months of the year - you can effectively use it as parkland anyway). I think it is actually slightly profitable for the city - as is George Wright which helps subsidize our woefully underfunded parks department. And this is not some toney rich club or expensive muni. I've become friendly with the gentleman who runs the shoeshine stand next building over - and he goes there all the time. Takes the bus. Stand on the first tee some day - you will see all walks of life bending over, putting a peg in the ground and spoiling a good walk. Nothing like teeing it up with a complete stranger who often becomes your new best buddy for the next 4 hours.

Changing lifestyles is causing golf to lose some popularity - but this course won't close in our lifetime.

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Are we making pie crusts? Shouldn't we be "Cooking with Crisco" or are we a "Wessonality" person?

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Can you provide a reference for this:

40,000-50,000 rounds a year

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Can you provide a reference for this:

a few lards

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Saw one article that said 34,000 rounds - sounds low to me. Busy public courses can easily clear 40,000 rounds depending on weather and every time I've played there it's been packed.

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Many of us Boston lifers, as well as folks who have come from other parts, call this course our home field.

It is a great golf course by many informed accounts.

It is also public and cheap to play. The staff and players tend to be hospitable to non-golfers who also get to enjoy the land.

They offer clinics for youth.

It brings together many different Bostonians more so than any other public venue in the city. The full spectrum of Boston is truly represented at this course which is an uplifting feeling.

The previous poster called us "lards" who "drive there". Most people drive to golf courses with their equipment, even from close by, it just is what it is. I wonder if the anon poster is even a neighbor? Probably not ;)

Aesthetically it underscores Olmstead's intent to preserve the bucolic feel without diminishing the natural landscape.

The WIlliam J. Devine golf course is just that - Divine!

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Actually Olmstead was disgusted when Franklin Park was turned into a golf course. It does not turn a profit, can the poster who said that please post a reference for that? Menino invested millions into the golf course because he golfs, and driving around on go carts is about as sporty as he and his fellow golfers got.

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This golf course embraces the natural elements and topography of the park, and despite that Olmstead may have been upset, the course does accentuate instead of diminish the natural feeling of the area.

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That's not completely accurate. The entire park was not turned into a golf course. Olmsted designed that area of the park as a Country Meadow, but had already begun to shift his designs to accommodate the wish for urban playspaces like tennis courts and baseball diamonds, usually along the edges of his more natural looking park spaces. At least the golf course is designed according to Olmsted principles and does not look like a typical golf course. What really violated Olmsted's design was the taking of 40 acres for the Shattuck hospital and the development of the stadium. I can only imagine how far from Olmsted's designs these Olympics would take the park - a pool!?. The golf course is one of the most used and most loved areas of a greatly used public park. The Olympics would change that philosophy and reality.

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Do we need to get rid of the zoo which also uses up valuable space and CHARGES MONEY to access it? Heavens to betsy.

I hear people even drive to the zoo from outside the city, ruining our precious roads and polluting the air too. They even use the Casey Overpass to add insult to injury.

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The zoo is supposed to be free, according to its charter.

At some point they started taking voluntary donations. Later on, they quietly dropped the voluntary part.

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You've got to be kidding me. Obviously, you've not been there. It's not half the park and the golf course is designed in a very Olmsted-like way. That golf course is a gem and is used by the most diverse bunch of golfers you'll see anywhere - urban and suburban, male and female, young and old. They have great golf programs for urban kids and the clubhouse is used for community events (including this Olympics meeting). The fact that the golf course was so lovingly maintained by the community during all those years of neglect from the state/city is testimony to how people (Golfers and non-golfers) feel about it.

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Again...have you ever been there? I don't play golf but it's a beautiful course. It's the second oldest public golf course in the country. Always busy with a nicely diverse range of people, not "lards" as you so sweetly call them. It's the only place I've ever seen black men golfing. And there's plenty of room in the park for everyone--do you really feel that crowded?

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This is a snapshot of Athens' Olympic venues 10 years after the games (and $7B spent)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/olympics/article-2717614/Athens-Olympic...

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The pool will be maintained just like the Zakim Skate park promised as part of the Big Dig.

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