UPDATE: Boston 2024 says it will release its new plan at 10 a.m. on Monday.
We'll have to wait until next week to hear any new information about the financials for the proposed 2024 Olympics. The City Council Special Committee on the 2024 Olympics held a hearing today about venue selection and financing but it didn't get many answers.
Boston 2024 CEO Richard Davey said Boston 2024's "2.0 Plan" will be released next week, and will include specific financial information as well as updates about venue selection, transportation, zoning and infrastructure plans.
So with no financial information to present, Davey mainly spoked today about venue selection, citing existing facilities at Harvard, Northeastern, Boston College, the TD Garden and DCU Center in Worcester among others. Of the 33 venues chosen so far, almost half will need to be built. The majority of venues will be within 7 miles of Boston, making it one of the most walkable Olympics in recent history, he said.
City councilors were unimpressed, however, since they came ready to talk money, not arena locations. "I'm pretty disappointed today," Councilor Josh Zakim (Back Bay), said. "We had a very nice presentation on the venues but not a lot of information on the finances. As people that our constituents look to for answers, it's frustrating not to have those answers."
Davey kept reassuring councilors that the 2.0 Plan would be fiscally appropriate, privately funded and "in the black" but he would not give any specific numbers when asked.
At-large Councilor Michelle Wu noted that any financial guarantee involving the city would need to go through a City Council vote. "It would violate the city charter to write a blank check," she said. "We need to know the amount."
Councilor Tito Jackson (Roxbury) repeatedly asked for a comprehensive, un-redacted version of the original Boston 2024 bid to be sent to City Council President Bill Linehan's office for review. Davey said he would speak with Linehan but urged Jackson to focus on Plan 2.0 coming out next week instead. "How are we supposed to focus on 2.0 when we don't know what 1.0 is?" Jackson asked.
At-large Councilor Steve Murphy spoke last and summarized many of his colleagues' concerns. "We need to see it," he said, referring to the demand for financial answers. "Are we being asked to pledge public funds for a private plan? Because if that's the case, then I just don't see an appetite here."
All but one person who rose to speak during the public-participation part of the hearing opposed the bid, citing concerns over displacement of residents, gentrification, potentional cost overflows and lack of transparency from Olympics backers.
State Represen Nick Collins (D–South Boston) rose to back the Boston 2024 Olympics, saying hosting the Olympics and Paralympics could serve as a catalyst to make Boston a fully handicap-accessible city.
Davey did not stay for the public comments.
The city will hold another public meeting on the Boston 2024 Olympics at English High School this Tuesday, June 30 at 6:30pm.