BRINGING THE 2024 OLYMPICS TO BOSTON

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We like the prospect of Boston hosting the 2024 Summer Olympic games. We’re excited about it. There are legitimate concerns — and I will discuss those — but first let me itemize why we’re rooting for Boston to be the Olympic host city.

Preparation for the Olympics will assure that our public transit — and roadway — infrastructures get the massive upgrade that they need.

Housing the athletes and other attendees will require the City to build maybe all of the 53,000 units of “affordable” housing Mayor Walsh has called for. We need all of that and more, and it probably will take a huge event like the Olympics to force our city to actually build them, rather than just talk about it while doing very little.

The 2024 Olympics will require a stadium. The Patriots’ Robert Kraft wanted to build one years ago but was NIMBY’d out of doing so (by political and citizen pressure that included a nasty streak of anti-Semitism). Now the City will; get that stadium, bringing tons of business back into Downtown that now takes its dollars way out to Foxboro, because that’s where Kraft built after the Boston door was slammed in his face.

The entire city will revel and excite itself, as Boston has much rteas9on to celebrate these past ten years of ec0onomic boom, community diversity,and governmental progress. We aren’t the dark-side necropolis that we used to be; the new generation of Boston leaders has its eyes wide open and its vision cosmopolitanm; it belongs to the world, not narrowly to islands of ethnic cling,and the 2024 Olympics — summing up 25 years of boom and re-population, and a culture completely transformed — will give us all an occasion for partying hardy. There will be traffic and there will be noise, and these are good things. If quiet and emptiness were the objective, we could all mover to Caribou, Maine.

Some of us have voiced concerns that focusing on the Olympics will take energy and maybe money away from improving the City;’s schools. i find this concern unwarranted. The Olympics will be a privately funded, building boom thing. We have a huge building boom now. Has it detracted from improving Boston schools ” Just the opposite : it has brought into the city thousands of people who are accustomed to succeeding, people who will not settle for under-performing schools.

Granted, that most of Boston’s newcomers want school choice. One size fits all won’t do. Many of the skeptics about Boston 2024 are also people opposed to increasing the number of charter schools and, in general, to innovative educational ventures. These folks — many are my friends, I applaud their passion and their knowledge of public school budgets — want things to c9ontinue that cannot continue. The transformation of work requires transformation of education, and much of that transformation will happen, sooner rather than alter., Skepticism about bringing the 2024 Olympics to Boston arising from worries about public school funding is both misplaced and counter-productive.

Others simply don’t want the vast excitement and economic change that a Boston Olympics will bring; others fear the Games will suck up taxpayer funds. The second objection has been answered : no State or City taxpayer funds. The first objection is being bulldozed by economic facts. Boston IS changing, faster and faster; neighborhoods are being re-priced, re-imagined, re-configured by people new to living there and importing new ideas, new ways, new energy. I applaud it all. The past is being bought out, the future bought in.

Cities mean ,money. They mean commerce. Cities originate change. That’;s what they are for. Boston is a City once again after having been an ex-city. 30 years we could barely host a First Night. 10 years from now we will manage to host the biggest event in all sports and do it the right way. That, dear reader, is growth. Put Boston on the A list, because we’re going to deserve it.

—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere

Author: hereandsphere

Here and Sphere is an online journal of news, opinion, reviews, advice, & bits n' pieces of everything else - from HERE to SPHERE...... Co-founded by Michael Freedberg, a long-time Boston Phoenix journalist, and Heather Cornell, a South Coast Massachusetts columnist and editor.

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