REDWOOD CITY, Calif. Picture the Olympic flame at night, reflecting off Boston Harbor. Picture rowers slicing up the Charles River, the sun warming the russet roofs of Harvard behind them.
That imagery may be part of the presentation Tuesday, as representatives from Boston try to persuade the United States Olympic Committee, or USOC, to choose Boston over three other U.S. cities for consideration for the 2024 Summer Games.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh will be joined at the presentation by John Fish, CEO of Suffolk Construction; David Manfredi, the head of one of the biggest architecture firms in Massachusetts; UMass Boston Chancellor Keith Motley and Paralympian Cheri Blauwet, a physician at the Brigham.
The committee meeting is private. The team of five will present the submission of the group Boston 2024 — the privately funded nonprofit that’s been designing the Boston bid.
“So we’ve focused on a walkable Games, a public-transit-oriented Games, a sustainable Games,” said Dan O’Connell, the group’s president, in an interview during a break in preparations.
O’Connell says the pitch will feature an Olympic Village of modular housing designed by the MIT Media Lab, apartments that can be moved elsewhere in the city after the Games. Same thing with the Olympic Stadium. Its banks of seats would be reused at high school and other venues. Public transportation would be expanded, because O’Connell argues that hosting the Summer Games would catalyze city and state government.
“Government works best when it has a deadline,” he said. “And the Games can be the deadline for making investments — public investments to the long-term benefit of the commonwealth.”
“Olympics do force you to build a bunch of stuff. But it’s stuff that you really don’t need,” said Chris Dempsey, the co-chair of the group No Boston Olympics that’s trying to stop the $4.5 billion proposal. “It’s a velodrome and an aquatics center and a temporary, 60,000-person stadium that’s gonna be bulldozed once the Games are over. We’d much rather focus on core infrastructure and schools and health care infrastructure.”
Dempsey says those needs will be ignored for 10 years while the city gears up for a weeks-long global event, one that he says Boston public has not really asked for.
“We don’t know what promises they’re making to the USOC right now behind closed doors in California,” he said. “They’re saying that they’re going to do all these things that are going to make us win and make us a successful U.S. city, and we really don’t know what those things are. And we had no input into that process.”
Boston 2024 disagrees, saying that it has been gathering input, and that its plans are still in the early stages. Walsh told the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce last week that his door is open for feedback.
“No neighborhood will be steamrolled with the Olympics,” he said. “If we are fortunate enough to be the United States bid unto the IOC, unto the world stage, certainly every community is going to have opportunities to have deep discussions.”
Four cities are making their pitches Tuesday: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Boston. Afterward, the USOC will decide whether to submit an American bid for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games, and, if so, which city gets the green light. Those decisions could come as early as Tuesday, and, at the latest, within the next few weeks.