O’Malley supports Boston Olympic bid

March 28, 2014
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If local City Councilor Matt O’Malley gets his way, the world’s eyes will be on Boston in 2024 for the Summer Olympics.

“I was watching the Summer Olympics in London in 2012, and I thought, ‘Why not Boston?’” he told the Gazette.

O’Malley, a Jamaica Plain resident, said he realizes it’s a “magnificent undertaking,” with a lot of potential “success stories and pitfalls”—so he’s starting with talking to colleagues and with a feasibility study.

“The city has tremendous resources already laid in infrastructure,” he said. “But there’s obviously a lot of work we would have to do.”

“I think we should explore this,” he added.

The idea of a Boston Olympics has drawn much official interest in recent years. A state feasibility committee was impaneled last summer.

But extensive criticism has been leveled at the idea as well, largely about the massive expense of building facilities for a short-term event that would not directly benefit most residents. Among the anti-Olympics effort is the website “No Boston Olympics” (nobostonolympics.org) created by several prominent political activists.

“We should do more homework, more budgeting, see what public/private resources could be available, but I think it’s something we should really explore,” O’Malley said. “Provided, of course, that this is something that makes sense financially.”

O’Malley brought up the fact that while Boston would have to upgrade a lot of infrastructure, a lot of it is already in place—and the Olympics could easily kick-start other overdue improvements to the MBTA or other areas. O’Malley suggested turning Olympic Village apartments into affordable housing, for example.

And the Olympic Committee is “very keen” on Boston, too, he added. The committee asked for host bids from 35 cities across the globe—and Boston was on the shortlist.

He also emphasized the fact that not all the events would take place exclusively in Boston. Events are usually hosted within a 200-mile radius of the host city, he said, which would include most of the Commonwealth.

“This is something the whole state could benefit from,” he said.