The proposals for Olympic 2016 facilities in Washington and Jackson Parks on Chicago's Mid-South Side and historic Olmsted parks, with Community commentaries: OLYMPICS HOMEPAGE

This page is presented by the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, its Parks and Development-Preservation-Zoning committees, and its website www.hydepark.org. Join the Conference to support and take ownership in our work; join our committees to make a difference. This is NOT a website of the Olympic Bid Committee.

Index to this page. Contacts and meetings shortcut. Shortcut to what international agency COHRE says about impacts on housing and human rights.
Return to Washington Park home. Return to Jackson Park/JPAC home. Green Page. Metra/"Gold Line. Shortcut to Gold Line legacy here.

Please view Cache subpages of plan development and reaction to Olympic South Side plans since announcement in Sept. 2006:
1: Announcement, early plans, initial reactions. Includes schematics (which nb have changed considerably since)
2: More early reactions into mid 2007
Olympics Community Benefits page has reports on what was agreed, an early CBA Draft for the Olympic Village and report on start of other discussions, including whether and how the memorandum is enforceable. The agreement can be found in the 2016 and city sites.
Jackson Park proposed venue and JPAC, 2016 responses
Washington Park proposed venues, reactions, results from community charettes
HPKCC and Olympics
HPKCC letter and documentation of Olympic concerns, needs, benefits.

October 12 2010, Tuesday, 7-8:30 pm. Battle for the Olympic Bid: One Year Later... Stories and Discussion. Experimental Station, 6100 S. Blackstone Ave.

THE BID WAS DENIED IN THE FIRST ROUND ON OCTOBER 2. PEOPLE WILL BE THINKING ABOUT WHAT REMAINS AND WHAT SHOULD BE DONE FOR CHICAGO'S NEEDS NEXT. Some reactions reported in the Herald included:
Ald. Hairston talked about continuing the plans for Jackson Park, being not dependent on Olympics-- what these are are unknown to the advisory council, which will probably see no reason to switch the area inside the track from football (heavily used by schools) to a artificial turf for field hockey.
Ald. Preckwinkle said she would continue the plans to Michael Reese site redevelopment, including without the Gropius buildings.
Both aldermen want to continue the long-range planning and extend it to a "new Burnham Plan" for all of Chicago and solve the financial criss.
Ann Marie Lipinski of U of C said the spirit planand do should continue for transportation, future of washington Park, Lakefront enhancements, housing and economic development.
The Tribune outlined the following: capitalize on our lakefront, parks, synergy of kids and sports; rebuild the Rese site withthe Gropius buildings; complete the lakefronts' public access; fix and expand the transportation system including mass, freight and roads; keep up the schools and sports initiative; climate inducive to business investment and entrepreneurship, espe. small, and Chicago's role as a hub, including new public spending and more jobs and halt to erosion; utilize leadership and cultivate the spirit of see a problem find a fix, be a world-class city.

Letters continue to come in supporting keeping the Gropius buildings.

In this page: To meetings-

Updates:

THE BID WAS DENIED IN THE FIRST ROUND ON OCTOBER 2. PEOPLE WILL BE THINKING ABOUT WHAT REMAINS AND WHAT SHOULD BE DONE FOR CHICAGO'S NEEDS NEXT.

How the vote in Copenhagen works October 2. From Enrique's Community Updates Sept. 21 2009
"The 106 members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will meet on October 2 in Copenhagen to vote on who will be the host city for the 2016 Olympics. The four finalist cities are Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro, and Tokyo. To be awarded the Olympics, the winning city must garner 50% plus 1 of the votes from the voting members. In the event that the first round of voting does not produce a simple majority winner, the city garnering the least number of votes is dropped from consideration and a second round of voting ensues. This process continues until there is a winner. Of the 106 voting members of the IOC, those members whose home country is one of the countries being voted on in a given round do not vote in that round. This means that for round one of the voting, 99 IOC members will be eligible to cast votes. As a city is eliminated from consideration, voting members from that country will be permitted to vote on the remaining candidate cities."

In early September the IOC issued its assessment of the 4 bid cities. It's hand was not tipped. Liked about Chicago is the $4.8 plan (called "ambitious but achievable"), Olympic Village location and amenities, the 60-day festival. Not liked: our winds in the afternoon, Metra unable to handle a doubling, tight construction schedule, concerns about guarantee and need for lots of sponsors. Also will teh temporary structures really be well done and cared for and paid for. Problems for others: Tokyo on reuse of venues, Village but did like compactness and rail. Rio: crime, pollution, too close to Soccer games could muddle sponsorship but best on post-game use. Madrid: Terrorism and do they realize complexity? but good transit although underestimating operating costs, village is green. Tokyo the Village. but financially sound and with good transportation.
Financially, very recent changes reassured many aldermen, who are expected to approve the guarantee. Civic federation said the insurance must be in place and management must be competent with extensive oversight. The insurance was restructured so $1.4 b of operating loses will be covered before going to taxpayers and insurance will cover construction of the Olympic Village. New public finance reporting is being set up.

(KAM part follows)Ald. Manny Flores withdrew his ordinance limiting liability and the Finance Committee voted Sept. 8 to authorize the Mayor to sign the guarantee-- approved Sept. 9 by the full council since even the local aldermen now back it and a Civic Federation report mostly approved or called parts doable with good oversight. There will be a City Council committee of the whole for oversight (headed by Ald. Burke). The substitute ordinance will be put up here soon. Ald. Flores and Preckwinkle pointed out its strong points at as forum Sept. 13; No Games said is based on flawed Civic Federation analysis and that doing the study, as well as the City Council oversight are riddled with conflicts of interest.

Herald September 16, by Sam Cholke. Public has role in overseeing Olympics: Hyde Park, other South side committees will connect residents with information about Olympic developments.

Beyond the Olympic oversight measures passed by City Council Sept. 9, residents of Hyde Park and Bronzeville will have numerous opportunities to weigh in on Olympics planning as the process goes forward. Among the provisions of the ordinance, which passed by unanimous vote, a joint committee of city council will have the chance quarterly to scrutinize the finances of the privately run Olympic Organizing Committee, the group tasked with pulling off the $3.7 billion event.

After the unanimous vote, Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th), whose ward will be home to a new development to house Olympic athletes, said the oversight in the ordinance provided sufficient outlets for community members to publicly air their concerns. "Besides that they can talk to their alderman, they can come down to the City Council committee meetings and voice their opinion," she said.

Preckwinkle's ward is laced with a dense network of community committees and advisory councils that are empowered to review development in the ward, changes at the schools and parks, and the property tax subsidies. Many of the councils are publicly elected or appointed by the alderman. The ward contains one of the few advisory councils that oversees use of money from a tax increment district. TIF districts cap property taxes for a 23-year period within the district's boundaries and funnel the excess, or increment, into a fund that can be spent on a range of local projects. When the city purchased the land for the Olympic Village, Preckwinkle said she was considering whether to set up an advisory council to oversee how TIF money would be used for infrastructure improvements at the [Olympic Village or other if the bid is lost] development.

Investors lured to try development projects surrounding the Olympic Village would have to come before the North Kenwood-Oakland Conservation Community Council, a board set up to review any proposed developments and zoning changes within the neighborhood. The council is appointed by the alderman and can make recommendations to the alderman and the city's Department of Community Development on requested zoning changes and building permits.

Planning for the temporary stadium in Washington Park would likely repeatedly come before the publicly elected Washington Park advisory council. several swimming pools planned for the north end of the park, one of which is proposed as a permanent improvement for Dyett High School, would also be within the jurisdiction of both the park advisory council and the publicly elected Dyett High School local school council.

Developers drawn to capitalize on the cheap vacant property to the west of the venue in Washington Park would be reined in by a community planning process initiated by ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) and Ald. Willie Cochran (20th) after the University of Chicago purchased several parcels on Garfield Boulevard in August 2008.

An early supporter of teh Olympics, Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) was one of the first aldermen to convene meetings between her constituents and Chicago 2016 to discuss how the 5th Ward would be affected by a proposed field hockey venue in Jackson Park and Olympics events along the Midway Plaisance, which links Jackson and Washington parks through the University of Chicago campus.

Plans for the field hockey field also fall under the purview of the publicly elected Jackson Park Advisory Council.

though much of the city may be resigned to quarterly updates on the Olympics planning process, residents in the neighborhoods surrounding the Olympic venues will continue to be inundated with public discussions about how preparations should proceed.

 

September 13 KAM Isaiah Israel held a well attended informational forum on Olympics-- deep on real information. Participants included Ald. Flores and Preckwinkle, No Games, the Gropius Chicago Coalition, and Frances S. Vandervoort and Madiem Kawa of Washington Park Conservancy described the natural history, areas and wildlife and areas of the park and why that park is vulnerable.

Herald, September 16, 2009, by Kate Hawley. K.A.M.I.I. hosts forum on 2016 Games

With weeks to go before the International Olympic Committee decides -- Oct. 2 -- whether Chicago will beat out Tokyo, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro to host the 2016 Summer Games, K/A.M. Isaiah Israel Congregation hosted a panel on the city's Olympic bid. The event, held Sunday at teh synagogue, 1100 E. Hyde Park Blvd., gave voice to viewpoints sometimes not represented in the series of officially sanctioned public forums on the Olympics that took place over the summer. About 100 congregants heard from park advocates, historic preservationists, anti-Olympic activists and local pols. Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th), a main sponsor of a memorandum of understanding aimed at ensuring community benefits surrounding the games, said she now supports the bid after much initial skepticism.

Ald. Manny Flores (1st) sponsored an ordinance, signed into law Sept. 9, that calls for public oversight of the Olympic process. "I can't guarantee there won't be cost overruns," he said, but added that the new law requires close scrutiny of Olympic finances by the City Council. He urged the crowd to stay involved, saying "We all need to be part of the process."

Opponents of the Olympic bid also aired their views. Tom Tresser, who heads the activist group No Games Chicago, said he doubted government oversight would keep the Olympics from draining the city's coffers and sucking taxpayer dollars away from schools, parks, clinics and other badly needed public services. "It will bankrupt the city," he said.

Jack Spicer, a local preservation activist, said teh games would likely destroy historic buildings and parkland, especially Washington Park, slated for a track and field stadium and an aquatics center -- mostly comprised of temporary facilities. "If the stadium goes in Washington Park, I do believe the park will never be the same," he said.

Fran Vandervoort, of the Jackson Park Advisory Council, and Madiem Kawa, founder of the Washington Park Conservancy, gave presentations on the park's history and natural resources.

Preparation for demolition has already begun on the campus of Michael Reese Hospital, slated for athletes' housing. Grahm Balkany, an advocate for saving buildings on the site designed in part by Bauhaus architect Walter Groupius, shared his research on the site's history and architecture.

The moderator, ABC7 Chicago Reporter Ben Bradley, who writes the blog "Going for the Games" on ABCChicago.com, pointed out that all of the venue locations may not be written in stone. His station will report in coming weeks on how nine of the 14 proposed venues for the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary changed after the bid was won, he said.

representatives from Chicago 2016, the organization backing the bid, declined to respond to several requests to attend, according to Susan Bass, who organized the event with Marcus Yali Amit. Together they chair K.A.M.I.I.'s Adult Education Committee , which aims to sponsor topical, broadly relevant events for congregants. "Our prog drams will continue to emphasize issues beyond the parochial," Bass said.

Meanwhile, the Olympics seemed to be losing public support in Chicago, dipping below 50% (47% for, 45% against) for the first time and adamantly opposed to using public funds including for any shortfall (84%) and 75% against unlimited financial guarantee.
Allen Sanderson of U of C will speak to a Cityfront Forum by the Graham School September 22, 6 pm. See in meetings description and registration. Ditto on KAM forum Sept. 13.

Local aldermen back guarantee for games. (Rep. Burns and Sen. Raoul also have strongly supported) [Note- at a meeting at Chicago History Museum, Ald. Preckwinkle stressed benefits while Jay Travis of KOCO expressed concerns about displacement.]

Hyde Park Herald, September 9, 2009. By Sam Cholke

Aldermen from the Hyde Park and Bronzeville neighborhoods slated to be home to Olympics housing and venues said at a Sept. 1 City Council Finance Committee meeting that they now felt comfortable authorizing the mayor to sign the host city contract Sept. 9.

Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th) said some of her concerns had been assuage as Chicago 2016 increased outreach efforts and proved it could live up [to] promises of contracting with minority- and women-owned businesses at the former Michael Reese Hospital site, which will be developed as housing for athletes if Chicago wins it's bid for teh Games. She said she was also glad marketing material more appropriately reflected the racial diversity of Chicago.

"I told the mayor some time ago in this body I was not a cheerleader for the Olympics, I was a skeptic," Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) said. "My skepticism has waned immensely . I now support the effort to get teh Olympics here wholeheartedly." Dowell said she was swayed by increased protection of taxpayer dollars being used to financially guarantee the Olympics.

Several layers of insurance and reserve funds would be used before dipping into two city funds and a state fund set aside to ay for problems related to development of the Chicago Games. Chicago 2016 has arranged to purchase $1 billion in insurance, half of which will only be in play during the Games. An additional $450 million contingency fund will cover unexpected costs over or not covered by the insurance. If problems eat through all $1.45 billion, taxpayers are on the hook for $750 million through two $250-million city finds and a $250-million state fund.

As of Herald press time, aldermen were scheduled to debate government oversight on Olympic preparations at the Sept. 8 Finance Committee meeting-- the last major opportunity they would have to do so. At the Sept. 1 committee meeting, aldermen peppered Chicago 2016 President and CEO Patrick Ryan with questions, trying to feel out when he would push back against demands for transparency. "As it is now, there's more than enough oversight," Ryan said. Aldermen pressed for language requiring quarterly report on the Olympics budget to be included in an ordinance authorizing the mayor to sign the host city contract. Ryan said he would be amenable to providing quarterly reports.

Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) supported an ordinance introduced by Ald. Manny Flores (1st) with Ald. Joe Moore (49th). The ordinance suggested empowering teh Illinois Attorney General and Chicago Inspector General to audit the Olympics organizing committee budgets. "I think it's important not to have conflicting oversight" that obstructs the work of the Olympic organizing committee, Ryan said. "There's a point of piling on we have to be careful of."

Resolution passed by the HPKCC Board of Directors at its July 2, 2009 meeting: Proposed by the Parks Committee and adapted to resolution form per suggestions at the meeting. The heart of the language was also passed by the HP Historical Society and endorsed by some others including the Nichols Park Advisory Council.

Whereas: The Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference respects the interests of the City of Chicago in its desire to host the 2016 Olympics but believes the preservation of historic Washington Park, as it was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, is of utmost importance, and

Whereas: The use of Washington Park as the site for the Olympic Stadium would pose a serious and long-term threat to the historic and ecological integrity of the park and to the continued democratic use of the park by the public,

Therefore Be It Resolved: The Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference urges the City of Chicago and Chicago 2016 to respect historic Washington Park by selecting a more appropriate venue for the 2016 Olympics.

National Association for Olmsted Parks says Olympics need to respect gift from Olmsted.

Letter to Lori Healy of 2016 and to Hyde Park herald, as in the latter August 5, 2009.

We are writing to express our opposition to the proposed Olympic venue in Washington Park. As you may know, Washington Park is considered one of the four greatest park designs by Frederick Law Olmsted, along with Central and Prospect Parks in New york and Franklin Prk in Boston's Emerald Necklace. These parks are recognized by their expansive open meadows, massing of trees to provide shade and places for rest, multi-purpose circulation systems and accommodation for a variety of uses by a broad range of people.

Your bid to bring the world's attention the "greenest American city provides an opportunity to showcase a masterpiece of America's preeminent landscape architect and American values. An Olmsted landscape embodies the democratic, egalitarian principles upon which this country was founded. Recognizing the need for open spaces in the overcrowded cities of the mid-19th century, Olmsted created publicly accessible parks for all people, regardless of class or ethnic background, places that were the "heart and lungs" of a community where citizens could come together to celebrate their diversity. We are excited that through your mayor's leadership Olmsted's vision for healthy, vibrant cities centered on parks and green infrastructure has been sustained.

However, proposed plans to place a massive, state-of-the-art Olympic Stadium and Aquatics Center in Washington Park - a potential national Historic Landmark - now threaten threaten the park's signature public open spaces and sweeping vistas, jeopardizing its integrity, significance and public use. Plans to "tear down the stadium" following the Olympics are unrealistic. It is our understanding that the temporary stadium is to be disassembled and sold to another venue. Although the stadium is being designed for such a plan, this may very well not happen. Even if the stadium is removed, the current plan leaves the 4 foot deep depressed track (250 feet in diameter) and below grade seating, in addition to retaining the track and field facility, aquatic center and an Olympic monument. Such alterations and intrusions are incompatible with preserving the Olmsted legacy, and incompatible with democratic use of public open space. The remaining track and field takes a major public open space and restricts its use to specific activities, and a once-welcoming greensward with a very different result for the neighboring community.

Chicago's magnificent historic park system is indisputably world-class. Few - if any -cities have such an extraordinary public resource developed by the world's best park designers. We urge Chicago 2016 to recognize the significance of this historic landscape which has served Chicago's public for over 100 years. The original South Park, which encompasses Jackson and Washington Parks and the Midway Plaisance, deserves to be restored. It should be made the most impressive place possible to welcome visitors to the center of Olympic activity. We encourage you to review the Chicago Park District's South Lakefront Framework Master Plan for Washington Park and Jackson Park as a basis for how restoration could be accomplished. Indeed, a fitting legacy of the Olympics would be a system-wide restoration of Chicago's parks to meet the needs of teh next generation and provide places for both active and passive recreation. London's plan for its Olympics is an exemplary approach, taking brownfields and adding new parks in lieu of damaging historic existing park resources.

The 3,500 masterful landscape works carried out by the Olmsted firm are a national treasure of artistic and cultural importance worthy of protection and pride. The National Association of Olmsted Parks works to advance the Olmsted principles and legacy of irreplaceable parks and landscapes that revitalize communities and enrich people's lives. We would be pleased to serve in an advisory capacity as your plans unfold. The Olympics offer a unique opportunity to respect Olmsted's democratic ideals, and to celebrate and honor Chicago's great historic parks in the process.

Caroline Loughlin, M. Eliza Davidson Co-Chairs, Board of Trustees Advocacy Committee, National Association for Olmsted Parks.

Washington Park neighborhood centered group (3rd Ward 2016 Committee) asks whether the benefits will be real for all the neighborhoods surrounding the park

The Chicago Olympic bid has raised many questions among the residents in Bronzeville, Hyde Park and other nearby neighborhoods. While Chicago's bid documents are posted on the internet, it is still not clear that the people that live in the neighborhoods will benefit by the 2016 Games.

We are concerned about access to contracts, jobs and economic development. A community benefits agreement ratified by the City Council in the spring formalizes goals for minority and women contracts, training for family sustaining jobs, affordable housing set asides and an independent monitoring board.

However, the agreement does not take effect until the bid is won in October. In the meantime, we are watching as preparations for the bid are well underway. The Olympic Village is surrounded by fencing and Michael Reese Hospital's signs have been removed. Property surrounding Washington Park is subject to increased speculation and numerous inquiries. Furthermore, our mayor agreed to take full financial responsibility for the Games.

Chicago 2016 underestimates residents' experiences and knowledge of how limited economic opportunity is in our neighborhoods. We watched our public housing residents get swept out of neighborhoods to other neighborhoods and low-income suburbs. We travel miles to access fresh groceries, because we have few if any full-service stores in close proximity. Our health care needs grow, because we have few health care services and low-income patients are diverted to public clinics with long waiting lines. Our unemployment is high because of low quality education, lack of job training and too few employers in our area.

The burden is on Chicago 2016 to show residents of the neighborhoods that will house the Olympic venues -- will life there be better in 2017 than today? New sporting facilities for are neighborhoods are not enough. Will our children be safer and have more opportunities in 2017? Will we have better jobs, 21st century infrastructure improvements, more retail options and new businesses located in our area than we have today? Will the quality of life improve because of he Olympics?

As Chicago 2016 begins its 50 ward tour, it will hear some tough questions. The 3rd, 4th and 20th wards will have its community meeting at the Chicago Urban League on August 11 at 6 p.m. We look forward to having some complete, honest and real answers.

Shelley A. Davis, Chairman, 3rd Ward 2016 Committee.

[There is a question beyond that-- if the answer is no, or Olympics can only do so much, then -- providing the Olympics won't impoverish the city and divert vital services-- is it still worth doing anyway?]

State Rep. Burns and State Sen. Raoul published a letter Sept. 2 in the Herald strongly supporting the games claiming a $22 billion inflow to Illinois including $1.5 billion to the state. They pointed to a great global profile gained and a benefit agreement that ensures inclusiveness and equality. Ald. Preckwinkle and Dowell have also come on board.


Jackson Park Adv. Co. corresponded July 8, 2009 to Legacies director Arnold Randall concerning its desire to see the running track kept or restored (less of course a community outcry to get rid of it). The commitment is clear:

Thank you for your correspondence regarding the running track in Jackson Park. We recognize the value of the track to the community and fully intend to preserve or restore the track after the 2016 Olympic Games should we be fortunate enough to win the rights to host them. Our overall plan for parks hosting venues is that we leave the parks in as good or better condition than we found them. What people ultimately want to see left behind in these park spaces will be part of ongoing discussions. Our goal is also to leave behind a lasting legacy in each of these locations. That could be a number of things including new artificial turf fields and a renovated track.

We appreciate your position which is clearly stated in your letter and will make sure those points are part of the ongoing legacy discussion. Thank you.
________

Note: JPAC heard many groups skeptical about the Olympics at its July 2009 meeting and continues to explore the matter while being appreciative of 2016's accommodation of the needs of Jackson Park.

There is an informal coalition of HPKCC, STOP, CECD and others working with officials to gain a least a feasibility study of Gold Line upgrade to Metra and other transportation improvements in conjunction with the Olympics. such a study is already being put into the Federal transportation act rewrite. Here is progress from local planning boards:

The following is out for comment until October. So. Lakefront Corridor, a transit oriented dev. study along 63rd Green Line B, and a new call-in system for PACE paratransit. See whole list and hearings at which to comment: http://www.rtachicago.com/CMS400Min/.To send comments- FundingProgramsComments@rtachicago.com. Phone-in 312 913-3143. Gary Ossewaarde

The Subregional Planning program provides funding for regional planning projects including corridor studies, countywide transit improvements, and other regional transit initiatives. The program is available to units of local government and the RTA Service Boards: The Chicago Transit Authority, Metra and Pace.

City of Chicago

South Lakefront Corridor Transit Study: This project will study a range of transit service options in the South Lakefront Corridor, an area that extends from the Stevenson Expressway on the north to 95th Street on the south and from the Dan Ryan Expressway and Cottage Grove on the west to Lake Michigan on the east. The City will undertake this work as a first step in identifying alternatives that would improve public transportation services for better access to jobs and other activities, and would lead to enhanced economic vitality and quality of life for the communities served. The overall goal of the study is to recommend one or two candidate projects with the high net benefits for a more rigorous evaluation that would take place within the federal New Starts process.

2016 puts on full-court press for public support by holding meetings covering all 50 wards in summer 2009.

However, the August 2009 fundraiser for the games raised much less money than previous despite having more people. The Committee also worked its way around involvement of member Michael Scott in a real estate development deal near Douglass Park. Scott was never in a position to gain personally and now has disassociated himself from the project, but the Committee agreed that they should have been informed earlier and steps taken to avoid appearance of conflict of interest.

Olympics boosters plead their case. But will it be enough to convince Hyde Parkers, other South Siders?

Olympics discussions regained momentum last week in a flurry of meeting meant to reassure South Side residents that the city and Olympic planners are willing to listen to their input.

The Jackson Park Advisory Council's July 13 meeting was dominated by talk of the Olympics. And on July 18, Chicago 2016 officials led a discussion about legacy planning for Washington Park, which would be home to an Olympic stadium of track and field and an aquatics center if Chicago wins its bed to host the 2016 Summer Games. The largest gathering drew more than 200 residents from the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th wards to the South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. Shoe Drive, on July 15. It was the first in a series of ward-based meetings organized by Chicago 2016.

South Shore Cultural Center.

After a brief presentation, Chicago 2016 Chairman Patrick Ryan and President Lori Healey answered questions for more than an hour. Many in teh crowd were distrustful of the city and business interests, which have backed the Olympic ... "Oprah and all those people who gave money do not speak for us," one woman said, referring to Chicago 2016's deep-pocketed donors. "I hope I'm not bursting your bubble, but you're not getting your Olympics."

Many expressed dismay that the plan for the Olympics was being pushed and funded by wealthy patrons from Chicago's business world who would not be accountable at the polls should the Games not bring in the jobs and economic develop[ment] promised by Chicago 2016. "Who on the committee is a politician ?" said another woman, eager to heap scorn on city's political class, which was repeatedly accused of being "corrupt" by the audience.

Washington Park

Reactions to the Olympic plans were more mixed Sunday at the Washington Park Refectory, 5531 S. [Russell) Drive. It was teh third in a series of meetings aimed at seeking community input on plans for Washington Park. Arnold Randall, director of neighborhood legacy for 2016, presented several proposals for what should be left in the prk after teh Games. The stadium would shrink to a 2,500- to 3,500-seat amphitheater located in teh southeastern corner of the park's meadow.

All of the pools would be dismantled except one, which would replace the existing pool at Dyett High School, located in the park's north end at 555 E. 51st St. The Illinois National Guard Armory would bd transformed into a community athletics facility. Talks are ongoing with the state of Illinois about transferring ownership of the armory to the Park District after the Games, Randall said. Somewhere in the park, Chicago 2016 would build a memorial to the Olympics, he added.

The roughly 50 people who attended the meeting, many of whom were Hyde Parkers, broke into small groups to debate these and other proposals. Most eagerly pored over the maps and information provided by Chicago 2016.

But Koublai K.M. Toure, who works with at-risk youth, and Billy Bean, who coaches sports in the park, protested loudly that youth sports that currently take place in the park would be put on hold for two years.

Others were unhappy that the Olympic plans will disrupt the historic park landscape designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. "We reject Washington Park as the location of the swimming ... and the Olympic stadium and encourage an alternate location," said Hyde Park resident Steven Flowers. Stephanie Franklin, the longtime head of the advisory council fro Nichols Park, agreed. "The majority of our table agreed with the idea that the Olympics should not be in Washington Park at all," she said.

Others were enthusiastic about the prospect of Olympic venues. "We are excited, and we encourage the Olympics coming to Washington Park in 2016," said Hanna Anderson, "Bring on the Games!"

Jackson Park

At the Jackson Park Advisory Council meeting at teh parks' field house, 6401 S. Stony Island Ave., members met with Tom Tresser of No Games Chicago, a group advocating against the Olympics. "You have to understand, when the Olympics come to your city, you lose your sovereignty," Tresser said.

The roughly a dozen people at the meeting sympathized with Tresser, but declined to act on his request for a statement from the council against the Olympics. Jackson park is the proposed location for a 10,000-seat venue for field hockey and Paralympic football.

"We've already taken a position on this," said Ross Petersen, president of the advisory council, holding up a Hyde Park Herald from J[uly] 2007 with the headline "JPAC says no to the Olympics." "I don't want to be teh guy who beats this issue so badly and with such impudence that I hurt this park," he said. "I don't think we need to do anything but be skeptical."

Petersen said he continued to have reservations about the city's bid, in part because the plan had not been revised in light of a worsening economic situation.

[The article also had pic captions: Brad Suster, developer and founding board member of Preservation Chicago, entreated Chicago 2016 representatives to save buildings designed by Walter Gropius on the Michael Reese hospital site and incorporate them into plans for an Olympic village. And Jay Travis, exec. dir. Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, said "We will not rest until we have a legally binding agreement" ensuring benefits for communities around Olympic venues.

 

From the JPAC minutes for July 2009

Olympics. Guest Tom Tresser of No Games Chicago presented on past and prospective Olympics. (Chicago 2016 has held several presentations and open discussions at our meetings.) Among problems he saw are that Olympics draw funds from general upkeep, services, and improvements for parks and neighborhoods, that the Olympics and city, as with several other Olympics, could suffer revenue shortfall putting taxpayers at risk during a prolonged downturn, displacement of park users, threats to natural areas, illusory benefits, and abridgement of process and rights. He believes these are substantial enough that people should take a stand.

The council discussed what it should or can say about concerns over about the Olympics, especially outside Jackson Park. Summaries were distributed by the Secretary of past resolutions and correspondence and copies of press coverage of the July 2007 meeting, when JPAC opposed venues in Jackson Park. It was noted that venues were since removed from near sensitive nature areas and playing fields to a location across from Hyde Park Career Academy. The Secretary also shared correspondence and reply with 2016, viewing keeping or rebuilding the running track presently at the venue. The council took no actions, but the Secretary would take questions or proposed resolutions in written form at garyossewaarde@yahoo.com or via 773 947-9541. Members were encouraged to attend the many meetings being held for Olympic input.

[The article also had pic captions: Brad Suster, developer and founding board member of Preservation Chicago, entreated Chicago 2016 representatives to save buildings designed by Walter Gropius on the Michael Reese hospital site and incorporate them into plans for an Olympic village. And Jay Travis, exec. dir. Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, said "We will not rest until we have a legally binding agreement" ensuring benefits for communities around Olympic venues.]

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Reports are that aldermen and 2016 have applied pressure to prevent expression of dissent at some meetings in various parts of the city.

Text and FAQ from updated 2016 flyer early 2009- Chicago's Bid for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games

What is Chicago 2016? Chicago 2016 is a privately funded 501 (c)(3), not-for-profit organization, whose mission is to seek the privilege of hosting the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Chicago 2016's vision is to use sport to strengthen the Olympic Movement and enhance our city. The Games will inspire young and old, Chicagoans and citizens around the world. Chicago 2016's plan, which is centered around the city's accessible, world-class infrastructure and multicultural community, will bring athletes and the world together in sport and friendship.

Economic Benefits. In December 2008, Chicago 2016 announced the results of an independent economic impact study for hosting the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The study found that the Games are expected to stimulate $22.5 billion of incremental economic activity in the State of Illinois -- $13.7 billion in Chicago alone -- during the 11-year span of 2011 through 2021. The study also found that 315,000 new job-years (for example, one job that lasts two years equals two job years) will be created during this period. Of the 315,000 job-years, 172,000 are expected to occur in Chicago. The Games have the potential to provide a significant economic stimulus to the local economy.
The economic impact study shows that the city and state governments will also benefit from the Games. The study estimates $1.5 billion of indirect business taxes will be generated within Illinois; of that $1.0 billion will be within Chicago.

Community Engagement
Outreach Advisory Council.
In February 2009, Chicago 2016 announced the expansion of the Outreach Advisory Council in its effort to work with Chicago communities as it moves into the final phase of bidding for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The goal of the council is to ensure that all constituencies have meaningful opportunities for participation. As part of this effort, the expanded council is tasked with developing a community economic opportunity framework. Members of the Outreach Advisory Council participate on five subcommittees: affordable housing, community enhancements, construction, contracting and procurement and workforce development and diversity.

Community Meetings. Chicago 2016 is committed to reaching out and providing a forum for dialogue to all Chicagoland communities. If we were to win the bid, Chicago 2016 would have the opportunity to leave lasting legacies in our neighborhood parks and public spaces. Community input plays a vital role in the development of these legacies. The bid actively engages participation and conversation with all of Chicago's ethnic, civic, environmental, regional, athletic, neighborhood, educational, religious and business groups, among others. Chicago 2016 will continue to participate in community meetings throughout the city to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to discuss the potential benefits for the Olympic games in Chicago.

The 2016 Fund for Chicago Neighborhoods. Eight local foundations have established a fund with an initial $4 million to bolster efforts t ensure a long-term beneficial legacy for Chicago's neighborhoods. The first grants from this fund have been used for research that provides vital data for panning. Subsequent grants will complement the work of the Outreach Advisory Council and community partners and focus on neighborhood, business, workforce and youth development programs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. When do we find out whether we win the privilege to host the Games or not? The international Olympic Committee will select the Host City on October 2, 2009 at the 121st IPC Session in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Q. Where are the venues for the Games located? Chicago's Olympic venue plan will be primarily located in the heart of our city, taking advantage of Chicago's historic park system as well as many of our world-class sporting venues. Few other plans in history have envisioned a more centrally located, compact Olympic and Paralympic Games. Events will be held in parks such as Washington Park, Douglas Park, Grant Park, Jackson Park and Lincoln Park. In addition, world-class venues such as United Center, Soldier Field and McCormick Place will be cornerstones of our plan.

Q. Where will the Olympic Village be located? The Olympic Village will be built on the existing site of Michael Reese Hospital. The long-term legacy of our Village will open up the lakefront for South Side residents in the way that the North Side of Chicago has been for years. The opportunity to develop this location is so important to the City that it has committed to develop the site whether or not Chicago wins the right to host the Games in 2016. The location of the Village will place 90 percent of the athletes within 15 minutes or less of their competition venues and training sites. The Village's proximity to the lakefront and Chicago's downtown area will allow athletes to experience the city's world-class cultural institutions, dining, shopping and hospitality with ease. These are competitive advantages for our bid.

Q. Will the Games prevent me from getting around in Chicago? No. Chicago's plans are prepared to handle the temporary increase in traffic that will arise from the Games, allowing residents to move freely around the city. The compact nature of the Games' physical footprint will help. Spectators wil use mass transit to minimize Olympic-related traffic. Large park-and-ride facilities will be operating near outlying rail stations to ease the use of public transportation. The city's experience with events such as the July 3rd fireworks celebration, Taste of Chicago and Chicago Marathon showcase the extensive experience Chicago has in safely accommodating and transporting large crowds.

Q. What kind of Impact will the Games have on our parks? Working closely with the Chicago Park District and the community, Chicago 2016 will ensure that every park that is used as a venue wil be left in better shape for post-Games use than they were prior to the Games. From the start, Chicago 2016 has worked closely with communities around the parks on how to provide the best legacy plans for the venues and parks post-Games.

Q. What will putting on the Games cost? The budget for operating the Olympic Games is $3.8 billion. The budget is 100 percent privately funded. Most of the revenue will come from the sale of television broadcast rights, ticket sales and sponsorships. Chicago 2016 has built in a contingency fund of $450 million to protect against any cost overruns. Chicago's City Council approved a $500 million guarantee as an insurance policy on the Games' operating budget. However, no Olympic Games since 1972 has run an operating loss. The 11-year period between 2011-2021 is expected to generate about $22.5 billion in increased economic activity.

Q. Who is footing the bill, and what will is cost taxpayers? The operating budget for the Chicago 2016 Games will be funded entirely by private sources. In addition, the construction of venues for Olympic and Paralympic Games use will be privately funded. Tax-increment financing (TIF) will be used to build infrastructure around the Village development site. The re-development of the site will proceed whether or not Chicago is chosen to host the Games.

Q. If the Olympic Games are privately funded, why is tax-increment financing being used for the Olympic Village? The development of the Olympic Village will take place in a TIF district. TIF is not being used because this project is related to the Games; it is being used because the improvements to this site (roadways, utilities, etc.) will be needed to ensure the development is integrated into the surrounding neighborhood. Chicago has more than 150 TIF districts. The purpose of TIF is to entice and aid community development in areas that need them. TIF works by freezing the current amount taxed on existing owners and using the taxes on any increase in property value to upgrade the infrastructure in the community and spur development.

Will there be any seizure of private land or residences? No. Chicago 2016 is utilizing the city's great park spaces to host Olympic and Paralympic events. The compact Games plan involves a limited footprint with venues to be left behind as legacies that are sustainable and tailored to the community.

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U of C President Zimmer on Olympics. April 28 2009 Maroon.

He reported to a town hall meeting that he met with the IOC and was asked to allow the swimming pool and tract to be used for warmups. "I think there's a great potential for developing transportation, parking, roads-it all depends on how it's implemented."

June 17 2009 Mayor Daley in Lausanne Switzerland did an about face and agreed to sign the IOC unconditional city financial guarantee. Some aldermen and the newspapers are alarmed. And the Mayor goes back and forth on what that means.

The Tribune June 24 asked "At what cost?" "Chicagoans deserved candor and detail about the full extent of financing" but are told even City Council won't be given them for another two months. "What else don't we know?" New insurance- how will it be structured, who wil underwrite, what would it cover, what happens if these are blown past? Do Chicagoans want an Olympics at a known and acceptable cost? Probably yes. Do Chicagoans want an Olympics at an unlimited, open-end cost? Maybe "No thanks."

Ald. Manny Flores is expected to introduce a resolution in City Council June 30 capping the commitment at $500 M. The earliest discussion of this would be in a committee in July and maybe at City Council at the end of July. The Tribune says the Mayor is flipping and flopping, and we don't know the half of what's going on. Crains' Chicago Business (John Pletz) says the real hooker is the Olympic Village, where (whether the bid is won or not) in effect the city will be left with any construction costs the private sector won't-- which is the case in London and Vancouver. Even though the city is trying to spread the risk among several developers and come up with a diverse set of post-game uses. But if the IOC decides the Village should be upgraded after the agreement is signed....

April 2, 2009, a resolution was introduced and amended to the effect that HPKCC opposes the 2016 Olympics as planned due to expected negative effects and lack of benefits for the neighborhood. The resolution failed.

In June and July 2009, Hyde Park Historical Society and Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference formed a joint subgroup to look at Washington Park vis a vis the Olympics. The committee proposed substantially the same language, which was subsequently adopted by each board.

The HPKCC Parks Committee met with HPHS counterparts and proposed the following, adopted by the HPK Parks Committee, then proposed, adapted and passed as a resolution at the HPKCC July 2 Board meeting:

Whereas: Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference respects the interests of the City of Chicago in its desire to host the 2016 Olympics but believes the preservation of historic Washington Park, as it was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, is of utmost importance, and

Whereas: The use of Washington Park as the site for the Olympic Stadium would pose a serious and long-term threat to the historic and ecological integrity of the park and to the continued democratic use of the park by the public,

Therefore Be It Resolved: Hyde Park-Kenwood Community urges the City of Chicago and Chicago 2016 to respect historic Washington Park by selecting a more appropriate venue for the 2016 Olympics.

Could Tubular Rail be an answer to the missing transportation component of the bid? HPKCC board member Richard Buchner calls attention to it in an early April blog article in The May Report.

Was the bid faltering? See below for changes that by March 26 made the path clearer.

In mid June, Chicago was said to lead slightly, 80 on a scale of 110 with Madrid at 78 and the other two cities at 77.

Mid-March 2009: Several difficulties have raised questions about Chicago's bid.
1) The lack of an unconditional guarantee (even if the state increases its by 100 m and the rumored slowdown/balk at corporate el al contribution does not materialize) seems a major stumbling block even as other bid cities solidify their guarantees:

Seattle Times, March 18, 2009: Money dispute hangs over Chicago 2016 bid
Crain's Chicago Business - 2 hours ago
(AP) — The International Olympic Committee could end its revenue-sharing deal with the U.S. Olympic body unless the Americans agree to a revised formula and smaller share of the money pie, according to a top official involved in the negotiations. IOC executive board member Denis Oswald told ...

2)Uncertainty over whether the Chicago City Council Finance Committee (chm. Edward Burke) will report a Community Benefits Agreement to the full council (which will not meet again before the April 2-? visit by the IOC) has led to threats of demonstrations and actions during the visit April 2:

Opponents of Olympic Games say money should be spent on housing and schools
Seattle Times - 10 hours ago
Opponents of the city of Chicago's efforts to land the 2016 Olympic Games say they will hold a rally on the day international Olympics officials visit the city to assess its bid.

3) Consternation continues among many who have slogged through the Bid Book at deliberate use of boiler plate instead of clear plans-- and mandy of them say the plans, especially from moving people around are unfeasible and the whole proposal neither environmentally nor socially sustainable.

Meanwhile, city crews were busy bumping repaving's where the IOC is likely to look at proposed venues (i.e. Rainey and Payne Drs. in Washington Park) ahead of other deteriorated arterials. Things like comfort stations that hadn't been usable for 30 year were functioning. But cleanups were only were only where the IOC was likely to see them! Meanwhile Coalition or an Equitable Olympics and subgroups such as STOP and KOCO were holding press conferences at City Hall protesting failure to pass the community benefits ordinance. People asked why good things only seem to happen when someone needs to be impressed.

An honest assessment by a Trib sports expert on WTTW's Chicago Tonight: The financial guarantee is still problematic and could be a stopper, CTA and other transportation is still way behind esp. Tokyo and Madrid- and punting to the Feds won't hack it, and added to this is our political reputation, all of which will be avidly fed to IOC by the rival cities. Possible clincher: Obama himself, including going to Copenhagen and having Valerie Jarrett manage dealings with IOC.


Returned to even keel from March-April 2009? But rallies against during IOC visit. Yet members of the IOC said they were truly impressed. But in late August said to be lagging due to errors in the guarantees.

Chicago Tribune, March 28, 2009. By Kathy Bergen. Big boost for Olympic bid. IOC chief says Chicago's lack of a blank-check guarantee isn't a deal-killer. Analysis.

Denver [where the IOC, USOC, and Chicago Bid met ahead of the April 2-7 IOC visit.]
Chicago's push for the 2016 Olympics regained momentum Friday after International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge effectively blew away several heavy clouds that had hung over the bid recently.

The influential leader unveiled a long-range timetable for trying to settle a rancorous dispute as bout whether the United States Olympic Committee, Chicago's bid partner, gets an unfair share of international television and sponsorship revenue. A fully revised deal will not be reached before 2013, Rogge said, which is well after the IOC chooses a host city on Oct. 2.

He also spoke well of new USOC Chairman Larry Probst and acting Chief Executive Stephanie Streeter, whose appointment this month raised questions about leadership stability at an organization once plagued by high turnover in the executive suite.

Perhaps most significantly, Rogge said Chicago's limited government financial guarantees would by no means be a deal-killer for its bid. Chicago's three rivals, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo, are offering blanket governmental guarantees. "What we definitely want is a guarantee, but the form of the guarantee is not an issue," Rogge said during a press briefing at SportAccord, an international sports gathering."The bottom line is there has to be a strong guarantee, and I'm quite sure Chicago is able to deliver."

Bob Ctvrtlik, a key leader with the USOC and Chicago's bid team, heralded the developments as a sign of a new era of cooperation between the IOC and the USOC, replacing the animosity that has existed in the recent past. And, Ctvrtlik said, the movement toward settling the divisive revenue-distribution issue "does take a little of the pressure off" of Chicago's bid. "We never felt the IOC membership would hold this against the bid," he said. "but in a race where one or two votes can make a difference, we'd rather have this behind us."

Independent observers say Rogge's moves jump-start Chicago's bid, which was flying high after the November election of President Barack Obama, only to lose apparent momentum, more recently due to the issues addressed Friday. "Rogge's words have enormous impact on the political climate for the bid," said Paul Swangard, managing director of the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the University of Oregon. His statements Friday "seem to reinforce the idea that Chicago remains a player, and many of the issues identified as potential deal-killers are not as explosive as some would have us believe."

But David Carter, executive director of the Sports Business Institute at the University of Southern California, cautioned against reading too much into Rogge's words. "You have to understand, he doses not have much incentive to discourage any bid cities," Carter said. "It's in his best interest to have these cities doing whatever they can to stay in and to put together comprehensive bids that will elevate the IOC brand." This is especially true now, he said, given the economic crisis.

The host-city selection is a highly politicized process and one that is notoriously difficult to predict, with front-runners often getting bumped at the 11th hour. While Rogge is considered a highly influential voice, when the 115 or so members of the IOC meet to chose the host for the 2016 Games, they will cast their votes with secret ballots.

The Denver meeting represented the last major chance for the finalist cities to make presentations to the international sporting world prior to the IOC evaluation visits to each city, which are tightly choreographed events. The IOC members wil arrive in Chicago on April 2 for the first of those visits.

Chicago is likely to see its fortunes rise and fall any number of times between then and October. As Chicago bid leader Patrick Ryan said Thursday, after the city made its case before more than 1,200 sports leaders gathered here, "It's still early."

_______

 

2016 is now (April 10 2009) giving a much lower seat-number for the residual stadium in Washington Park than before- now c2,500--with operating funds, and say they will negotiate with stakeholders to ensure the Meadow and Olmsted's vision return.

Washington Park strategy: Olympics group may downsize after-Games plan. Tribune, April 10 2009. By David Heinzmann

Never carved in stone, the plans for a Washington Park amphitheater continue to shrink as Chicago's Olympic organizers delicately negotiate with park advocates who fear the 2016 Summer Games would damage the historic site. In a presentation on Thursday to Friends of the Parks and other community groups, Chicago 2016 officials suggested that the structure left behind after dismantling the temporary Olympic Stadium would seat as few as 2,500 to 3,500 people -- far fewer than the 7,500 permanent seats planners were talking about just weeks ago.

Bid officials acknowledge they are trying to strike a balance between respecting the traditional character of the site, which was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted as an "open meadow," and the Olympic movement's vision of leaving behind facilities that offer tangible improvement to host cities after the games. The bid team, Chicago Park District and community groups will "work together on what the appropriate legacy is," Chicago 2016 spokesman Patrick Sandusky said. "We'll leave behind what's needed and appropriate."

But there is clearly still significant ground to cover before all sides agree on what "needed and appropriate" will mean. And the park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, placing some protections on its use. A major legal disagreement over the plan could endanger Chicago's bid. Disagreements over the plans for an Olympic stadium played a significant role in sinking New York's bid for the 2012 Summer Games.

Friends of the Parks maintains that the best community use for the land is open fields for baseball, softball, and cricket, low-impact facilities that they claim maintain the vision of Olmsted, the famed park and landscape designer. Chicago 2016 officials say they understand and have great respect for the Olmsted tradition. "Our goal is not to impact the meadow," said Arnold Randall, director of "Neighborhood legacy" for Chicago 2016.

Friends of the Parks President Erma Tranter was surprised Thursday when Randall used seating numbers under 3,500 in his presentation to the group. "The number keeps moving," Said Tranter, who said he's heard permanent seat numbers of between 5,000 and 15,000 recently. Nonetheless, Friends of the Park is in favor of bringing the Olympics to Chicago, Tranter said. "I'm very hopeful" the two sides can work out satisfactory compromises."

While the forum addressed several topics Thursday, including concerns about events displacing boaters and perceived threats to a North Side bird sanctuary, Tranter said perhaps the most pressing concern is over what all these facilities left behind will cost to maintain. tranter said she fears the Park District wil be saddled with facilities, such as the 'aquatics Center in Washington Park, a multi-use building in Douglas Park and other venues, that it can't afford to operate. "They've been cutting programs in the parks for four y ears" because of funding shortfalls, she said.

Randall promised that, in addition to the facilities, the Olympic Games would leave behind operating money from revenue generated by the Games. But although there are ideas on the table for how to achieve that funding, there are no specific plans in place yet.

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Herald editorial April 1 shames Hyde Parkers for not keeping up on Olympics, forming opinions. "Hyde Parkers must weigh in on 2016 Olympic bid"

Hello? Is this Hyde Park? Anybody home? Is everyone on break? One of our favorite quotes is "For every three people in Hyde Park, there are four opinions."

Where is the interest and/or outrage about the Olympics 2016?

The International Olympic Committee is visiting Chicago this Thursday and will certainly be stopping by the neighborhood soon after stops in Jackson and Washington parks. Look for well-tailored suits and expensive shoes.

Our sense is that Hyde Park has yet to coalesce around a position on the Olympic bid. We believe there is a palpable ambivalence toward the Olympics coming to Chicago in the neighborhood. Remarkably, there has been only half-hearted public conversation, and nothing like a consensus has emerged.

the Chicago 2016 folks are not letting grass grow under their feet. They have invested in advertising with a "we support the Olympics in Chicago" poster they encourage people to place in their windows in an effort to show support for the Olympics. This is a tremendous event, another world's fair coming to the neighborhood. How is it that we are unsure of our opinion regarding such an occurrence?

The Herald will rise to this occasion and, in a series of articles, provide the information and context residents need in order to form an opinion. In the coming weeks, we will look at previous Olympics, solicit analysis from those who are both for adn against t5heGames coming to Chicago and provide news analysis regarding this momentous event. In the meantime, if you are for the idea, use the ad on page 9 as a vote. If you are against, we suppose you'll need to come up with your own poster.

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M Hoke reports on what crews cleaned up, got working-- raises questions about how city will manage Olympics, what they will maintain afterwards.

"I am not against the Olympics coming to Chicago but I do have reservations regarding the tactics that the City is utilizing and I really am concerned about the City and the Park District maintaining whatever they construct afterwards.

What has gone on in Washington Park and Jackson Park in the last week is truly amazing! It makes me wonder if Tim Mitchell is a reincarnation of Potemkin and Mayor Daley of Czarina Catherine the Great of Russia?

Washington Park:

The washroom located on 55th Street just west of Cottage Grove Avenue has never been open in the eleven years I have resided in Hyde Park. Then last week it opens and actually is functional. An older fellow told me that he had ran in Washington Park for over thirty years and that washroom had never been functioning until now.

The reflecting pool in front of the Statute of Time located at Cottage Grove Avenue and Midway Plaisance actually was filled with water. Two years ago a renovation of this landmark was completed and the pool had water in it once, for a week, since then.

The lagoons had several years of trash removed from then on saturday by a contractor. The people who fish behind the Statute of Time believe the trash will start accumulating in the water come monday.

A large crew raked the side of the roadways along 55th Street between Cottage Grove Avenue and King Drive but if one goes to the side of the lagoon that is not visible from the street one will find accumulated trash that goes back years. It is really bad going west from 57th Street at Cottage Grove Avenue.

Five years ago the Park District installed a system in the lagoons at Washington Park to circulate the water within the lagoons. It has not been turned on since. Why?

Jackson Park:

The City and the Park District raked the area between the Museum and 62nd Street but as soon as the lagoon turns east the trash reappears.

The washrooms located at 62nd Street between Cornell Drive and Stony Island Avenue are open for the first time in over fifteen years.

Washington Park, Jackson Park at 62nd to 63rd and Midway Plaisance:

The garbage cans were removed, probably for aesthetic purposes, hopefully they will be returned before garbage starts to build up.

This is why I have concerns regarding the Olympics coming to Chicago, will the City maintain what they build for the event after it is history!"

Herald April 8 09: IOC visit to Hyde Park; Washington Park group split over value of benefits agreement. (They also breezed by 63rd and Stony-Cornell.)

By Kate Hawley. Washington Park has rarely looked better than it did Sunday, when the International Olympic Committee's evaluation commission stopped by on its tour of the venues proposed in Chicago's bid to host the 2016 Summer Games. At about 11 a.m., their mini-bus made its way through the park along the freshly repaved Payne Drive, stopping outside DuSable Museum of African American History, where the commission was slated to hear a presentation on Olympic plans for the area.

The King College Prep marching band greeted them with spinning flags and twirling batons. Nearby, a person in an Easter Bunny costume handed out candy, and across a field in Washington Park more than 200 volunteers ringed the site of the proposed stadium with flags from countries around the world. Even the weather cooperated. Rain earlier that morning had forced the washington Park volunteers to huddle under plastic ponchos. But a few minutes before the commission arrived, the gloomy skies let up, bathing the park in a cold, blustery sunshine.

The hoopla (the man-made part, anyway) was designed to impress the commission, in town until Tuesday. But those hoping to overhear any telling comments or first impressions were disappointed. South Side elected officials got only a quick handshake when they met with the commissioners at the DuSable Museum, 740 E. 56th Place. "It was just a brief sort of, 'Hey, how are you doing?'" said state Rep. Will Burns (D-26). "We just said hello," added Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th). State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-13) and Aldermen Pat Dowell (3rd), Willie Cochran (20th) and Leslie Hairston (5th) also greeted the commission.

Media access Sunday was limited to brief photo opportunities as the commissioners strode past on their way to closed-door meetings. Buses that carrie some 50 journalists from around the world did not follow the commission as it toured Jackson Park, slated for hockey, and Michael Reese Hospital, planned as the home of an Olympic Village to house athletes that would be converted to private housing after the games. The commission was scheduled to speak at a press conference Tuesday [and did compliment the city and plans]. The final word on whether Chicago wil win over Tokyo, Madrid adn Rio de Janeiro won't come down until October.

The commission's tour did little to highlight what South Siders think about the games. E-mails and flyers from Chicago 2016, the organization sponsoring the bid, circulated in the Hyde Park and Bronzeville communities in the days before the commission's visit, urging supporters to stand on Martin Luther King Jr. drive between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. When the media buses drove down King Drive at about 10:30 a.m., they passed just one group of roughly a dozen supporters gathered at 35th Street. Among them was longtime local activist Harold Lucas, president of the Bronzeville Visitor adn Information Center, 3501 S. K ing Drive. When the buses passed the Michael Reese Hospital site shortly after 8:30 a.m., a group of Chicago 2016 volunteers at the corner of 31st Street and M.L. King Drive waved professionally produced red-and-white signs proclaiming, "We back the bid."

However, two local groups protested on Saturday. Members of Housing Bronzeville, which seeks affordable homeownership for the neighborhood, joined protesters outside the Fairmont Hotel, where the IOC was meeting. Skyrocketing property tax bills are a major concern for the group, according to spokeswoman Valencia Hardy. And the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization rallied at Michael Reese Hospital to air their concerns about eminent domain being used against local property owners should Chicago win the bid.

Olympic benefits debatable for Wash Park group. April 8, 2009. By Kate Hawley

A week after a Chicago City Council committee approved a Memorandum of Understanding tying community benefits to the city's Olympic bid, one local gathering was deeply divided about whether to trust its promises of jobs, minority participation and affordable housing. A discussion about the memorandum drew roughly 50 people to a Saturday meeting of the Washington Park Olympic Coalition, which meets monthly at the Washington Park Field House, 5531 S. Marin Luther King Jr. Drive.

For Cecilia Butler, who heads the coalition, the memorandum represented a rare level of cooperation between community groups and city officials. "You see things you never see the city put on paper," she said. The major provisions include 30 [actually 20 that could become 30] percent affordable housing for the Olympic Village development (planned for the Michael Reese Hospital site), job creation and apprenticeship opportunities, had hiring of 10 percent women-owned contractors adn 30 percent minority-owned contractors.

The memorandum addressed 16 items on the coalition's list of 26 demands for community benefits and participation in the Olympics, Butler said. First on the list is a seat on the Chicago Olympic Committee, which she has held for about two years. She expressed confidence that the memorandum, already approved by the City Council's Committee on Finance, will be signed into law by the full council and approved by the International Olympic Committee, which has final say over whether to adopt it, according to the final clause in the document.And she placed faith in Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, saying he will abide by the memorandum. "He doesn't want his legacy to be marred by lies." "This is not a typical process," she added. "This is a competition of he world. And we happen to play a part."

Not everyone at the meeting shared her confidence. Kublai K.M. Toure, executive director of the Amer-i-can Illinois Inc., a community outreach organization, doubted that the promise of jobs would come true. "You know damn well we can't trust Daley, because he's never done anything for Black folks in this area," he said. Theodore Drew, an 86-year-old South Side resident, echoed that sentiment, shouting, "What makes us think they're going to abide by this? I don't trust 'em in hell with a match and two broken hands." The room broke into applause and laughter. Hyde Park resident Linda Wheeler wasn't convinced either. "My comment is, this community, we're being bamboozled again," she said.

Others said it was worth participating in the Olympic effort. "I'd rather get inside something to change it," said Marcus Wolfe, who runs a Chicago Olympic Youth Awareness Program through SGAU Services. "You're going to have to sit at the table, or you're going to be left with the crumbs." "We're getting crumbs anyway,"said one man. "I'd rather try to turn the table over," a woman added.

The most creative endorsement for the Olympic bid came from Raymond Guyton, who brought a neon sculpture he built of a light bulb framing the numbers "2016." A resident of Atlanta during the Olympics held there in 1996, he said Chicagoans should stake out community benefits early in the bid process. Butler agreed, saying the Black community should pay particular attention to this advice. She urged people to get involved with the bid by reaching out to the Chicago Urban League and other organizations who are stakeholders in Olympics community process. "A lot of African Americans appear to be against the Olympics. But there's a whole lot of people who are for it," she said. "The other residents of our city are making plans for 2016. If you don't, you'll be left out again."

What was learned about latest plans at the April 13 2009 Jackson Park meeting

The Olympic Outreach Committee was greatly expanded by new 2016 president Lori Healey (January 2009) from a couple dozen to 80, divided into 5 subcommittees. A difference has been reported by the end of March. A series of Legacies and related regional meetings has begun: Washington Park April 18 Saturday 9 am at the Refectory 5531 S. Russell Dr. and April 21, Tuesday, 5:30 pm at Douglas Park. The 5 subcommittees are Affordable housing, Community Enhancement*, Contracting and Procurement, Construction, Workforce Development. (*includes the legacies). To support the legacies and Olympic-leveraged improvements, a local foundation is being considered.

Arnold Randall of Chicago 2016 presented and answered questions at the Jackson Park Advisory Council meeting April 13, 2009. About half the 19 venues are in the downtown area, the rest along two radii, an inner and an outer. Washington Park looks like it will be mostly taken up, but that is greatly misleading- new structures will not be south of 55th, though some there as well as a remade Armory and other structures along Cottage Grove and 51st will be used. And the residual stadium will not only be shrunken to c 3,000 seats but will not be in the Great Meadow and will be sited carefully. The Midway will be open and have lots of activities and viewing screens. Indeed, all legacy features are in flux and will require a great deal of negotiation with communities, Randall said.

There are inner and outer perimeters of the Jackson Park site between Stony and Cornell, 60th and 63rd/Hays. Most intensely affected will be the track and football field northeast of Hyde Park Academy, comfort station to the south, and softball field to the south of that. The timeline for the Jackson Park field hockey starts at the end of 2014 with work on the comfort station and removal of the fields and track. Streets will not be closed at that time and only Cornell will be closed during the games and the Drive restricted--but not its bike paths. Summer of 2015 will see completion then testing of the two artificial turf fields with their stands (the comfort station remains). July 2016 the Games open and with the Paralympics go several weeks. Then one of the fields as well as stands is removed and goes back to what was there or becomes something different as designated by the community (and park district). If so wanted, the track comes back around the perimeter of the artificial field if the north field is kept, or could go back to dirt if it's the south artificial that is kept. Family, athletes, staff will access from 63rd (ult. Lake Shore Drive), the public southward along Cornell Drive on foot. There will be no parking facilities or auto access.

Randall said there is as traffic plan, but it has to be filled in-- after the bid is awarded. He asserted HP and Woodlawn wil not be blocked in, but there will be times other routes will have to be found in all directions. More buses for the public will be in service. Permit parking will be used for nearby residents. Maximum number of persons expected in the two fields if both occupied at any one time- about 22,000. There will be a lot of gating and fencing.

Olympic Village- will have 30% affordable available to people with various levels of need, including a percentage going to those making less than 60% of median regional income adjusted for real local medians. Other housing on city-owned tracts within a mile of venues will have 20% affordable.

Much concern was expressed about effects in Washington Park.

A series of Legacies and park framework planning charettes was begun April18 in Washington Park Refectory.

This reporter (GO) did not stay for the charette, but the process will continue, possibly 3rd Sat. in May.

Highlights of the introductory presentation by Arnold Randall of 2016 and Gia Biaggi of the Park District included that the stadium work will start late 2013 and the Aquatic Center late 2014. Athlete and staff entries will be from the east side, public from the west-northwest. Randall acknowledged that major transportation investment that will last will be needed, as is a real step up of the outreach and programs for children and youth (World Sport Chicago)--there have to be benefits for the kids now about age 11. He discussed the topics of the 5 communities subcommittees, but this reporter thought topics needing to be addressed for successful Olympics and legacy were left out, at least from the titles. Our diversity was touted but our being highly segregated by race and income was not. he did encourage thinking as broadly and quickly as possible on jobs and participation. He discussed briefly the Neighborhoods Fund for much more than the legacies, started by the Mac Arthur Foundation and Chicago Community Trust. 2016 is very concerned about public safety, growth of park programs, health of the park and circulation before, during, and after the Olympics. The 1999 Framework Plan will be up on the (Park District or 2016?) website next week.

Questions: Consideration of how to make demolition and construction as green and easy on environment, energy and resources as possible. They say they are, including with temporary and non-foundational construction, and will step up environmental impact study. Someone from the Olmsted wanted as bond or guarantee on park restoration (no bond but recognized cannot destroy one legacy for another). Concerns were expressed about long range skills and viability for those who get jobs or business from the Olympics and about increased taxes and other long-range effects. Need to work long-range on school upgrade was noted. Questions were asked about parking (just permit for residents), traffic, traffic flow and isolation, and shut own of 55th during games (said to be only during). Fear of eminent domain was expressed- (Arnold said it will not be used). Michael Reese-- there will be a hearing an planning process will be held. Note, the sale of Michael Reese occurs at the end of June. How affordability will apply in the Washington Park neighborhood and what will happen to the empty, city-owned lots was asked. There were questions about treatment and long-term future of the park. Randall insisted the legacies and framework are flexible at this point and needs community input. Under consideration now is refurbishing the Armory as a park and community center, what to do with the shops, Dyett school (including whether its pool will remain), Bynum Island and more.

Legacy, impact meetings for Washington Park launched by 2016 in April 2009

Hyde Park Herald, April 22, 2009. By Kate Hawley

A citywide series of public meetings about the long-term impact of the Olympics on local communities kicked off Saturday in Washington Park, where an aquatics center and an 80,000-seat stadium for track and field events would be built if Chicago wins the Olympic bid.

"We're engaging the community in a very significant way about what gets left after the games," said Arnold Randall, director of neighborhood legacies for Chicago 2016, the private nonprofit that is partnering with the city on the Olympic bid. Randall, a former commissioner of the city's Department of Planning and development, was named to the post in February, in the wake of criticism that the Olympic plans lacked transparency and community input.

Critics were among the crowd of about 150 that came to the Washington Park Refectory, 5531 S. [Russell] Drive, to see Randall's presentation Saturday. "I'm just concerned and interested if there's a study about the amount of energy and resources that will be wasted in this colossal plan,"* said Jonathan Fine, president of Preservation Chicago. "We have a team that's just looking at environmental impact," Randall said. Others in the crowd were worried that the historic landscape design by Frederick Law Olmsted would be irreparably damaged by the Olympic activity, and that parking and congestion would prove a massive inconvenience for local residents.
[*This writer, GO, felt the tone was more a question of what was going to be done to minimize waste especially from new construction. Randall's answer that much would be temporary was kind of a deflection, but he also indicated careful study for best ways to be green is underway.]

Randall sought to reassure them on both fronts. The next meeting, to be held in May, will be focused on the park's historic design, he said. And he promised that Chicago 2016 has worked out a detailed traffic and parking plan that wil not allow visitors to Olympic events to drive or park near Washington Park or in the ring of surrounding communities.

Randall also pledged that 55th Street, which currently bisects the park, would not be closed off permanently, as some maps in the Olympic bid appear to suggest. However, access would be limited during the games.

His presentation gave a rough construction timeline. Groundbreaking for the stadium, a partly collapsible structure, would take place in late 2013 or early 2014, he said. Demolition of the temporary part of the stadium would take place at the end of 2016. "It would be back to regular park use by the next summer," he said.

Left behind would be a permanent amphitheater -- which 2016 officials have said would be suitable for concerts or sports events. The size of the facility hasn't yet been determined. According to a Chicago Tribune report, Randall said in a meeting with the advocacy organization Friends of he Parks earlier this month that it could be as few as 2,5600 to 3,500, though higher numbers have also been cited.

Construction on the aquatics center, to include four pools, would begin in late 2014 or early 2015, Randall said. Much of the structure would be temporary, although city and Chicago 2016 officials are considering leaving one pool as a permanent part of the park. That raises questions about what would happen to the existing swimming located in Dyett High School, 555 E. 51st st., at the park's northern edge. "That's part of the larger discussion as to, does [the new] pool replace the Dyett pool?" Randall said.

He also pointed out that m any questions about Olympic issues relating to the Olympics, such as jobs, affordable housing and contracting and procurement, have been hammered out in a Memorandum of Understanding that has passed a City Council committee. Critics such as the activist group No Games Chicago have pointed out that the International Olympic Committee, or IPC, which will make its final decision on the bid in October, has veto power over the document. Ald. Preckwinkle (4th), who attended Saturday's meeting along with state Rep. Ken Dunkin (D-5) and aldermen Willie Cochran (20th) and Pat Dowell (3rd), has argued that the IOC is unlikely to abrogate an agreement signed by Chicago 2016, its local affiliate.

With many detail about the Olympic plans still up in the air, Randall said there is still plenty of time for the local community to have a say in how Washington Park will be affected. Breakout sessions following his talk split the audience into groups that answered questions about park usage and Olympic planning.

When the groups gave their reports, some common themes emerged: people loved their park's activities and festivals and hoped the amphitheater would not block the open views across the park's meadow. The rundown Chicago Park District maintenance sheds behind [south of] the [south-expanded] DuSable Museum of African American History should be removed, and the park should be left with better lighting and maintenance. "A few of us would like to see Dyett High School just gone," said Hyde Park resident March Schlessinger.

"I want to make [the park] a destination place for people coming from downtown," said Bronzeville resident Jim Buckner during one of the small-group discussions. "I want to be so good that downtown imitates us."

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Revised Community Benefits Agreement reported out by Finance Committee March 27, 2009

A Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) Ordinance and Memorandum between the city and Chicago 2016 was drafted in May 2008 and eventually introduced formally in February 2009 by 5 alderman, nominally backed by 22 more, and remanded to the Finance Committee. After several compromises (and too late to be passed by the whole Council before the April 2-7 IOC visit), 2016 signed on and the Ordinance was unanimously reported out March 29. It was reportedly passed by City Council as omnibus acceptance of the Finance Committee report April 22 2009. A recent complication is efforts to protect the 8 Gropius buildings of Michael Reese (interior demolition is already under way and demo permits will be issued when the city takes over in July.)Main features (details not all publicized) include:

Many are pleased, others consider the ordinance a sham or incomplete and providing little other than modest employment and business opportunity for areas south of about 39th St.

Some groups may protest diminutions (including most for Hyde Park-South Shore left out except some jobs), failure to pass City Council before the IOC visit, but Ald. Preckwinkle told the Tribune the latter was not a problem due to 2016 public agreement.

Tribune, March 28, 2009. By Hal Dardick and Angela Rozas. Aldermen back revised Olympic deal, Agreement promises more jobs for area.

After tweaking an agreement by Chicago Olympic officials promising increased business opportunities for minorities, Chicago aldermen gave the deal preliminary approval Friday in an effort to show that the 2016 Summer Games would benefit communities affected by the development.

The Finance Committee voted unanimously for an ordinance ratifying an agreement unveiled Thursday promising contracts and job opportunities to minorities and affordable housing to be part of the Olympic Village development on the South Side. Alderman reworked the agreement Friday to say at least 30 percent of contracts should go to minorities and 10 percent to women, up 5 percentage point in each category from the deal announced Thursday.

However, some community leaders who have been skeptical of the process said they were disappointed the deal would not get a full City Council vote until after the International Olympic Committee's evaluation team visits Chicago late next week. The timing of final approval is a bone of contention that may add to the list of groups planning to protest during the IOC visit April 2-7. Chicago Police union members vote Friday to picket City Hall on April 2 to show their unhappiness with contract negotiations.

It is unclear whether demonstrations over local issues will impact the IOC officials, who are used to such protests during their visits to bid cities. Jay Travis, executive director of the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, said ratification of the deal before the IOC visit had been a central demand of community groups. Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th) said the fact the ordinance hasn't received final approval from the full council is insignificant. "The [Chicago] Olympic committee has signed a public document that says the direction in which they are going," Preckwinkle said. "I think that's great news." ...

 

April 1 2009 Herald, Olympics benefit rules pass out of committee. By Sam Cholke

The City Council Committee on Finance passed rules guiding Olympics-related spending, a memorandum of understanding, March 27 after a last minute deal boosted minority and women business participation.

Sponsors of the ordinance introduced by Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th) delayed the start of the committee meeting by almost an hour in a final bid to increase minimum levels of participation by women- and minority-owned businesses. The ordinance would require a minimum of 30 percent participation by minority- or disabled-owned firms and 10 percent participation by women-owned firms. The last minute 5 percent bump one-ups an Illinois Senate bill sent to Governor Pat Quinn the same day calling for 25 percent minority and 5 percent women participation. The city normally requires 25 percent minority-0owned business participation and 5 percent women-owned business participation.

If Chicago wins its bid for the 2016 Olympics, contractors will be hired based on a scorecard system that will take into account "hiring and sub-contracting within each represented racial and ethnic minority group," hiring graduates from training programs, hiring local workers and other parameters, according to the ordinance. Lori Healy, president of Chicago 2016, said the weighting of each category had not yet been determined.

"Chicago 2016 under your leadership has put their money where their mouth is," Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) told Healy at the hearing.

The amended ordinance approve unanimously Friday by the Committee on Finance retains a minimum of 20 percent affordable units at the planned Olympic Village housing complex with a goal of increasing that number to 30 percent.

Not included were improvements to the Metra South Chicago Branch train line and mandatory advisory councils to oversee the use of tax increment financing funds. New rules also require "the development of a principle of no direct displacement of any resident in the city as a result of the 2016 Games." The original ordinance called for adequate market-rate compensation for anyone displaced due to the Games. The ordinance does not define direct or indirect displacement.

"Knowing there were 27 points that were important to us; today 16 of those 26 have been made possible," said Cecilia Butler, president of the Washington Park Advisory Council and a member of the Chicago 2016 board. Butler said she would be opposed to the process under normal circumstances, but Chicago 2016 and aldermen have been inclusive and open to community concerns during the drafting of the ordinance.

Ald. Ed Burke (14th), chair of the committee, said there would be plenty of opportunities to review the standards set by the city. "This is only the first bite of the apple," Burke said. "They'll be back for a redevelopment agreement, they'll be back for zoning -- we've go plenty of more bites of the apple." The ordinance still has to be approved by the full City Council. The next City Council meeting is Wednesday, April 22.

Herald April 1, 2009. Randall talks Olympic legacy at TIF meeting. By Kate Hawley

Arnold Randall, the new director of neighborhood legacies for Chicago 2016, said the lasting imprint of the Olympics would be determined through "an intensive open process" to included plenty of community input. Speaking Monday, March 9, at a meeting of the 53rd Street Tax-Imcrement Financing (TIF) Advisory Council, Randall gave an overview of th e Olympic bid submitted tot eh International Olympic Committee last month.

Venue plans published in the bid raised questions about exactly how the games would affect Jackson Park, where field hockey [soccer?] is planned, and Washington Park, to be the home of swimming, diving, and tack and field events. Randall said that if Chicago is chosen to host the games -- a decision slated for October -- open meetings will be held in Washington Park , Douglas Park and on the North Sided to allow the community to fully vet the details.

Maps in the bid book appear to show that 55th Street will no longer cut through Washington Park, adn Hyde Park resident Robin Kaufman asked Randall if that is the case. Access to the route would be restricted during the games, but it would be restored when the games are over, he said.

randall also fielded several questions about whether the games would bring improvements to public transportation. While Hyde Park would not get a new train line, federal dollars would be used for significant transit improvements, he said. Parking would be limited near games venues and bicycle use would be encouraged.

Randall, a Woodlawn resident and former commissioner of the city's Department of Planning and Development (since merged into the new Department of Community Development), was once a member of the council himself. He has been on the job as director of neighborhood legacies since early February.


Alderman's Report by Toni Preckwinkle (4th): Talks pay off with community benefits agreement. April 1, 2009

In January, Aldermen Pat Dowell, Leslie Hairston, Willie Cochran and Bob Fioretti and myself (along with 22 other members) introduced a community benefits agreement (CBA) ordinance that pertained to the bid for the 2016 Olympics. The ordinance addressed affordable housing, the involvement of minority6-and women-owned businesses, local hiring and other issues.

The CBA ordinance that was introduced reflected months of hard work by advocates adn aldermen alike. A coalition of community groups entitle the Communities for an equitable Olympics (CEO), the Washington Park Advisory Council and the Chicago Urban League all worked diligently on the drafting of the ordinance. The document that was finally introduced represented almost a year of research and reflection. Last week that hard work bore fruit.

The Finance Committee of the City Council passed an ordinance on Friday outlining the commitment of the Chicago 2016 to community benefits. The Finance Committee blessed an agreement signed by Lori Healey (as president), and Terry Peterson and Michael Scott (as Outreach Committee co-chairs) of the Chicago 2016 Committee.

It should be remembered that the Olympic bid is being made by a privately funded group of individuals and corporations. While the city and state have provided guarantees, the obligation for preparing the bid and conducting the Olympics, should we be chosen, belongs to this private entity.

Given that fact, the memorandum of agreement was an historic document. There are several elements of the agreement which may be of particular interest to my constituents. The Olympic committee pledged to adhere to the city's requirement of 20 percent affordability in the reuse of the Olympic Village units and to try to achieve a goal of 30 percent. In addition, the Olympic bid committee pledged to provide 30 percent of its contracts to minority-owned business enterprises (MBEs) and 10 percent to women-owned business enterprises (WBEs). The city's own standard is 25 percent and 5 percent, respectively. This is a great victory and due in large part to the last minute advocacy of the Council Black Caucus, particularly Alderman Isaac Carothers and Ed Smith. I am grateful to all my colleagues who attended the Finance Committee meeting and especially to these two men.

In its construction of venues and the Olympic Village itself, the Olympic bid committee will try to insure that apprentices provide 10 percent of all construction hours worked. There will also be regional boundaries for local hiring preferences at the Olympic Venues, which are a one mile radius around the Olympic Village, the Olympic Stadium, the velodrome in Douglas Park and the aquatic facility in Washington Pr,. The city and Olympic Committee will also work o create job training and business development to prepare people and small businesses for the many employment and economic opportunities the 2016 Olympics will offer.

My thanks to my colleagues and advocates who made this victory possible. I am also grateful to Lori Healey who has opened up the Olympic planning process since her arrival in January. When she came on board, one of her first acts was to expand the Outreach Committee from a couple dozen members to 80 people who represented community organizations and non-profits across the city. The committee reformed itself into five subcommittees and the work product of these groups formed the substance of the memorandum of understanding. Again, my thanks to Healey and her staff. In rare circumstances, things turn out better than you have any reason to hope or expect. This was one those occasions.

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February 2009: Reflections on the "FINAL BID BOOK"

Updates online- http://www.chicagogames.com. (a Tribune site). Renderings- previous, http://www.chicagotribune.com/bid, others.
Hyde Park Herald issue of February 18 has renderings with labels for Washington and Jackson Park in neighborhood context. Official site: http://www.Chicago12016.org.
A tracking site on all four bid cities: http://www.gamesbid.com.

Community benefits agreements espec. for the Village (Michael Reese) area have been introduced by 5 aldermen- Preckwinkle, Cochran, Dowell, Hairston, and Jackson, but are under siege in the Finance Committee (chair Ald. Burke) despite 27 nominal backers. The aldermen are seeking to get the document reported out for action ahead of the April 2 2009 arrival of the International Olympic Committee. Incentive is to give Chicago something to match the cachets of other bidders and Olympics cities, including green and social sustainability and strong transportation. The three main components of the proposed CBA are 1) 30 percent real affordable housing for the structures after the Village is done, Readiness and training for sustainable jobs (10% apprenticeships) plus 50% MWBE, the Metra Gold Line including a Bronzeville stop plus other transportation enhancements. At a meeting March 7, Ald. Dowell and Preckwinkle promised to work earnestly to pass the Ordinance and apply the principles wherever there is public contribution or leverage.

It was made official in early March 2009. 2016 will ask the state to increase its guarantee from $150 m to $250 m- which happened in quick order, shepherded by area state senator Kwame Raoul. The Committee already has 500 m in city guarantees and 500 m in private insurance for at total of one and a quarter billion.The United States is the only national government that will not guarantee an Olympics. The city is counting on "confidence" in the U.S. and on Chicago's ability to bring broadcast and advertising revenue, plus a now-optimistic contribution from the corporate sector.

From March 6 2009 Maroon-

Hyde Park resident Martin Nesbitt is the latest addition to the Chicago 2016 Olympic bid committee's board of directors, replacing .. Valerie Jarrett, CEO Patrick G. Ryan announced Tuesday... In addition to several business accomplishments, Nesbitt, a board member of the U of C Laboratory Schools, is well known in the city for his civic engagement. He has served as chairman of the board of he Chicago Housing Authority since 2006 and is a trustee of Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art.

What might the effect be of the sudden resignation of the US Olympic Committee CEO?

The 3-volume "bid book" was released by 2016 February 13.

The footprints seem to have grown a lot, regardless of what measurements show.

In Washington Park, nearly all the north half (and parts of the south half) of the park would be used excepting the the arboretum and debating quarters on the west edge, a half to a full block (at at most a half block e-w) around Dyett School on 51st. The great Stadium will extend 2 blocks from 54th St. to south of 55th (which will go underground at the stadium's south edge) about a block west of UC's Stagg Field (Stagg in the footprint is athletic training and warm up). A lot of the tech and entry control will be in that sector just north of 55th or on the northeast and northwest and north edges of the park. Occupying up to two blocks (north-south axis and 2/3 of the park's e-w axis) north of the stadium is the aquatics facilities. The Armory et al would be used. In the west/southwest edge of the park would be an Olympic Club (south of the Refectory) and a Sponsors' Village facing the west lagoon. Left outside would be DuSable and the buildings along Stony to 59th, the lagoons and meadows in the south half, apparently the fieldhouse and Refectory (which would be now isolated).

The Marathon with a "Midway Celebration Site" would come west along North Midway Plaisance and follow Washington Park's inner drive northward into the Stadium.

In Jackson Park, most of the land between 61st and 63rd Stony Island to Cornell Dr. would be used, as well as southwest of the intersection of 63rd and Stony for permitted parking (South Side Y grounds, not Park District) and Hyde Park Career Academy and the alley behind it for broadcast etc. The NHL-sponsored track would be removed (to be returned or not? or permanent soccer fields?) with permanent entry/bleachers on the west side of the north field and some other permanent structure on the west side of the south field, and some other remaining structures. There are various entry and control structures.

Park advocates struggle to digest Olympic bid book. Herald, February 25, 2009. By Kate Hawley

Though the bid book released by the Chicago 2016 Olympic Committee provides hundreds of pages of new details about proposed venues, local parks advocates said questions remain about how exactly their areas would be affected -- in part because they continue to absorb the massive, three-volume report. The bid, released to the public on Feb. 13, fleshes out a general venue plan announced in December that called for hockey in Jackson Park and track and swimming in Washington Park.

"The Washington Park piece wasn't dramatically different from what we expected," John Paul Jones, director of neighborhood pars adn community relations for Friends of the Parks. The group will be holding community meetings beginning in late March to consider among other issues how the park's historic landscape, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, will be affected by the Olympic structures, he said.

According to the bid book, much of the northern half of Washington Park will be taken up by Olympic structures and activity, including an 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium for track and field events. Part of it will remain after the Games as an amphitheater.

An aquatics center will occupy space between the stadium and Walter H. Dyett High School, located at the northern edge of the park at 555 E. 51st ST. The aquatics center's four pools-- one of them permanent -- will be used for athletic warm up, diving, water polo, swimming and synchronized swimming. The map shows Dyett's buildings used primarily as an operations area. Robert McMiller, who took over as Dyett's principal in early February, said he isn't yet steeped in the details of how the school will be affected. However, he's hoping the Olympics would have "a positive effect on the school." In particular, he said the school badly needs an auditorium. Currently, the 540 students cannot assemble all at the same time. He also hopes for updates to the physical plant and for Olympics-related curriculum and programming, he said.

Besides the school, the General Jones Armory, located along the park's eastern edge at 5200 S. Cottage Grove Ave., is slated as a "ceremonies area."

The southern half of the park won't be totally free of Olympic activity. The venue plan shows an Olympic Club and a Sponsor's Village at the park's western edge, roughly parallel with 56th and 57th streets.

Existing University of Chicago athletic fields on the southeast corner of Cottage Grove Avenue and 55th Street, just outside the park, would be used for athletic training and warm-up. The Midway would be a "celebration site," shown in a rendering as an open space set up with tents and TV monitors for Olympic revelers.

The Jackson Park Advisory Council won its battle to move hockey venues away from a sensitive nature area near the Wooded Island. Two fields are now located at the western edge of the park, across the street from Hyde Park Career Academy High School, 6220 S. Stony Island Ave. The school would be used for operations and media, according to the bid book.

However, it's presently unclear whether an existing football field and running track located in Jackson Park would have to be removed to make way for the hockey events, according to a statement from Gary Ossewaarde, of the Jackson Park Advisory Council.

 

Tribune take, Feb. 14, 2009, by Phillip Hersh. Key questions include lack of city ironclad guarantee.

Chicago's 2016 Olympic plan is banking on nearly $1 billion more in revenue that any of its rivals and counting on International Olympic Committee voters to buy the idea that it can cover $1 billion in construction costs without any public funding or guarantees.

Both those facts have been issues for Chicago's bid since it first submitted plans to the IOC a year ago, and nothing about them changed substantively in the much more detailed iteration of the plans contained in the nearly 600-page, 8-pound candidacy file released Friday. Nearly all the rest of th plan also remains as previously announced.

The Olympic Village will be at a Near South Side lakefront site on former Michael Reese Hospital property. The largely temporary Olympic Stadium and Aquatics Center will be in Washington Park. The major concentration of sports events will be in the heart of the city, on the lakefront from 31st Street to Lincoln Park, with 11 sports in McCormick Place.

"Our Games offer an economic, sport, education, cultural and environmental legacy intended to be transformative for people and places," said Chicago 2016 bid committee President Lori Healey, who worked in Mayor Richard Daley's administration, during a news conference to introduce the candidacy files at the Chicago History Museum.

Nearly all the questions at the news conference were about financial matters, including concerns Chicago taxpayers would be paying a substantial part of what the bid committee insists will be privately financed Games. "No U/S. [Olympic] Games has veer lost money, and we believe our financial pan is responsible and conservative," Chicago 2016 Chairman Patrick Ryan said.

Even though an IOC working group noted Chicago's previous revenue projections were "optimistic" and the lack of a full guarantee does not comply with language in the Olympic Charter, conventional wisdom still favors Chicago at the Oct. 2 vote for the 2016 host city.

Chicago, Tokyo and Madrid made their findings public Friday, putting the documents on the Internet. Rio de Janeiro decided to wait until Monday. Chicago's number for running the Games as well as financing them are by far the largest, although two elements account for much of the difference. Chicago's projections put $350 million of the $397 million cost for the largely temporary Olympic stadium into the operations budget of $3.3 billion. Its plan also includes a $450 million contingency fund. Madrid projects its revenue and operations costs at $2.6 billion; Tokyo , $2.86 billion.

The $3.8 billion Chicago revenue projection actually represents a drop from the $3 billion projection of a year ago, which did not include $1 billion from each host city's share of IOC TV and global sponsorship money. "It's a really big number, but I think they might be ale to get if the economy turns," said Lesa Ukman, chairman of IEG, a Chicago-based research and valuation firm for sports marketing. Ukman other sports marketing experts generally agreed with Ryan's contention that the revenue projections are not outlandish. We believe although they are much larger than the competition, they deserve to be because of the uniqueness of the U.S. market," Ryan said. "I'm not going to tell you its not going to be a lot of hard work [to raise the money]."

Chicago projects $774 million in local (non-non-global) sponsorship, compared with Tokyo's $625 million and Madrid's $326 million. There's a huge difference in a category called "official suppliers," who provide materials and money: $474 million for Chicago, $51 million or Tokyo and $531 million or Madrid. "Even in bad economic times, the American economy is more robust than any other economy in the world," IOC member Richard Pound of Canada said. "And people in the United States are used to using major events as part of their business strategy."

The operations revenue also include $245 million in private donations, both as outright gifts and eventually naming rights for the venues, which cannot wear such labels during the Olympics. (The United Center, for instance is "Chicago Arena" in the candidacy files.)

"There is an embedded idea in the U.S. of corporate citizenship in terms of social responsibility and of CEOs networking in a way where one tells another to step up," Ukman said. "You don't have that in other countries."

The $450 million in guarantees the Chicago City Council approved and a projected $500 million in private insurance would apply only to operations shortfalls. The question of who covers any shortfalls in private financing of the the Olympic Village (977 million) and other permanent venue construction (54 million) remains unanswered. That is where the lack of a full governmental guarantee, which the other three cities have, can work against Chicago.

Chicago bid officials undoubtedly will have to provide some more detailed assurances on the guarantees and private financing to the IOC evaluation commission that visits April 2-7.

Among new information in Chicago's bid book were venue changes for soccer and modern pentathlon . The soccer tournament has been switched from a regional to a national footprint. The preliminary rounds would be played in Pasadena, Calif; Minneapolis; Philadelphia; St. Louis; Washington, D.C.; and the New Jersey Meadowlands. Northwestern University is the new venue for modern pentathlon (shooting, riding, running, swimming, fencing), previously planned for three different sites.

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The article goes on with what the other cities count on: Rio a sweetened bid and infrastructure esp. transit and crime measures, experience with other games; Madrid convenience -experience- venues already in place; Tokyo- Olympic history, firm financing, good transit, compactness, eco-friendliness (gee-whiz new islands that make it's minus-zero carbon footprint.)

Other upsides: Chicago- close to city center, tv revenues, reput. ; Rio 1st in SA; Madrid 77% completed or started; Tokyo financing, compactness, eco

Downsides: Chicago- inexperience, incomplete financial guarantees, reput.; Rio PanAm criticism, transportation and crime; Madrid Too much Western Europe, terrorism; Tokyo- tepid public support

Operating Budgets- Chicago 3.3, Rio NA, Madrid 2.7, Tokyo 2.9

Projected Revenues- Chicago, 3.8, Rio NA, Madrid 2.7, Tokyo $2.9

Non-operating Budget- 1, Rio 11.6, Madrid 3.5, Tokyo 4.1

Stadium - Chicago new and largely temporary, Rio Maracana Stadium, Madrid Estadio La Peineta (smallest at 65,00), Tokyo new (largest at 100,000)

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As 2008 closed, The Olympic Committee continued to prepare its final bid book, due February 2009. Changes announced in December 2008 include: The Jackson Park Hockey venue has been moved near Stony Island/Cornell Dr. approx. across from Hyde Park Career Academy. This pleases the Advisory Council in that the venue is moved away from sensitive natural areas but may not please soccer (unless the legacy artificial fields are installed anyway) and possibly may create problems with traffic or use a busy track and football venue. An aquatic component is added to Washington Park in conjunction with the Stadium, the smaller "warm up" pool to be a lasting legacy (Friends of the Parks opposes such permanent "legacies"-see 2nd article following.) The 31st Harbor will vacate the sailing, which goes to Burnham Harbor, leaving a youth sailing facility. Only sketches are available now; 2016 will release more detailed proposal after the Bid goes in February 2009.

(Also of significance, referenda calling for an affordable housing outcome for the Olympics was passed in about 20 precincts in 4 different wards near Washington Park. November 4 2008.)

Three articles flesh out what's immediately known:

Chicago 2016's bid plan gets a slight makeover

By NANCY ARMOUR | AP National Writer
3:55 PM CST, December 12, 2008

CHICAGO - The competition pool for a Chicago Olympics would last about as long as a swimming world record does these days.

Chicago 2016 organizers unveiled several venue changes Friday that they say will benefit athletes and the community, and make their bid more attractive in the highly competitive international field. In addition to moving the aquatic center and making the competition pool a temporary facility, the sailing, canoe/kayaking, track cycling and BMX cycling venues all will be moved under Chicago's retooled bid plan.

"We worked very closely with international sports federations and national governing bodies," said Doug Arnot, Chicago 2016's operations chief. "This plan is better for sport, better for the games and, perhaps most importantly, better for Chicago's youth sports legacy. This plan remains very financially responsible."

The changes will add about 5 percent to the budget, which remains at $4.7 billion, Chicago 2016 chairman Patrick Ryan said. That's a bargain compared with other Summer Games; London estimates its overall costs for the 2012 Olympics will be about $16.5 billion, three times the original estimate.

Chicago is bidding against Tokyo; Madrid, Spain; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the 2016 Games, which would be the first Summer Olympics in the United States in 20 years. Chicago is touting a compact bid, with 90 percent of athletes within 15 minutes of their competition sites and most venues clustered along the scenic downtown lakefront.

Organizers have spent the last 18 months soliciting input on their bid plan, as well as looking to ensure the city is left with a usable legacy -- instead of those white elephants so many Olympic cities find themselves stuck with.

A permanent pool, for example, would seat about 20,000. Many cities struggle to find a suitable use for a facility that size after the games, and wind up having to shrink it.

"We decided to start the other way," Arnot said. "Start with the facility already shrunk, for the warm-up pool, and use the competition pool as the temporary (venue)."

The warm-up pool, a permanent venue, will be adjacent to the competition pool and the two will be separated by a deck, much like they were in Beijing. There also will be a separate diving well and a pool for water polo. All temporary pools will be moved to other Chicago parks after the games.

Temporary pools have been a success at other high-profile events, including the last two U.S. Olympic trials. Michael Phelps even set world records in the 200 and 400 individual medleys at this summer's trials in Omaha, Neb.

The aquatic center site also has changed. It now will be in Washington Park, near the Olympic Stadium, instead of in Douglas Park.

"This will bring Washington Park alive in the days between the opening ceremony and track," Arnot said.

The move also allows room in Douglas Park for a velodrome that will host track and BMX cycling. The velodrome will be converted to a multi-use facility after the games. Northerly Island, a former airport with picturesque views of the Chicago skyline, will now host canoe/kayaking and sailing, as well as beach volleyball.

"We spent a great deal of time balancing input and insight from a great deal of sources, balancing what's good for the Olympic movement and what's good for our city," Ryan said. "We feel our enhanced plan provides us with an even more compelling proposal, and strongly enhances our legacy."

The International Olympic Committee will pick the host city next October at a meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Ryan also said the current economic crisis has forced the bid committee to adjust its surplus estimate to $500 million, down from $725 million. The additional $225 million was expected to come from the sale of the Olympic village to a real estate developer, who would convert the village to mixed-use housing after the games.

Because the real estate market is so slow, Ryan said the committee isn't comfortable predicting any profit.

"Do we really believe we won't get anything? We hope and expect it will improve, but we don't think it's prudent or fiscally responsible to say, 'In spite of the fact that things are as terrible as they are in real estate markets all around the world, that we believe optimistically that we'll be able to do this,"' Ryan said.

That doesn't mean Chicago taxpayers will be on the hook, though, Ryan stressed. The city has guaranteed up to $500 million if the Olympic Games' operating budget lost money.

"We still have a cushion of a half a billion dollars," Ryan said.

Ryan also said he doesn't expect Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's arrest on seamy corruption charges to affect Chicago's bid. Blagojevich was accused Tuesday of putting President-elect Barack Obama's Senate seat up for sale and shaking down the owners of the Chicago Tribune.

"It's a sad day for Illinois, there's no denying that," Ryan said. "(But) the governor has not been involved in our bid, to speak of, at all. ... We don't believe that that will negatively impact the bid."

Olympic imprint on Washington Park raises concerns


Blair Kamin
December 13, 2008
Chicago's Olympic organizers announced significant changes Friday in their bid to hold the 2016 Summer Olympics, most notably a shift of the aquatics center from Douglas Park on the West Side to the South Side's Washington Park, already the proposed site of the 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium.

On its face, the plan makes perfect sense. It would put the two star attractions of the Games—the swimming and diving venue and the main stadium, host to track and field events—side by side. That was the setup last summer in Beijing, where the iconic designs of the main stadium, called the "Bird's Nest," and the aquatics center, known as the "Water Cube," dazzled the world.

The prospect is a festive centerpiece for the Games, perfect for blimp shots.

Yet, voices of dissent arose immediately Friday, particularly because Washington Park was designed in 1871 by the renowned American landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Park advocates were not upset by the plan to place both venues in Washington Park during the Games. Rather, they expressed concern about what would happen afterward: While the competition pool would be torn down, the warm-up pool for Olympic swimmers would remain—a new building that would sit incongruously, in their view, within Olmsted's historic park.

"There should only be temporary facilities placed in Washington Park," said Erma Tranter, president of Chicago advocacy group Friends of the Parks. "At the end of the Olympics, they should be removed and the park restored."

Her remarks underscore a simmering tension brought to the surface by the revamped bid: Olympic organizers are proposing that the Games leave a visible legacy, not simply to inspire the youth of Chicago, as they are fond of saying, but also to win neighborhood support and to impress the International Olympic Committee, which will decide in October whether Chicago gets the Games.

But some activists prefer to keep historic park landscapes intact. To them, the serene meadows and glistening lagoons of Olmsted's naturalistic landscapes are sacred and inviolable, no different from the protected features of an officially protected, Louis Sullivan-designed building.

If federal funds are used for National Register properties like Washington Park, they note, public hearings must be held beforehand.

The same conflict played out Friday in the Olympic organizers' new plans for historic Douglas Park, which has been tapped as the site of the cycling facility, or velodrome, instead of Northerly Island. After the Games, the velodrome would become a multiuse facility that might accommodate such sports as basketball.

Yet not all park activists share the preservation ethic. Kevin Ammons, a South Side resident who attends meetings of the Washington Park Advisory Council, said Friday that he welcomed the possibility of a 50-meter pool there.

"The park has a lot of issues we've been trying to rectify in regard to the broken bottles, the garbage, the bathrooms that don't work," he said. "Anything that's going to be positive—if it's going to keep the park clean—they should do it."

bkamin@tribune.com


Changes to Olympics plan to have big park impact. Washington Park to get aquatics complex. Hyde Park Herald, December 17, 2008. By Kate Hawley

Chicago 2016 officials announced Friday that Washington Park will be home to an aquatic sports complex as well as an 80,000-seat stadium for track and field events, should Chicago win its Olympic bid.

The new plan revealed Friday calls for major changes to Olympic venues citywide. Among them, a hockey field planned for Jackson Park would move from an area near the Wooded Island to a different site within the park, across from Hyde Park Career Academy High School, 6220 S. Stony Island Ave.

Sailing, once slated for a new harbor planned for 31st Street, will now take placed at Burnham Harbor, in a temporary facility that would be left as a youth sailing center following the games.

Only the basic parameters of the new venue plan were available Friday, and full details won't be available until the city submits its final bid package in February, according to a Chicago 2016 spokesman.

The aquatics complex would include a pool for swimming competitions, a diving well and water polo facility. A warm-up pool would become a permanent features of the park, while all the other pools would be temporary structures removed after the games.

This bare outline of a plan raised questions about the impact on historic Washington Park, said John Paul Jones of Friends of the Parks, an advocacy group. While he had no objection to the temporary swimming facilities, he feared that the permanent facility could prove disruptive to the Frederick Law Olmsted landscape.

Jones said the Southeast Side badly needs the new indoor swimming facility that would be part of the Olympic legacy. but he recommended building it outside the park's boundaries, for example in the nearby Washington Park community.

Ald. Willie Cochran, (20th), whose ward overlaps with Washington Park, agreed that its current outdoor pool needs an upgrade but said the community would have to vet such a decision. He was first briefed Friday on the aquatics center's move into the park. "Those changes were driven by the International Federation of Swimming," he said. "They wanted the facilities to be closer to the tack and field events."

Ross Petersen, president of the Jackson Park Advisory Council, said he was pleased that the hockey field would be moved away from the site near Wooded Island, due to the areas's heavy use by school sports teams and its proximity to sensitive wildlife. The council passed a resolution opposing the hockey field for these reasons, and registered the complaint with Olympics officials, he said. "I am cautiously optimistic that [the move] will soften the opposition to the Olympic venue coming into our park," he said. "But I need to hear more."

Where exactly the field would be located may be a sticking point, he said. A relatively little-used baseball diamond across the school would be a better location than a field with a football field and running track just to the north in his view.

Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th), who has overseen ongoing plans for the 31st Street Harbor, was not immediately available for comment Friday.

Top

Preservation agency to rule on Reese (Village Site): Assessment of hospital campus' historical significance is required before decision, law says.

Tribune, May 7, 2009, part of Race for the 2016 Olympic Games series. By Blair Kamin and Kathy Bergen. (Note, Kamin has come out against preservation of a Mies building at the corner of the IIT campus and Cellular Field slated to become a Metra station.)

State historic preservation officials have entered the battle over Michael Reese Hospital, saying that the South Side medical campus, which Chicago wants t tear down almost in its entirety to make way for an Olympic Village, may be historically significant. The move marks the first time a government agency has raised a potential hurdle for Mayor Richard Daley and organizers who want to bring the 2016 Summer Games to Chicago. The move could slow the city's plans to buy the property and quickly resell it to private developers.

The Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board [tainted by scandals and being currently overhauled by the legislature] is expected to take up the issue of closing the hospital at its July 15 meeting. In a March 13 letter to the board, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency requested an on-site visit at the hospital campus, located between 26th and 31st streets along Cottage Grove Avenue. The agency cited an Illinois law that requires it to assess the impact on historic properties before state agencies grant funding or permission for projects. The Tribune obtained a copy of the letter on Wednesday.

Preservationists, who are trying to save Reese's 1907 Prairie style main building as well as several modern structures designed with the involvement of notable architect Walter Gropius, welcomed the step. "The good news ... is that it would create a review process, which we do not have now" said Jim Peters, president of Landmarks Illinois, a Chicago-based historic preservation advocacy group.

Molly Sullivan, a spokeswoman for the city's Department of Community Development, downplayed the significance of the preservation agency's involvement. But she acknowledged that the hospital will have to comply with the agency's review.

In April, the city's Public Building Commission asked contractors to submit qualifications for demolishing "a number of structures" on the 29-building Reese campus. City officials later promised that the main building would be saved, even though it was included in a demolition zone on a map for potential contractors.

The state's intervention in the cases is not assured because of Daley's political power; and the preservation agency has made no final determination about the campus's historic significance. "If the effects are adverse, we try to find another venue for the project or we try to modify the project to lessen the effect," said Anne E. Haaker, the deputy state historic preservation officer who wrote the agency's letter.

The hospital submitted a letter of intent last year to the Health Facilities Planning Board indicating that it wants to close, but it has yet to submit a formal application, said Melaney Arnold, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Public Health. The Hospital will seek clearance to close at the planning board's July 15 meeting, said attorney Edward Green, who represents the hospital's owner, Envision Hospital Corp.

The city has agreed to buy the campus for $86 million and sell it to developers, who would build a nearly $1 billion Olympic Village to house 16,000 athletes and officials if Chicago is picked to host the 2016 Games. The International Olympic Committee will select among four finalist cities Oct. 2.

If Chicago loses its bid, the city said plans would proceed for a mixed-use project with housing for a variety of income levels.



State actions to advance the bid

According to State Sen. Kwame Raoul's (D-13) report in the Herald April 15 2009. The state expanded McPier's bonding authority, which may allow for expansion ahead of the Olympics. The state guarantee for Olympics was increased by $100 m to $250 m. (Burns, Currie, Raoul). "This bill also creates a new diversity program, forms a commission to provide a clear chain of command and security for public safety and other changes to state law to make hosting these Games a more possible reality. Chicago securing the 2016 Olympics will do wonders for our community by making critical investments in our infrastructure and bringing more money and jobs to our small businesses. The 2016 Games will drive economic expansion over 11 year, from 2011 to 2021. Forecasts indicate $22.5 billion in new economic activity from the games and @11.4 billion of labor income is anticipate.

Despite the prospects of Chicago hosting the Olympics in 2016, our city and state need immediate help, so we have passed an economic stabilization Package...

A new plan for Washington Park: Garfield Blvd. tapped for transit-oriented development.

Herald, June 24, 2009. By Kate Hawley

Residents and stakeholders of Washington Park, Hyde Parks' neighbor to the west, have produced a road map for how they want their community to develop -- an increasingly charged topic given how powerfully a Chicago Olympics could reshape the area and the University of Chicago's recent historic investments into the neighborhood.

Beginning in March last year, more than 200 people representing a broad swath of local institutions met over a nine-month period with ald. Willie cochran (20th) to draft a quality-of-life pan for the neighborhood. Titled "Historic, Vibrant, Proud and Healthy," it was developed as part of the Local Initiatives support Corporation of Chicago, or LISC/Chicago, which is behind similar plans in 16 city neighborhoods.

The plan envisions Washington Park's vacant lost filled in with new housing affordable for a range of income levels, its historic buildings rehabbed, its youth engaged in constructive activities and its adults able to find decent jobs. Health care and support for senior citizens are also among the plan's 10 strategy points.

These are ambitious goals for Washington Park, which has struggled due to disinvestment over the last half-century. for example, the U.S. Census projected it 2005 population at 13,000, down from 57,000 in 1950.

But seismic changes are on the horizon for the neighborhood if Chicago wins its bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics, not least because track, field and swimming would take place inits eponymous 372-acre park. Some say the ground has already begun to shift with a series of land purchases along Garfield Boulevard by the University of Chicago.

"Neighborhood stakeholders consider the Olympic bid and the University of Chicago land purchases as both opportunities and threats," the plan's authors wrote. "While they may bring new investment and trigger implementation of projects in this plan, they could also repeat urban-renewal mistakes of the past that displaced residents or reshaped communities without the input of local residents." The authors continue, "We intend to be full participants in decisions about our neighborhood's future, and will use this plan to guide development."

Charts and drawings included in teh 35-page planning document show the stretch of Garfield Boulevard from teh Green Line station to the park -- where the university began negotiations to acquire 15 parcels last year -- targeted for "transit-oriented development." This type of development is generally mixed-use, dense and focused on generating foot traffic.

Sonya Malunda, associate vice president in the university's Office of Civic Engagement, participated in the quality-of-life planning from the onset at Cochran's invitation. The university will follow the community's lead when it comes to development in Washington Park, much as it did during recent planning efforts in Woodlawn and the Quad Communities area, she said. "Our role has been that of a junior partner."

A thriving Washington Park would benefit Hyde Park's retail environment and give university students and other Hyde Park residents better access to Washington Park's Green Line stations and the Dan Ryan Expressway, she added.

Developing Garfield Boulevard, though critical to Washington Parks' retail environment, is just a small part of the overall plan, which includes 59 separate recommendations. To put them into practice, the steering company of local stakeholders created a nonprofit called the Washington Park Consortium. Backed by a seed grant of about $200,000 from LISC/Chicago, the consortium began operations in May, according to its executive director Brandon Johnson. Collaborations with other local groups have produce a series of initiatives.

According tot he report, the South Side Federal Credit Union has begun offering checking accounts and has expanded its foreclosure counseling, The Life Center Church of God in Christ has launched new youth programs at its K.L.E.O. Family Life Center and th Washington Park Advisory Council has installed new furniture adn equipment in its computer technology center and offered a sports day camp.

Johnson said he hopes to gain the community's trust by kicking these smaller programs into gear right away. "There's a lot of skepticism in communities across Chicago, and Washington Park is not an exception, about plans actually being fulfilled," he said.

He expressed confidence that the consortium is on the right path. "We've got everybody at the table", he said. Top

------------------------------

Short reflections

January 2008. The Chicago 2016 Olympic Committee submitted the Applicant File, and turned in bid documents and proposals. President Bush offered full support of the bid. The file is on line at the Chicago2016 site (file is very large). Contact meanwhile as in the following notice. In February 2008, Mayor Daley announced a CTA repair and upgrade program, with most of the projects to be done by October 2009 when the bid is reviewed by the International Committee. June 4 2008, the International Committee pared the process to four cities: Chicago, Madrid, Rio, Tokyo. And President-elect Obama made a video pitch for the Olympics, shown to the OIC delegation in November 2008. Sports scholar Allen Sanderson said the Committee may not find it so easy to raise its remaining $10 million from corporations in this time. The Bid Book goes in Feb. 12 2009.

At an April 2009 public conversation-interview at U of C, Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. said his reason for supporting the Olympics is the opportunity to shorten a shameful gap between city and suburban athletic participation and training opportunities and facilities as well as in academics. In Chicago we simply cannot enable the kids to compete in the Olympics.

John Paul Jones in February 2009 on the connection between assuring CPD commitment to "equitable distribution" of capital and other resources and Olympic outcomes: "This is a good season for park advocates as we move toward the bid application for the Olympics and our assurances that there will be some level of fairness in decision making.," said Jones.

Possible real estate impacts. Chicago Agent magazine (Morgan Phelps) December 2008 quoted HPKCC President George Rumsey among others. Interviewees revealed divergent opinions on how much impact the coming of games will have and where. Some are literally betting and buying in the South Side (esp. Bronzeville) , but it's far from a stampede, at least until the bid is won, and of course it's felt better to be already a player there and also to give lots of though to what one does.
Also of importance is the Michael Reese area. Note that the area around the Village and stadium are already developed. Rumsey had no doubt the Village will be there or in the vicinity. He also said Washington Park residents are concerned about"what happens to the park before, during and after" and for transportation adn impact on property values and taxes- Hyde Park, Washington Park, Jackson Park, Bronzeville. "We're not just talking about transit during the Olympics. There's going to have to be massive construction going on for years to get ready for this." And, will affordable housing result (and compensate for loss of CHA)-- some groups seek 30% affordable. Rumsey cited a lack of city response on this issue. Some others talked of the opportunity to restore these neighborhoods to their once regal standing.

What might it do TO us? Although some say "not much" (esp. in HP-K), Don't forget primary impact will be first in parks, then streets and transit, then on select (usually vulnerable) neighborhoods and populations, not nec. all near venues- visit in the cached pages at top.
Impacts might include on localized security restrictions including permit parking.

 

So What Might We Get From It?. Note that it is not a done deal: Chicago is reportedly behind some competitors in transit (at least in explaining plans), government financial soundness, and the US behind in popularity. Nor has every venue's locale been set.
"Let's not get the bad parts"- October 18 2008 Hsg. forum, Claire Mahon (Geneva) on the bad that happens in housing. Charles Shaw, Five Ring Circus. Note cautionary studies, including that below and by the Urban League and DePaul.
See Gold Line Legacy below. Those in Washington Park hope for Green Line improvements and maybe trolleys/streetcars on Cottage, King et al.

Visit the many reports at websites of DePaul University, Chicago Urban League et al and Metropolitan Planning Council's full Olympic Databook 2008 in their site http://www.metroplanning.org or email reconnection@metroplanning.org.

WBEZ story on Olympics Community Benefits: http://wbez.org/content.aspx?audioID.32219.

Olympics Community Benefit Ordinance
Chicago 2016 At January's City Council Meeting, Aldermen Preckwinkle, Fioretti, Hairston, Cochran, and Dowell introduced an ordinance that would protect the interests of communities that could be affected by the 2016 Olympics. The focus is to increase public participation, development of affordable housing from the Olympic Village, adequate notice and compensation for anyone who is displaced due to the construction of Olympic sites, utilization of minority and female owned businesses, subsidy accountability, allocation of workforce development programs, eligibility for tax credits, low interest loans, and grants for businesses leasing space in the Olympic Village who pay their employees a living wage, and utilization of mass transit which will result in massive improvements to CTA trains and buses. To see the text of this ordinance, visit www.chicityclerk.com/legislation/sublegmatters/2009/jan13/04PRECK_PO2009_235.pdf

DePaul Report says "not much" benefit: Games no sure winner.. revitalization, improved world image not assured

Chicago Tribune, December 23, 2008. By Kathy Bergen

Hosting the Olympics does not guarantee a boost to a city's international image or neighborhood revitalization, according to a study by DePaul University researchers. And while civic and cultural leaders have mostly cheered Chicago's bid for the 2016 Games, the study provides a rare voice of caution.

"It's not discussed much in Chicago, but sometimes the Olympics have been good for cities in an overall sense, and sometimes they haven't" said Larry Bennett, a professor of political science and co-author of the study, which is to be released Tuesday.

The researchers studied Chicago as well as four cities that have hosted Summer Games" Sydney, 2000, Atlanta, 1996, barcelona, 1992, adn Los Angeles, 1984. Like Chicago none are national capitals. A few patterns emerged:

A top-down planning process seems to be the rule, with limited community involvement. Chicago's planning process was described as "both opaque and ad hoc."
Suggestion: Leaders should address residents' fears that gentrification will force them out of their South and West Side neighborhoods, researchers said. Based on previous experiences, "These concerns are not without a basis in fact," the study found, urging establishment of a neighborhood advisory council to aid in planning.
Response: The Chicago 2016 bid team said its outreach as been vigorous and ongoing and has helped shape plans. In Douglas Park, for instance, plans were revised to leave the park with a new field house, said spokesman Patrick Sandusky. And the Olympic Village on the Near South Side, after the games, will include new low- and moderate-income housing. In addition, since most of the plan is set in parks, the city will not need to acquire residential tracts, he said.

Financial forecasts should be taken with a large grain of salt, as projections of local visitor spending often are overestimated and construction costs can escalate way beyond initial estimates.
"Cost overruns associated with the construction of Olympic facilities could force the commitment of substantial funds, that is, government resources which, in all likelihood, would otherwise have been directed to other purposes," the study stated.
Response: Sandusky said the bid team "put together a responsible plan in which 22 of 27 venues will be temporary or already exist, so there is virtually zero risk of cost overrun and a burden to taxpayers." The team projects $22.5 billion in economic activity stemming from the Games, between 2011 and 2021.

An international image boost is not a given. While Barcelona a shined, Atlanta stumbled. In that Southern city, "information system breakdowns impeded press coverage, transportation to Olympic events was uneven and, toward the end of the Games, a bomb was detonated in Centennial Olympic Park" the study noted.

In touting Chicago's plan, bid leader Patrick Ryan frequently likens it to Barcelona, where the seaside Olympic Village helped revitalize that city's waterfront.

Study co-authors include Michael Bennett, associate professor of sociology, and research associate Stephen Alexander.

 

Another site looking into Olympic questions and gathering views is Steve Frayne's www.Chicago2016.com (That is not the Bid Committee's site, that ends in ".org." Steve's email is steve.frayne@gmail.com.

Several organizations and coalitions over a wide swath of the South and West sides are seeking inclusion of affordable housing, transit, and green goals (all tied together) into Olympics community benefit agreements. Such discussions are under way, for example, in task forces set up by Ald. Hairston and Preckwinkle. Note that the draft for the Olympic Village area includes affordable and minority-women and jobs/ job training commitments but little on the mentioned others or schools. The emerged result was mixed.

Olympics Community Benefit Ordinance
Chicago 2016 At January's City Council Meeting, Aldermen Preckwinkle, Fioretti, Hairston, Cochran, and Dowell introduced an ordinance that would protect the interests of communities that could be affected by the 2016 Olympics. The focus is to increase public participation, development of affordable housing from the Olympic Village, adequate notice and compensation for anyone who is displaced due to the construction of Olympic sites, utilization of minority and female owned businesses, subsidy accountability, allocation of workforce development programs, eligibility for tax credits, low interest loans, and grants for businesses leasing space in the Olympic Village who pay their employees a living wage, and utilization of mass transit which will result in massive improvements to CTA trains and buses. To see the text of this ordinance, visit www.chicityclerk.com/legislation/sublegmatters/2009/jan13/04PRECK_PO2009_235.pdf

Communities for an Equitable Olympics, a host of public officials, HPKCC and the Chamber of Commerce signed on to letters of support for 'Gold Line" (Gray Line Lite)- it was dropped from the CBA, but that does not necessarily mean it's dead. See Metra page. Another transportation idea gaining a little steam is trolleys or streetcars.

Olympic Human Rights Project at Chicago- olympicshumanrightschicago.blogspot.com. (Not clear of their position at this point)

Sadly, after implying for the past two years that the time for public input was after the international, selection, 2016 said that ideas for benefits, ameliorations or legacies is December 1 2008, when it begins putting together the final Bid to be submitted in February. Now they admit that's not true-- it better not be, aldermen and others said.

John Hilkevich asks why we just talk while other states pass capital programs and referenda to fund what was sitting in limbo particularly on transit- will we get Olympics this way?

By Gary Ossewaarde:

The Conference received virtually no response on requests for information on Olympic planning and impact.

In general, not much information on plans to accommodate the Olympics and provide lasting facility legacies has come forth from the Chicago2016 Committee and the media, and little local planning is being done. Mayor Daley did announce a program of transit and related upgrades apart from Olympic considerations and generally thought needed in any case-- and requiring state and federal help. Foundations and university are now joining together with funds to study, with communities, impacts and legacies and to engage, to the extent many of those at the top and those in communities are not just boats that pass in the night. The biggest hope is that a spark and momentum for some degree of renaissance will be lit, one that would not happen with out a reason. But most commentators (and a recent forum at the University on Displacement) point to little local positive economic or development results from recent Olympics. It seems likely that some parks and neighborhoods will be both bowled over and left ill-prepared for the Games and their aftermath. The IOC can spend only on the games. The feds, to the extent our country, as opposed to others, spends on Olympics, does mainly for transportation, security and safety--maybe these can be inroads for improvements. The city sees Olympics in part as a way to turn children on and around.

From: Chicago 2016 Applicant City <info@chicago2016.rsys1.com>
To: rumsey@aol.com
Sent: Fri, 18 Jan 2008 6:02 am
Subject: Download the Chicago 2016 Applicant File

On January 14th, our response to the International Olympic Committee Applicant City Questionnaire was submitted to the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. The Applicant File is the first official document we’ve sent to the IOC and gives a detailed glimpse into our concept for the Games. As I remarked at the press conference to introduce our Applicant File to the public, Chicago 2016’s plan will create a spectacular Olympic experience for the athletes, Olympic Family, residents, spectators and the global television audience. I am committed to this vision and truly believe our city can provide an unrivaled Games celebration. The PDF of the Applicant File is posted on the Chicago 2016 website* and I invite you to examine our concept and share it with anyone who is interested in supporting our bid for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Patrick G. Ryan
Chairman and CEO, Chicago 2016

*http://www.chicago2016.org/ The committee says all that it has decided to date, and goals and objectives are publicly on line at this site.

Visit the many reports at websites of DePaul University, Chicago Urban League et al and Metropolitan Planning Council's full Olympic Databook 2008 in their site http://www.metroplanning.org or email reconnection@metroplanning.org.

Washington Park Olympic Committee of WP Adv. Council meets 1st Saturdays 9 am, Washington Park fieldhouse, 5531 S. King Drive. Contact 773 493-0754.

So, Chicago has won its U.S. Olympic Bid, Advances To International Competition. Commentary. Saturday, April14, 2007, 3 pm: Chicago is the United States' pick to host the 2016 Olympic Games, and will now go on to compete with other cities worldwide. The U.S. Olympic Committee announced in Washington, D.C., this afternoon, that they had picked Chicago over Los Angeles. Mayor Richard M. Daley and other city officials have been working for more than a year to envision a plan to host the 2016 Games. Pledge by a local insurance company to cover up to $500 million and a scholarship fund including by U of C that will enable athletes to study in Chicago helped top LA's last minute sweeteners.
Valerie Jarrett, vice chair of the Committee, says much more community input will now be sought. Meanwhile in October 2007 Peter Uberoth of the U.S. Olympic Committee said Chicago's bid is in about 4th place against Rio, Madrid, and Tokyo.

What does this selection mean for our local communities and, should the International Committee select Chicago, how can it be made a positive, community-advancing and least-disruptive experience?

You are invited to send your views, whether for inclusion here or not. Send to hpkcc@aol.com, Attn. Washington Park Olympic proposals. You should also send your views to Cecilia Butler, President of the Washington Park Advisory Council (call her at 773 667-4061), Alderman Preckwinkle, Alderman Troutman, Park District General Superintendent Timothy Mitchell, and Mayor Daley. Scroll down for mailing address of International Olympic Committee. Gary Ossewaarde, HPKCC Parks Chairman.
The website of the Olympic Bid Committee is http://www.chicago2016.org. Hyde Park Herald is also asking for opinions for and against. letters@hpherald.com.
HPKCC's Letter
is also in its own page for printing. Note:
Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO Timothy Mitchell has agreed to a meting with HPKCC spokespersons; a meeting is being arranged with Timothy King, External Affairs Director. HPKCC is also in touch with Gyata Kimmons, 2016 Committee community liaison.

For Washington Park's history and significance, the present park, its council, programs and facilities, visit this site's Washington Park homepage and navigate to sub pages on special facilities there.
Maps of Washington Park.
Parks home. Park Issues. DuSable Museum of African American History website. Chicago Park District website.


Meetings, contacts, who's engaging etc. Go the the chicago2016.org site for ongoing schedule of meetings.

To learn about community meetings on the subject, visit www.chicago2016.org/our-plan/community-engagement/community-meetings-calendar.aspx. To inform of and ask attendance by 2016 at your meeting or to request of them a community meeting, email community@chicago2016.org.

1st Saturdays, 9 am. Washington Park Olympic Committee. Field house, 5531 S. King. Cecilia Butler.

Oct. 2, Friday, late morning- countdown party in Washington Park by the proposed stadium. Quad Communities.

DuSable Museum has been holding celebratory events and giveaways and is planning a forum in favor of the Olympics while expressing its concern for preserving the history and legacy of the park and neighborhoods bringing development and jobs.

___________________

Chicago 2016
Phone 312 552.2016
Fax 312 861.4801
E-mail info@chicago2016.org
visit www.chicago2016.org
200 E. Randolph, Ste. 2016 (new address)
Chicago, IL 60601

2016 Committee community relations liaison is Gyata Kimmons. 312 861-4852, gkimmons@Chicago2016.org. Legacies director and head of that committee is Arnold Randall, 312 784-6034, arandall@Chicago2016.org. New President Lori Healey (formerly Mayor Daley's Chief of Staff). CEO is Patrick Ryan. A major planning head is Doug Arnot. community@chicago2016.org

Support link: http://www.chicago2016.org/support-the-bid.aspx.

Volunteering: http://www.chicago2016.org/volunteer.

Shop: http://www.stores.xpapparel.com/chicago2016.

Donate: http://www.chicago2016.org/donate.

A tracking site on all four bid cities: http://www.gamesbid.com.

Updates online- http://www.chicagogames.com. Renderings: http://www.chicagotribune.com/bid, others.

For Benefits text see www.chicityclerk.com/legislation/sublegmatters/2009/jan13/04PRECK_PO2009_235.pdf.

There is a coalition that says "No Games" period. http://www.nogameschicago.com.

And some who worry about effects and especially non transparency: http://www.unlympics.wordpress.com.

http://wwww.Chicago2016.com independent website tries to be even handed.

The Washington Park Council will not discuss the matter regularly: Instead it has spun off a Washington Park Area Olympics Coalition, which will meet 1st Saturdays 9 am in Washington Park Fieldhouse (except July 11 2009). Watch for updates on successes on its evolving set of points to be engaged with the Olympic committee. There is a website, to be confirmed. Other groups in Washington Park area are also involved.

Fifth Ward Olympics community focus and committees were meeting. Suspended for now.

Fourth Ward Olympics focus (one of them?) is to engage with Communities for an Equitable Olympics, SOUL (Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation-- a coalition of congregations including, locally led by Linda Thisted and David Hatch), and others, which is looking at impacts of Olympics and seeking a community benefits agreement. a major emphasis is "Silver Line" Metra upgrade and streetcars or trolleys.

Chicago Urban League has done studies and seeks community organizing to get what communities want without getting the unwanted. David Thigpen, VP Policy, adolphus@gmail.com.
See their 15 Recommendations, evaluation at http://www.thechicagourbanleague.org.

Announced in late May 2008 is a coalition of universities (including U of C), civic think tanks, and foundations, some of which have already conducted or sponsored extensive research and published studies (DePaul especially). Among leaders in this who are also in the Chicago2016 Committee is John MacAloon (who has studied 13 past Olympics) of UC Social Science Division.

Coalition for Equitable Community Development hosted with several organizations including HPKCC a forum and panel on Olympics and Housing October 18. Presenting and answering was a representative of 2016 as well as two aldermen and two UC faculty members. The conversation with 2016 continues, particularly on movement of people at Olympics and the Gold Line Metra proposal, which is gaining traction (see in this page). HPKCC Transit Task Force chair James Withrow is a leader of negotiations on the latter.
A public forum is being planned on Olympics and Transit by HPKCC.

SOUL (South Siders Organized for Unity and Liberation) unveiled the following goals before 600 at a King convocation they called at St. Mark United Methodist Church c.89th St. These are the Metra Gold Line, ensuring positive change from the Olympics, including 30 percent affordable housing (endorsed by Ald. Preckwinkle) and 50 percent of construction jobs, and to find creative and holistic solutions to violence. Rep. Will Burns is helping prepare a draft Community Benefits Agreement to be presented to city officials during an Olympic Internat'l Committee visit in April 2009. Note that Metra chief Bill Tupper refuses to approve the Gold Line proposal.

 

Timeline (partial)

Timeline

May 2006: United States Olympic Committee (USOC) opens the domestic stage of bidding for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

July 26, 2006: Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco are announced on the USOC shortlist.

November 16, 2006: San Francisco withdraws its bid, leaving Chicago and Los Angeles as finalists.

February/March 2007: USOC conducts site evaluation visits to Chicago and Los Angeles.

April 14, 2007: USOC elects Chicago to participate in the international bid process.

September 13, 2007: The international bid process begins.

January 18, 2008: Preliminary proposals went to the IOC

June 2008: the International Olympic Committee announces the shortlist of the 2016 candidate cities based on their review of t he preliminary proposals. Chicago is short-listed, the process will continue. Chicago, Madrid, Tokyo and Rio. Each pay $500,000 candidate fee to continue.

August 2008- Olympic Games Observer Programme, Beijing

Sept./October 2008- Report by Evaluation Committee and Preliminary Final Bid Book due (including financials)

February 12, 2009: Final proposals are due to the IOC.

May/June 2009: The IOC evaluation commission will visit candidate cities to evaluate plans.

October 2, 2009: The IOC will elect the 2016 host city.

Recent

Opposition to any Olympics in Chicago is still alive and well....

From an email sent us April 5, 2009

Check out this Fox News 'interview' with Chicago 2016 Bid Chairman Pat Ryan where he discusses the South Side Land Grab. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUuAQDIqjYM

Our acting group produced this parody. Hopefully this will help your community fight against the land grab. Feel free to share this video with your community.

 

(1) From: Matt Ginsberg-Jaeckle <mateogj@yahoo.com>

Sent: Mon, 12 Jan 2009 1:23 pm
Subject: [Southside ] Olympics

There's No Such thing as an "Equitable" Chicago 2016 Olympics

Nothing could be further from the truth than to think that supporting an "equitable" Chicago 2016 Olympic Bid is a consistent position for people who care about social justice. The Olympics have displaced over two million people in the last 20 years (see http://www.cohre.org/mega-events for a major report on the Olympics by academics from Center for Housing Rights and Evictions in Geneva). Even in cities where community benefits agreements were discussed ahead of time, the results of the Olympic games have consistently been:

-Massive displacement of low income people of color

-Huge cost of living increases due to rent pressures + tax burdens

-Dramatic repression of homeless people and anyone else deemed "undesirable" (i.e. poor black people)

-Huge burdens for tax-payers as bids have almost always surpassed expected public expenditures

In Atlanta thousands of homeless people were either forced from the city or locked up, 30,000 people were displaced and over 4,000 units of public housing were lost. If those were the results in a city with strong black leadership and an engaged civil society, imagine the results in a city like Chicago notorious for police brutality and displacement. Not even the jobs argument holds true, for as the COHRE report shows, the few jobs created are low-paying and temporary and job loss after the Olympics are over is often drastic.

The groups that are currently asking for an "equitable" Olympics argue that the Olympics are inevitable and that we need to ask for community benefits agreements. But given the Olympic track record and the political leadership of Chicago, any concessions will inevitable pale in comparison to the effect of the games on low-income people of color especially.

There have been several cities that effectively resisted the Olympics. These include Amsterdam and Toronto. Many grassroots groups around Chicago are rejecting the Olympics outright instead of facilitating the process by deceiving people into thinking an "equitable" 2016 bid is possible. These groups include

the Coalition to Protect Public Housing,
Black People Against Police Torture,
Blocks Together,
the Pilsen Alliance,
STOP,
the Independent Human Rights Council,
Voice of the Ex-Offender,
Solidarity Not Charity,
NoGames Chicago,
and many others.

Siding with the "crumbs from the table" coalition will not only help bring the games to the city but could discredit students and close doors to future collaboration.

Please find out more at our panel Saturday 1/31 at 6pm at UIC Student Center East 750 S. Halsted. See below for more info:

Join a panel discussion with:

CHRISTOPHER SHAW author of Five Ring Circus: Myths and Realities of the Olympic Games and founding member / lead spokesperson for two groups in opposition to Vancouver's 2010 Winter Olympics: No Games 2010 Coalition and 2010 Watch.

DEBORAH TAYLOR of Southside Together Organizing for Power (STOP) and Lake Park East Tenants Association.

KAREN GJ LEWIS of the Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE)

WILLIE J.R. FLEMMING of the Coalition to Protect Public Housing

THE CITY OF CHICAGO HAS entered into bidding for the 2016 Summer Olympics with little public debate or discussion about the merits of hosting the event. Chicago 2016 and the Mayor are promising the Olympics will be a boon to the city. However, past Olympics have proven to be a burden on cities; leaving behind mountains of debt and empty sporting facilities - while promised job growth and public infrastructure improvements never come to fruition.

Already, the 2012 Summer Olympics in London are four times over budget - with security costs alone expected to exceed $2 billion. Meanwhile, revelations about the Olympic Village for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics continue to surface. Not only are the people of Vancouver now on the hook for $875 million dollars to finish the Olympic Village (that was originally to be funded through private dollars) -- the project may leave the city bankrupt.

Join NO GAMES: Chicago for a panel discussion on why Chicagoans have nothing to gain from the Olympics any why we should actively oppose them.

_____________
(2) From Phil Le Good (formerly of Vancouver BC):

Dear Executive of Jackson Park Advisory Council

I have been going over your minutes and especially those related to the 2016 proposals for Jackson Park.

As a former resident of Vancouver BC, now host for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, I would like to give you fair warning about promises from Bid Committees and those who cloak themselves in a pretense of listening to community concerns. Your mistrust is well founded!

What you are experiencing in your city, the Olympic size boosterism, is no different from any other bid city or host city. I have been following
Vancouver's leap into the Olympic business since 1998 and space here is limiting to my thoughts and advice.

I suggest you read "Five Ring Circus" by Chris Shaw to get a better picture on how these bid committees "imagineer" and later promise their way into community group acceptance only later to find that the promises are as temporary as the Bid Committee that made them.

If Chicago gets the nod to host the 2016 Games then all previous agreements and especially cost estimates are no longer legitimate. Not one facility in
Vancouver has come close to its original estimate.

The Vancouver Athlete's Village construction was estimated to cost $105 million has now soared to $845 million and is not completed. The private sector is
building the village, however, city residents have just been notified that their city officials signed a confidential agreement with the private sector builders
that the City would guarantee the builder's loan to the investment company. The citizens of Vancouver just learned that the builder was in "anticipatory
default" of their loan a year and a half ago. The City now must find a way to borrow $450 million.

Road building to handle the Olympic Games 16 day road capacity has seen a whole mountainside ripped apart so the road could be widened, a pristine wetland destroyed to make way for more lanes of traffic to Whistler ski hills...an untouched mountain valley with hundreds of acres of forested land stripped to make way for cross country racing...normal law biding residents were arrested and jailed. Two grandmothers ended up in jail for defying the courts and
protecting the most wonderful treed wilderness and one died upon immediate release from prison...and on and on...

One thing is for certain, the PR that is manufactured for these Games is a remarkable engine, well tuned by previous Bid cities and Host cities and the
IOC. Given that large media groups become friends of bids and eventually the host city media sponsors many good stories are "spiked" by editors or never
given any time to explore.

The Chicago Bid representative that visited with your group and mentioned how in Vancouver working with community groups created changes to the bid made me wonder just what changes he was talking about. I surely would like to know because if there were changes that were suppose to be community friendly, they have not been honoured.

If you were to poll Vancouverites and residents of our province, British Columbia, you would find a minority now support hosting the Games. When a
population actually gets to experience the true Games that take place during the seven long years of bidding and hosting the Games they become jaded.

From Shaw's book,

"I’ve tried to make it clear that Vancouver’s “geocentric” bid, both in its origin and evolution, was not unique. In fact, as I began to look into the IOC
and Olympic cities in more detail, startling similarities became apparent. The pattern that finally emerged clearly showed that bids are all “imagineered” and
controlled in the same way. Moreover, all “successful” bids produce comparable crops of lies, broken promises, debt, social displacement and environmental
destruction. Vancouver’s bid history is thus like that of Sydney, Salt Lake City, Athens and Torino in the past and is utterly predictive of London and
Sochi in the future." (Chicago?)

IF Chicago's 2016 Bid is successful, it will be Daley's last kick at the can and I doubt whether he will survive the elector's wrath that certainly will come
prior to actually hosting the Games.

I am available for any questions you may have. My final advice, take nothing at face value and question everything.

Sincerely

Phil Le Good

 

3) NoGamesChicago statement of March 17 re why they are protesting and marching April 2 2009.

RALLY / PROTEST / MARCH

SHUT DOWN THE OLYMPIC BID

Say 'NO' to the Chicago 2016 Olympic Bid!

Thursday, April 2, 2009 = 5pm, Federal Plaza (50 W. Adams)
March at 6pm (time approximate)

The International Olympic Committee will be in town from April 2-8th to evaluate Chicago's potential as a Host City for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Let them know that Chicago 2016 does not speak for the people of Chicago. Let them know that Chicagoans have other priorities. Let them hear your voice.

RALLY. SPEAK OUT. PROTEST. SHUT DOWN THE OLYMPIC BID!

We need Better Hospitals, Housing, Schools, and Trains -- Not Olympic Games.

They Play and We Pay. NO GAMES!

For more information - email nogameschicago@gmail.com
or call 312-235-2873

On the web: nogameschicago.com Join us on Facebook

THEY LIE ABOUT THE IMPACT OF THE GAMES...

WILL THE OLYMPICS PRODUCE JOBS AND HELP THE ECONOMY?

Based on the 13 Summer Games between 1964 in Tokyo and London in 2012, the overall costs have exceeded a billion dollars ten times, with a net profit only once.
Source: Chris Shaw. Five Ring Circus: Myths and Realities of the Olympic Games

Bid Books Lie. They overstate the benefits of the games and understate their costs. The result is huge coasts and debt for the tax payers of the host city.

"The most important piece of advice that a local government can take regarding mega-events, however, is simply to view with caution any economic impact estimates provided by entities with an incentive to provide inflated benefit figures. While most sports boosters claim that mega-events provide cities with large economic returns, these same boosters present these figures as justification for receiving substantial subsidies for hosting the games. The vast majority of independent academic studies of mega-events show that the benefits to be a fraction of those claimed by event organizers."
Source: Prof. Victor Matheson, "Mega Events: The effect of the world's biggest sporting events on local, regional and national economies"

'Long-term unemployed and workless communities were largely unaffected by the staging of the Games in each of the [last four host] cities. Much of the employment was temporary, and there was also little evidence that volunteer skills transferred to
the post-Games economy,' says the report co-authored by Dr Iain MacRury. 'Greece actually lost 70,000 jobs in the three months following the [2004] Games, mostly in the construction industry.'
Source: www.london.gov.uk/assembly/index.jsp

A report by Roger G. Noll and Andrew Zimbalist of Stanford University found that a new sports facility has an extremely small (perhaps even negative) effect on overall economic activity and employment. Stadia rarely earn anything approaching a reasonable return on investment and sports facilities attract neither tourists nor new industry.
Source: "Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums"

WHAT ABOUT HOUSING AND DISPLACEMENT?
Approximately 30,000 poor residents were displaced from their homes in Atlanta by gentrification, the demolition of public housing, rental speculation, and urban renewal projects associated with the Olympics. Approximately 2,000 public housing units were demolished and nearly 6,000 residents displaced. African-Americans were disproportionately affected by displacements, housing unaffordability, and harassment and arrests of the homeless. The criminalization of homelessness was a key feature of the 1996 Atlanta Games: 9,000 arrest citations were issued to homeless people in Atlanta in 1995 and
1996 as part of the Olympic Games 'clean up'.
Source: Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions

The Olympic Games have displaced more than two million people in the last 20 years, disproportionately affection minorities such as the homeless, the poor, Roma and African-Americans, according to ... "Fair Play for Housing Right: Mega Events, Olympic Games and Housing Rights".

Source: Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions

Top

Reports on what groups are thinking, doing. Some being attacked?

No GAMES Chicago!
www.nogameschicago.com

Some articles on the turmoil in Vancouver:

For background information, the Five Ring Circus video can be previewed on Youtube in eight parts: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFuBW3wkVm8

Larry Bennett and Stephen Alexander wrote an excellent November 2008 report: Chicago and the 2016 Olympics. See:

http://las.depaul.edu/euc/docs/eucDocs/CHICAGO_2016-_OLYMPIC_REPORT.pdf

Pat Hill has a blog at: http://olympichumanrightsprojectchicago.blogspot.com/

Other helpful websites include: http://www.chicago2016.org/ ; http://www.chicago2016.com/2016/ ; and http://nogameschicago.com/ .



Opponents of Chicago Olympics Come Under E-Attack
www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-anti-olympics-29-jan29,0,5251103.story

Group Argues Against Chicago's Olympic Bid
http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local&id=6635069

Transit Investments for the Olympic Games
For a link to an article by the Metropolitan Planning Council about the importance of public transportation in hosting the Olympics, please visit www.metroplanning.org/articleDetail.asp?objectID=4472


2016 Olympics and Chicago Neighborhoods
A short analysis by the Chicago Rehab Network on the effect that the 2016 Olympics might have on Chicago's neighborhoods. Includes an Olympic bid timeline. For more information, please visit www.chicagorehab.org/resources/docs/policy/olympics/crnolympicsandneighborhoods.pdf


CHICAGO: 2016 Olympic Bid Discussion Forum
http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=94921&page=166


The Washington Park Advisory Council's 26-Point Plan
www.hydepark.org/parks/washington/OlympicWashington.htm#26Points


Top 10 List of Issues Chicago 2016 Bid Committee Needs to Address
www.chicago2016.com/2016/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=44&Itemid=26


"If I Lived in Lincoln Park" - http://washingtonparkcc.org/2008/10/14/if-i-lived-in-lincoln-park---.aspx


Don't Give Up the Ship! - http://friendsofmonroeharbor.org/proposal.php


Long-Term Value of 2016 Olympics for Chicago Questioned by DePaul University Researchers - www.newsroom.depaul.edu/NewsReleases/showNews.aspx?NID=1953


THE CHICAGO 2016 OLYMPIC GAMES AND MINORITY INCLUSION:
ECONOMIC IMPACTS AND OPPORTUNITIES
- A report by the Chicago Urban League
www.chicago2016.com/2016/files/reports/ChicagoUrbanLeague-ProjectNext.pdf

Government (in London) Forced to Bail Out Major Olympic Projects
Ministers raid £461m from contingency fund to keep construction of athlete village and media centre on track. For more information, visit www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/jan/21/olympics-2012-funding-bailout


Game on for Money, Fame
- "Chicago continues to be viewed as the front-runner"
www.chicagotribune.com/business/chi-mon-outlook-olympics-1229-dec29,0,1000470.story


Could the Blagojevich Scandal Impact the 2016 Olympic Bid?
www.chicagotribune.com/sports/chi-081210-olympics-chicago-2016-blagojevich,0,923488.story


Council OKs acquisition of Michael Reese Hospital for Olympic Village
www.suntimes.com/sports/olympics/1335538,chicago-olympics-daley-121708.article


Chicago Drops From Top Spot In 2016 Olympic Bid Despite "Obama Effect"
www.gamesbids.com/eng/bidindex/1216133875.html


$22.5 Billion in New Economic Activity from a Chicago 2016 Olympic Games
www.metroplanning.org/press/mpcnews.asp?objectID=4700


Unolympics or Unlympics- group's games seek to call attention to decisions being made just by th corporate insiders who control the bid committee.

Based on article in Feb. 5 2009 Chicago Weekly. By Sarah Pickering. http://www.unlympics.wordpress.com.

Kickball players in Washington Prk dressed as reps of Walgreen's, Philip Morris at all vs blue- collars and asthmatics without healthcare. Future events will be a spelling bee, jump-rope and karaoke. Organizer Anne Elizabeth Moore points out that we hear details like about the Olympic village only after the IOC sees it. The Olympics will change Chicago without asking Chicago, she says. Salem Collio-Juin and Kristin Cox (the latter of the Chicago working Group on Extreme Inequality" worried about displacement, kicking homeless out of town, and privatization of public spaces (libraries, charter schools, air space, airports..). Another concern is "opportunity cost"-- money diverted or pressured away from other needs or causes including affordable housing to the Olympics. Organizations are now making lots of such diversions, Moore and others assert, not just the small clique they assert are making decisions and that is the strongest objection of the group, and others they work with such as inCUBATE.

So, What could or can communities get from the Olympics? See Gold Line legacy, below

Experts who support it say communities and cities can focus and ratchet up support for needed improvements from a specific goal--if they focus on just a few topics, and the Olympics in turn can be more than a 2-week party. Others point out inevitable financial drain and distortions, with benefits often going to just a few. In Chicago many community groups and elected officials are concentrating on building coalitions and consensus for community benefits agreements. Some of these are described following.

The draft city cba on proposed Olympic Village (dr. Ald. Preckwinkle) calls for 20 percent affordable, with some advocates call insufficient in light of expected impact on housing prices and costs on the South Side, local jobs and set asides. Some site no inclusion of benefits for schools and open space. See Olympic Benefits page. Ald. Preckwinkle says 2016 is reluctant to even have community benefit agreements.

Maroon viewpoints by Shin Kim Feb. 10 says we should lobby for social consciousness, gold sustainability.

"...Social Sustainability, analogous to environmental sustainability, posits that basic living conditions for members of a community continue to be met, even in occasions of mega-events like the Olympics." This writer agrees that there will lots of relocations partly from increasing rent in various areas as the city is gotten into shape, corners will be cut on legal protections, sponsors (esp. after the bid is accepted) will make the decisions, not communities, and transparency will go out the window. The writer says the main effect here will b that reasonably priced and nearby apartment housing will become harder and harder to find. This will likely lead to town-gown issues or at least competition over affordable housing. The writer suggests this is something the UC students can take a lead in, like the students in British Columbia, which is supposed to have the first"Socially Sustainable" Olympics.

Gold Line legacy/benefit

"Gray Line Lite" is now "Gold Line"- a proposal with growing support to greatly increase Metra Electric South Chicago service via 10 minute off peak service and acceptance of universal transit cards to increase daily service to 40,000 from 11,000. Planning agencies that have costed it out say it compares better than other steps or proposals like Pink Line. Some kind of CTA leasing may be advisable or not. Cost $160 million (vs $490 for Pink Line) for new cars, track-signal upgrade, station upgrades, new stop between 47th and 27th. Coalition for Equitable Olympics, HPKCC, SOUL are among those supporting. Officials contacted so far are working to get it- "We will get the money" for this worthy Benefit.

Metra Electric conversion (based on Mike Payne's Gray line idea) gains traction at 5th Ward July 2008 Olympic meetings.

At the July 2008 5th Ward Olympics meeting James Withrow of HPKCC Hyde Park Transit Task Force and Linda Thisted of Coalition for Equitable Community Development and Interfaith Open Communities Hyde Park presented a version of Mike Payne's "Gray Line" concept to integrate via leasing Metra Electric (here South Chicago Branch) by the CTA system, with frequent L type service and a common fare card. After familiarizing other aldermen along the route, a request could be made for a cost and feasibility assessment--Ald. Hairston says that as a single infrastructure upgrade for the Olympics and in general, it makes a lot of sense and bang for minimum dollar. Parts of the rationale include the relative and growing density along this route from Kenwood through South Shore, that the mid south except for Hyde Park has some of the longest commutes to jobs in the metro region, and the solid and growing centers of attraction and new developments along the line. Top

Here is from the report by Thisted and Withrow:

Public Transportation Proposal - Integrate the Metra South Chicago Branch into the CTA system, running trains at 10 minute intervals throughout the day and night.

Chicago Weekly News talks about the Gold Line, in an article on the next South Side CTA growth- including Orange Line extension, South Loop Green Line station, and Red Line extension. November 20, 2008. By Sam Feldman.

The proposed sites for the major Olympic venues in 2016 stretch along the lakefront, from Soldier Fiedl and the Olympic Village south to Jackson Park. Unfortunately, none of these spots are particularly accessible by CTA trains. Hyde Park resident James Withrow has a solution: the Gold Line. Withrow's proposal would take the South Chicago Branch of the Metra Electric line, which runs from Millennium Station downtown past the waterfront venues to 93rd Street, and turn it into a line of the CTA. In practice this would mean running trains every ten minutes and providing integrated fares, so you could transfer to or from other CTA buses and trains for only twenty-five cents. Withrow hopes the trains would be branded as CTA and appear on CTA maps, but Metra would continue to operate them through an agreement with the CTA. "It's just important for people looking at Hyde Park to realize that operationally they'll be on the El grid," he explains.

Although the name "Gold Line" is a nod to the Olympics, Withrow's idea was not originally built around the games. "I've been working on this for five or six years, or at least talking to people about it, promoting it as something we ought to do," he says. If Chicago beats out Madrid, Rio de Janeiro, and Tokyo, Withrow believes the Gold Line would be "vital" for transportation to run smoothly in 2016, but its utility will continue beyond then. "I think the best way to put it is that people see this as a good excuse to do the right thing," he says.

Recently Withrow's proposal has been adopted by Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation (SOUL) and Communities for an Equitable Olympics (CEO) and endorsed by Aldermen Toni Preckwinkle (4th) and Leslie Hairston (5th) [and Sandy Jackson (7th)], as well as Hyde Park's state senator and representatives [and Sen. Durbin's office]. A few weeks ago Withrow got a favorable response from Doug Arnot at Chicago 2016, and he has high hopes that the Gold Line could be up and running as soon as two years from now. The CTA, which has not been known historically to oppose Mayor Daley, should go along with the plan, although Withrow is little less optimistic about Metra. "You always hope that they will cooperate and actually want to help out, and I look forward to the first piece of evidence that that's happening," he says diplomatically.

Withrow has looked into the potential cost of the Gold Line, and it's not clear yet where the funding would come from. "I never for a minute thought they'd be cheap, but basically the price we were quoted were something like three and a half million dollars per [rail] car," he says. "I notice that when Governor Palin sold her jet, she only got 2.1 [million] for that, so we're talking about something that's more expensive than a jet." Still, he's optimistic that the federal government wil chip in half the cost. "This is definitely the most pro-public transportation administration we've ever had," he says. And given the clean electric technology and the lasting benefits, he hopes to get funding at the state level too. "This area, especially the area south of here, it was built for streetcar trolleys, it wasn't built to accommodate a lot of cars." he points out. "If you have a transit method that people enjoy using, I would certainly hope that both Hyde Park's retail district and the retail further south of here would be helped out quite a bit by this."

Top

HPKCC, Chamber sign on to Gray Line Letter. Hyde Park Herald, by Sam Cholke

The Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference (HP-K CC) voted Sept. 4 to join the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce in support of a plan to increase the frequency of South line Metra trains to 10-minute intervals and allow $0.25 transfers to CTA transit. The proposal, commonly referred to as the Gray Line, is the top priority of South Siders [Organizing for Unity and Liberation], a member organization of Coalition for an Equitable Olympics 2016, while attempting to negotiate a community benefits agreement with the city concerning Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympics.

James Withrow, who brought the proposal before the conference, said no one has expressed opposition to supporting the Gray Line. "The Olympics are a great excuse to get people working together on this," Withrow said. The proposal has received initial support from Ald. Leslie Hairston's (5th) Olympic committee. Withrow said the University of Chicago and Howard Males, chair of the 53rd Street Tax Increment Finance (TIF) District advisory council, have also shown interest in the proposal.

"Other than tweaking bus lines, this seems like the most likely to succeed," said George Rumsey, president of the HP-k CC, before the conference voted to sign on to a letter of support with the Chamber. "I think it would be a major improvement."...
[Note: Withrow said the plan would involve acquiring about 24 new rail cars, a goodly expense.]

Herald, August 13 2008. By Sam Cholke

A forum will be held Aug. 4 to discuss improvements to the South Shore Metra line and other transportation options should Chicago win he bid for the 2016 Olympics. The meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. at Olivet Baptist Church, 3101 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

The meeting will include discussions with Southsiders Organizing for Unity and Liberation (S.O.U.L.), a coalition of community organizers sponsored by Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th) and the Coalition for an Equitable Olympics on their decision to promote the Gray Line Lite proposal.

The Gray Line Lite proposal would increase train frequency on the Metra south Shore line, which runs from the Loop to 91st Street along the lakefront, to 10-minute increments and allow for transfers to Chicago Transit Authority buses and trains. It would in essence functions as another "El" line, James Withrow, a member of S.O.U.L., told board members of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference (HP-KCC) at its aug. 7 board meeting. Withrow chairs the HP-KCC Transportation Committee.

Withrow and Linda Thisted, another member of S.O.U.L, presented the Gray Line Lite proposal at a July 24 Olympics meeting with Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th). The group showed support for the idea and the alderman thought it worth pursuing, but [they] refrained from officially signing on as supporters of the proposal. Hairston said at the July 24 community meeting that Chicago doesn't have the money to build something like a monorail down the lakefront to transport people to and from the Olympic events. Using the existing Metra tracks would not be expensive, she said. If Chicago wins its bid for the Olympics, the inevitable federal infrastructure money coming into the city could be used to mitigate most of the initial costs, Hairston said.

The Gray Line Lite proposal is taken heavily from Chatham resident Michael Payne's Gray Line proposal.

April 7, 2009. Gold Line dropped from CBA but still backed by Chicago Maroon- asks UC admin to push.

For the last few days, representatives of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have been wined and dined as city officials shuttled them between sites of proposed Olympic venues. IOC members have seen a host of glitzy proposals for multi-million dollar projects and infrastructural improvements. What they haven't seen is anything resembling a strategy for revamping the city's transportation system. Instead, the bid relies on the existing train network along with temporary shuttle services, but pointedly offers nothing in the way of long-term improvements.

For Hyde Parkers, this represents a wasted opportunity. The proposed "Gold Lien" -- an El route that would take the place of the South Shore [South Chicago] Metra Line in East Hyde Park -- would be a boon for the neighborhood. The line, which would run every 10 minutes and allow 25-cent transfers to other CTA buses and trains, has been pushed with an eye toward the Olympics (hence the name). The idea behind this initiative is that the Games would increase congestion and a new El line would be necessary to serve the massive influx of people. Most appealing to Hyde Parkers is that long after the Olympic torch is snuffed, the Gold Line will still be here.

the Gold Line is a good fit for Hyde Park whether or not Chicago gets the bid, but the Olympics present the best chance to push it through. An El stop, particularly in conjunction with Olympic-sized crowds -- an, in an ideal world, a new hotel -- would spur development in the neighborhood. Hyde Park would become a more attractive destination for retailers and restaurateurs, and a more convenient one for tourists. For students, meanwhile, freezing late-night waits for the 55 at Garfield would become a thing of the past. If the Gold Line materialized, Hyde Park would undoubtedly be a more appealing place to live. On a broader scale, new transit options would also be environmentally friendly, giving Hyde Parkers adn outsiders an incentive to leave their cars at home.

The U of C exerts considerable influence as one of the South Side's major institutions, and with its purchase of properties in Washington Park and with President Zimmer's seat on the 20156 Exploratory Committee, the University has been actively involved in the bid. Going forward,t eh U of C should take full advantage of its clout to push for new transit options for Hyde Park.

The Olympics wouldn't be a panacea for all of Chicago's problem. But it inarguably presents a unique opportunity for massive infrastructural improvements. The U of C and the city should not trip over the finish line when it comes to public transit.

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Greening the Olympics? Metropolitan Planning Council has issued "Rules for the Games" for the 2016 Olympics bid.

Priority #1: improve transportation options in metropolitan Chicago. (based on already developed plans)

Priority #2: Coordinate pre-Games development with the revitalization of Chicago's Mid-South and West side communities currently underway. (community input, redevelopment to reverse disinvestment)

Priority #3: Maximize benefits for Chicago's low and moderate-income residents. (expanding earning power for neighborhoods and attracting, retaining young professionals and middle-class families)

Priority #4: Grow Chicago's reputation as a green city. (sustainable revolution: green neighborhoods with ped-bike friendly streets, compact mixed use development, accessible open space and transportation, mix of housing types)

More orgs. like SOUL, Little Village, Hyde Park Coal. for Equitable Comm. Dev. are connecting the dots to the Olympics, whether through benefits agreements or otherwise-- transit upgrades with clean air (shutting down dirty coal by 2010; Gray Line Lite; 20% affordables.

One is Little Village Environmental Justice coalition. They hold rallies at the coal-fired plants etc.: will it be a green Olympics or a Coal Olympics, and what about transit?

2008 COALYMPICS IN CHICAGO!
LVEJO and partner organizations host Coalympic Games to highlight environmental concerns with the Olympic Bid!

CHICAGO-The Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO) will be hosting the Coalympics at Chicago’s own Dvorak Park at 1119 W. Cullerton St. on Saturday, the 27th of September at 10:00am. Across the street from the Fisk Coal Power Smoke Stack to educate attendees on the subject of air quality, public transit and the mayors Climate Action Plan in Chicago and the effect it will have on the city’s chance to successfully bid for the Olympics in 2016. As of August 19th of 2008, Chicago was notified that it failed to meet the new standards set forth by the USEPA CLEAN AIR to regulate soot.

LVEJO will call on the Mayor and other officials to expand CTA service, close 2 coal-fired power plants on Chicago’s Southwest Side, and create a Renewable Energy Jobs Program by 2010, 6 years in advance of the 2016 Olympics. The environmental justice organization will present information on the impact these plants will have on Chicago residents, Olympians and spectators.

According to Samuel Villasenor, “more than sixty percent of the proposed venues for the Olympics in Chicago would be within a ten-mile radius of at least one of these two coal power plants”.

“Just as athletes wore air masks in Beijing concerns of there health will be raised if the power plants are not shut down.” The June IOC report questioned "how people would get from rail lines to the large concentration of sports venues planned for the lakefront, saying they were 'not in close proximity.'" Chicago did not explain how it would increase either bus or train service for the Olympics. LVEJO is calling for CTA to order new “clean air buses.” on existing and new routes such as the proposed 31st Street route. The new route will provide access to jobs and the Olympic Village site in what is currently a “transit desert”.

The October 18, 2008 Forum on Olympic Impacts on Affordable Housing in Hyde Park-Kenwood and beyond

Convened by the Coalition for Equitable Community Development, cosponsored by several organizations including Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, South Siders Organized for Unity and Liberation, and the other institutional-organizational members of CECD.

CECD's website: http://www.hpkcoalition.org.
CECD's brochure in pdf.
CECD's issue paper on Olympics and Housing, by itself.
This site's page related the work of CECD. Affordable Housing home.

The October 18 2008 CECD forum, Olympic impacts on affordable housing in OUR Neighborhood

By Gary Ossewaarde

Pat Wilcoxen, president, convened the forum at 10 pm, thanking Augustana Church for its hospitality. She briefly described how the organization emerged from faith groups.

Committee reports:

Affordable Housing Advocacy. Chair Linda Thisted recited and explained the Issue Paper on Impact of Olympics on Affordable Housing, which asks for specific set aside commitments in the Olympic Village and for all developments within a two-mile range of the Village and the Stadium should Chicago's bid succeed. Thisted also reviewed successes in gaining set asides from local developers and gave some of the challenges to affordability in coming years.

Research Committee. New chair Mark Granfors described means to understand and map the housing types, ownership, and costs in the neighborhood.

Membership and Fundraising. At the end of the meeting, Chair John Murphy explained that the organization is a membership-based (institution/organization and individual) 501c3 and that dues and gifts will definitely help.

Speakers:

Gyata Kimmons, community liaison for Chicago2016 outlined the next steps, including final bid book in February 2009 (600 pages), visit from International Olympics Committee teams in April 2009, and decision announcement October 2. Kimmons said their eyes are on making a better--and more sports and fitness oriented--Chicago, and what it will look like after the Olympics. He said the parks were chosen not just because free but would not involve displacement and had opportunities for useful legacies. Legacies, starting from now, will include education, sports, and fitness for youth; infrastructure, transportation, development, and housing (the latter mainly the Olympic Village). Location of the Olympic Village is unsettled due to ongoing negotiations with MedLife, the owner of the land of Michael Reese. Goal is mixed private-public-foundations development for mixed use housing and retail and will involve ongoing job training. Major planning partners are CMAP, CDOT, MacArthur Foundation, and Tribune-McCormick Foundation.

Allen Sanderson is senior lecturer in Economics at University of Chicago, concentrating on the economics of sports, and a Hyde Parker. Sanderson pointed out the rule of scarcity--people and cities have to chose where to invest resources, and that any change or happening is likely to bring at least some disruption. He thinks there will be winners and losers in neighborhoods, as there will be in any case. We should make sure improvements really are that and bring increased value to the locales and city. He expects there will be on average overall benefit, but we should pay attention how the inevitable balancing act between "efficiency" and "equity" plays out, for everyone. We have a responsibility to help those who could be made worse off by this or any change. He also reminded us that the job of Chicago2016 is first to sell the games. It's an interest group. It's everyone else's job to "kick the tires."

John MacAloon is an associate dean in the Social Sciences Division at U of C who has studied the impacts of 13 previous games and whose perspective is anthropological-- he prefers to look at effects and involvement of specific people and groups he has met rather than at aggregates. He said effects will be different within each distinct neighborhood. He advises the Olympics Committee.

Alderman Toni Preckwinkle (4th) said that first of all the Olympics is an opportunity to showcase the city, Midwest and communities. She praised the choice of a place where there are not preexisting people to displace, especially for the Village. She said providing affordable housing even in the Village, especially at the 1/3 level CECD is asking will be very difficult. Three recent projects in her ward did-- because they were Hope/CHA transformation programs that involved heavy federal infusion through layers of funding -- including $12 million in infrastructure upgrade before a shovel was turned for construction.
The Olympic Village (which she prefers to be on the Michael Reese site) will become a TIF district, so the 20% affordable commitment is in the document, along with strong Women and Minorities Business and job training/50% local hires provisions. But all had to be fought hard for. She is receptive to having an advisory council for the TIF, and noted there are working groups in the large rebuild areas mentioned previously.
She noted that the Olympic Committee is playing its cards very close to the vest, with confidentiality agreements, subcommittee she got people on but that don't meet, a "corporate" model but with weak interfacing with the city. Will this change after the bid?

Alderman Leslie Hairston (5th). Hairston said her ward has little open land except for parks, so she is putting emphasis on preserving the housing stock and its affordability, including creating a watch list and other means. She is particularly worried about aging buildings, especially higher ones where people bought their units long ago but taxes and assessments are rising--maybe above resale value, and the buildings are vulnerable to developers buying them up and displacing the occupants. She also notes that for quite a while realty values were held down by the struggling surrounding areas-- this ended in the 1990s. There are also many troubled buildings with a succession of owners. Creating and keeping affordable units is a great problem citywide, she said, which has been made worse by how the Plan of Transformation has been carried out.
She is very concerned about Olympic impact--adding to the existing pressures, and the looming possibility of great disruption with the Olympics themselves-- how are all these people to be gotten in and out? With or without them, people need access to transportation, jobs, and much else. Olympics could help spur local plan, for example along the Stony Island and Metra corridors. She also said it is very hard to find out what 2016 is planning on doing. As for housing, she said that there is a Florida Model of planning to help people 10 and older stay in their houses and communities and there are developers in the area aware of this need.

The floor was opened to questions.

SharonJoy Jackson addressed ongoing as well as Olympic needs re: parking and traffic, need to fix up lakefront and parks, the 'Iowa' building as an opportunity now an eyesore. Will you work with and help the Park District?
Kimmons said there will be no provision of parking (or by implication Olympics amelioration of existing parking problems), at least some areas will be permitted without allowing people to bring a flock of guests with cars, and there will be other restrictions on outside access.
Kimmons said the plan is to use the Olympics to ratchet up school fitness, sports-opportunity (and science-in-sports like is starting now), and after school academics and this involves much more use of the parks-- that has to be fixed up, as do the parks. (He did not say where the Olympics or long-range money is coming from.)

Another expressed skepticism there would be minimum impact for those who live close to venues. Kimmons seemed to think the limits on vehicular load will work. Hairston expressed skepticism, citing the mess with shuttling and street congestion at the DNC in Denver. Our streets cannot handle that kind of load and the buses are environmentally unfriendly-- and after Dan Ryan the state reneged on repairing damage.

MacAloon said Denver was unprepared and is a poor example. He said Chicago has to have a good plan or it won't even get the Olympics. His estimate is that we will not get hoards of traffic, car or foot, on the sides streets and will hardly know the Olympics are going on. Hairston reiterated lack of state support on traffic, transportation, public safety --unless the Feds will help we can expect neither a good experience or improvements left behind. He noted there has to be an integrated team working on this. It was noted that 2016 does not yet have a director for legacies and impacts

Someone who works with income and housing issues to the north (SOUL?) asked for more information on impact on moderate income people for housing and potential for pricing or pressure displacement, citing reported problems with this in other Olympic venues. Panelists said there was little displacement even in Atlanta except by Turner Stadium; much poor condition housing was replaced there with better, and the Chicago Olympics has no direct displacement or removals. Sanderson said displacement and development in Barcelona were not related to the Olympics.

Harold Lucas said Bronzeville residents and housing can't help but be affected; how can existing be better rather than be displaced. MacAloon talked about an ongoing multi-year Cultural Olympics now underway. There was general agreement that ways have to be found to break cycles of poverty.

Joe Harlan said Chicago is way behind needs and other cities on housing, transportation and more-- how is that pattern going to be broken, and, given how this city operates, what confidence can we have that things will be handled well? And if so, where is the money coming from without the taxpayers being stung. Kimmons responded that they will work with the city departments and agencies, and he has had issues also, and have to develop lots of partnerships. They are committed to outreach.

Another asked who is in charge of the legacy component. And how much aldermanic and community involvement has there really been. Kimmons said they are selecting a legacy leader (some dismay in the audience) and are "taking back" ideas from meetings such as this. Preckwinkle said there needs to be a city Olympics office to interface with 2016 on legacies, transportation, and living wage. She said there has be a legacies director before February.

Ellie Hall asked whether the kind of housing (i.e. unit size) needed for the Olympic Village will preclude or make expensive re conversion to kinds of housing needed in the community. MacAloon said that the IOC requires spacious suites and kitchens, and housing that is occupant-ready when the Olympics is over.

An East Hyde Park resident again stressed parking concerns and need to preserve our already existing legacy of open land and good parks-- she feared displacement of teams and recreational use in for example Washington Park for and after the Olympics, and that the residual stadium will be a displacement, and would its use be affordable. (Moderator Wilcoxen again asked that questions focus on the topic, housing).
MacAloon said all facilities will go back to the Park District and not to private use. He said there is a big worldwide drop in recreation adn fitness world wide. He hopes such initiatives as World Sports Chicago will help counteract this. Kimmons said there will be more recreation and fitness in Washington Park after the Olympics. The asker said that lots of facilities are being poured into Lincoln Park but nearby Lincoln High as an example.

Joan Staples said there needs to be more bottom-up planning and that this city wastes too much time "finding things out." She also asked a follow up community meeting on Olympics that would include the University and its plans and involvement including land purchases (some expression of conflict of interests in the University of Chicago.)

Sanderson was asked how can we make the Olympics a best. He noted Olympic and new stadium cities don't do well financially on these deals. Waste and demands from interest groups abound. He was encouraged that the city is committed not to overspend; it can be OK.

Another asked about an Olympic acceleration of displacement through gentrification and bidding up of land values; is there an intent to "bring in the rich?" Preckwinkle said there are checks, and the venues are in land that will go back to parkland or are vacant of people and will siphon off some of the land demand. She doubted there would be any mass displacement but said there needs to be means to help with the cost pressures on people.
Other panelists generally felt there would be little impetus from the Olympics for such bid-up or tear downs-- only a fool will do that for a two-week party--those who tried that in Atlanta lost their shirts. Obama's election, MacAloon and Sanderson said, would be more likely to have an effect than the Olympics.

Alison Hartman reiterated that seniors are already under pressure as to whether they can stay, citing findings of the Older Women's League. Preckwinkle agreed that there is considerable affordable seniors housing on the western edge of the neighborhood but not in Hyde Park.

The meeting was adjourned before noon. Top

 

Expert Claire Mahon who wrote report for Geneva's Center on Housing Rights and Evictions shares impacts, warns of dangers in Olympics

From Maroon, November 11, 2008 by Carolanne Fried.

The Organization of black Students hosted a discussion Monday to examine the impact that the Olympic Games could have on housing, one of many human rights-related issues being raised as Chicago bids to host the games in 2016. The event featured Claire Mahon, a senior researcher for the Center n Human Rights and Evictions [COHRE, www.chore.org/mega-events], an organization that investigates the impact of major events on housing problems. She is the primary author of a recently published report, "Fairplay for Housing Rights," which was designed to instruct countries, cities, and individuals invested in hosting the Olympics. [She has been visiting London, Vancouver and Chicago this year.]

"The Olympic Games are a catalyst for what is already going on," Mahon said in an opening statement, stressing that preexisting problems in host cities can be exponentially exacerbated by the games. These problems include displacement due to construction of venues and gentrification, disproportionately detrimental effects on already marginalized communities, limited transparency, and a deadline-oriented mentality that allows for regulatory measures to be minimized, Mahon said.

"We think Chicago is a fabulous opportunity," she said, qualifying that her message wasn't entirely pessimistic. "Think about what areas and opportunities there are for improving this wonderful city, to make it a world-class city for all people who live in it and not just a few."

In addition to improving the city, Chicago's bid could change the way the Olympics are managed by highlighting the importance of housing rights and other human rights issues, Mahon said. She added that the goal is plausible if Chicago immediately starts to make its Olympic bid socially sustainable.

"The only think that really worked in other cities was the power of community activism," she said, when asked how host cities have improved over the years.

As for University involvement, Mahon recommended that students and faculty work together with local community leaders to be active, aware, and to enforce accountability. It is important to look at th e failures of cities as distant as Beijing and as near as Atlanta, because they are surprisingly alike in their treatment of lower income groups, Mahon said. "What you do really can change the shape of Chicago as a city [as well as] how it reacts to the Olympic games," she said.


By Gary Ossewaarde:

Ms. Mahon said the guidebook looks at several past Olympics to arrive at "cities best practices" and why the opposite often occurs. Impacts range from aggregate to localized (often NOT near the venues) and often come from rushing and impatience. Generally these accelerate what is already in process or reflects long-term objectives, interests or prejudices about what seems best to wealthy backers and stakeholders. So what are the impacts and why are they so often disproportionate?

1. Direct displacement and tear-down. Sometimes just actualizes what was on long-term radar, sometimes to "clean things up" and look pretty. Sometimes it's targeted-- Athens against Roma (Gypsies). London public recipients. Often to get poor out of the city. Often claims its replacing bad public housing with mixed income. Often wrecks where the displaced go to, which them become targets.

2. Gentrification and reclamation displacement. Giving land and benefits to people who weren't there before and increase overall proportion of better-off. "No time" to ameliorate or allow litigation.

3 Affordability effect displacement. Disproportionately on elderly, low income. Many lose long-held homes and die, impact on health, suicides. Happened in Beijing, (esp. suicides), Korea including intimidation and beatings and arson by new buyers and government, Vancouver. In Beijing effects from direct to indirect displacement affected at least 1.5 million reported. In the 1988 Olympics, lots were forced to live underground hidden so as not to be visible from Olympic-traveled highways.

4. Homeless increase and treatment. Impacted and targeted also prostitutes. In Vancouver, Atlanta new forbidden actions were enacted so anywhere homeless went or whatever they did was excuse for mistreatment, arrest, or expulsion--business associations hired "cleaners and greeters" whose job was to harass and push homeless. In Atlanta 9,000 warrants were preprinted "Male, black.."

5. Reduction in public and subsidized housing, generally with no public input.

6. Special legal authority so the host and sites can be "ready." Overriding of legal protections, right of appeal, community input. Went with loss of transparency and magnetization of "oversight" committees. Agreements often abrogated as soon as baton passed from bid committee to managing committee. Using the committees to evade city accountability, then committees go away. The financial backers decide, but cannot be called to account.

7. Loss of Transparency.

The International Olympic Committee has lots of problems with accountability, even (maybe not all in past) collusion, and goal to put on the show. But is has also over the years established standards and Olympic Impact Study windows and look for "best practices." The latest to be added, tried out at Sydney, was Environmental Sustainability. Being tested for next at Vancouver, London, and Chicago is Social Sustainability-- she said Chicago should be pressed to strive to set be a model for Social Sustainability in its Olympics. It needs to develop an INCLUSIONARY STATEMENT (as Vancouver did, although not following it), targets, guiding committees, public participation. Targets could include providing enough SROs and affordable family housing, not swapping affordable into tourist hotels and wealthy housing, bars to backtracking on affordable, clear lines of recognizable authority to cut buck-passing. City and those in charge have to be made to commit in ways that responsibilities pass along with the baton. They must follow the Olympic Impact Study guidelines and do better than that. A clear goal is ending with increased affordable housing and economic diversity.

The key is strong, active activist organizations. One thing that can be used, she said, is insistence on adhering to the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights- the Bush Admin. delegate to the UN agreed that housing is a right. That right is defined in UNESCO guidelines. The UN HRD also includes "Participation." The enforceable catchword for all of these is "Precautionary Measures."

Also needing to be checked, she said is misuse of TIFing and what TIFs do, use of taxing power. Top
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What the Chicago Housing Commissioner says:
Commissioner Ellen Sahli on Chicago's Plan to End Homelessness.
November 5 2008 Streetwise. [Assuming the statistics are true, is it more than a drop in the bucket-- especially with the fast-rising tide, maybe oncoming tidal wave, from foreclosures and job loss while city revenues and those of nonprofits plummet?]

"Change" is quite the buzzword lately. Chicago's Plan to End Homelessness is no exception. We - the City and its private and public partners - have sought to change Chicago's homeless system from one that is based on temporary fixes to one that is based on long-term solutions. And guess what? We are doing it. And we will continue to move forward, pursuing our aggressive goals to increase resources and improve services despite the economy.

While we have made tremendous strides in directing new resources to prevention and permanent housing, we are not yet at our final goal. Before the Plan began in 2003, less than 3,000 households received homelessness prevention assistance. In each of the past six years we have more than doubled that assistance, to 7,100 households. Before the Plan we had 3,600 units of homeless-dedicated permanent housing. At the end of 2008 we will have over 6,000 units. We also documented a 12% decrease in homelessness between 2007 and 2007 - most notably with a 24% decrease in the number of homeless families.

We have been able to make these consistent strides because of the broad, diverse and committed community of partners working to achieve our goals here in Chicago. Hundreds of nonprofit agencies serving the homeless, multiple government agencies, and people who have accessed homeless services, work together daily to implement the changes required by the Plan to End Homelessness.

But we cannot do it alone. We need your help. Get involved - work with the board of a homeless service or housing agency; donate to organizations that offer services that support long-term solutions; volunteer to beautify a shelter; tutor homeless children to keep them on track; encourage your religious institution to coordinate with others to extend the impact of your effort; or volunteers to participate in the 2009 Homeless Count.

There are many ways to help and we all have a part to play. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to provide leadership on this effort for the City. I am confident that moving forward, we will achieve the change we seek.

 

Ballot initiative in precincts ringing Washington park calls for lots for affordable housing while forum in Hyde Park looks for alleviations. It passed.

This Oct. 30 Chicago Weekly article tells what was in the referendum recently passed in several precincts, although not actual text. It also discusses the Oct. 18 forum. Gary

Chicago Weekly, October 30, 2008. By Laura Mattison, Perspectives: Restraining Zeus- How a local ballot initiative is attempting to control Mayor Daley's Olympian Actions

....One local issue concerns Chicago's prospective hosting of the 2016 Olympics. Voters in certain precincts in Wards 2, 3, 4, and 20 can encourage Mayor Daley and the Chicago 2016 Committee to use part of any potential Olympic windfall to benefit Bronzeville residents. The ballot initiative asks that at least 26% of the city's vacant lots in Bronzeville be used for affordable housing for moderate-income residents. Generally, "affordable" means residents are spending no more than 30% of their gross (before taxes) income on housing. Moderate-income residents earn between 80% and 120% of Chicago's Median Income, targeting the middle class.

The initiative is meant to partially address a major fear many residents have about the prospect of Chicago hosting the 2016 Olympics. Despite the economic and infrastructural benefits Chicago might experience, many people worry that there could be negative impacts on things like housing and transportation for moderate- and low-income residents of South Side neighborhoods. Because the Olympic Stadium would be located in Washington Park, neighborhoods like Hyde Park and Bronzeville would be especially affected by the 2016 Games. Although the proposed stadium would be a temporary fixture, even that short term structure could have a long-term impact. Groups like the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless believe that low-income and vulnerable groups may be rolled over in the Olympic fever that often takes over the chosen city.

While no one expects the degree of widespread evictions witnessed during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Chicago residents have valid fears that they may be priced out of their neighborhoods. Other cities have faced this problem of displacement as the Olympics have become a larger and larger event. In efforts to spread the benefits of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, Vancouver recently approved the Olympic Legacy Affordable Housing project to create movable modular housing units. The 320 temporary housing units will form part of the Olympic Village and later be moved to other communities to become permanent affordable housing. Hyde Park's Coalition for Equitable Community Development advocates a similar measure to minimize the displacement of area residents by making a third of the Olympic Village units into affordable housing after the "two-week-party" is over.

The opportunities and risks that the Olympics may bring to Chicago were discussed by Hyde Park residents at a recent forum convened by the Coalition for Equitable Community Development at Augustana Lutheran Church. The forum took place on October 18th, and was cosponsored by several local organizations, including the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference and South Siders Organized for Unity and Liberation. Residents spoke about their concerns to speakers, including the community liaison for Chicago 2016 and two aldermen. With issues ranging from parking to gentrification, area residents expressed hopes that a Chicago Olympics could improve the city, and fears that they might not benefit from those improvements.

There are always huge structural changes when a city hosts the Olympics. There may be urban revitalization, as areas of the city are completely transformed by massive public works projects. The boom in tourism and advertising infuses local businesses and large corporations with huge amounts of money. When all these changes have taken place, a city can find itself transformed. Often the biggest changes are seen in areas considered "underutilized," throwing the lives of nearby already disadvantaged people into further chaos. How can we make sure that these people are not trampled in the ensuing Olympic madness? Is a non-binding resolution to recommend some provisions for middle income housing anywhere near enough?

Cities are always changing. Whether it is "white flight" or gentrification, a new influx of immigrants or technological upheaval, American cities have witnessed waves of change that each left their mark. If Chicago receives the mixed blessing of the 2016 Olympics, no one can deny that there will be major changes, in both the economic and physical structure of the city. The government and Mayor Daley must be careful to ensure that all benefit. A large public works project like hosting the Games is no experiment in the free market. The city is responsible for the changes it enacts, and it must recognize its obligations to assist all people hurt by its Olympian efforts.

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Grey City 2008, from Chicago Maroon, gives its analysis in More than a game What 2016 means for the South Side.

Skyrocketing rent. New retail options. Congestion. An 80,000-seat stadium in Washington Park. As the city awaits its Olympic verdict, a community braces for change.

"What I care about is when the mayor says it's going to cost $2 billion... There's no number under $10 billion that I would take seriously." - Allen Sanderson

Sculptor Lorado Taft may have just been making a statement on human morality when he installed the Fountain of Time statue on the west end of the Midway in 1922. But as it towers over the rest of Washington Park, the wisened concrete form points just as well to various incarnations of the changing park over the past 86 years.

The early 20th century's Washington Park, for instance, features carriage roads and grazing sheep. In the 1920s, the changing demographics of he surrounding neighborhood brought black semiprofessional baseball teams as well as frequent, racially charged brushes between youth gangs. Today the park is home to dozens of softball teams, jogging paths, and summer festivals.

But time isn't the only thing that changes the park. Depending on whom you ask, the park can seem like one of two very different places. To some, it's a beloved spot for pickup games and summer picnics. To others, its name elicits steer-clear warnings and snickering remarks about drug deals and prostitution.

Regardless lf their opinions about Washington Park, most Chicagoans would agree that the space is on the verge of its most radical transformation yet. In October 2009, the city will hear the fate of its bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. Chicago's victory would call for the construction of an 80,000-seat stadium in the heart of the 372-acre park, which would be turned into a permanent 5,000-seat venue after the games' end.

In a community where replacing a grocery store fuels months of emotional controversy, the Washington Park stadium proposal was never going to be a quiet affair. Since Chicago won the national bid in April of last year, local residents have held several meetings to discuss everything from traffic congestion to the pros and cons of artificial turf.

When the fate of Chicago's bid is certain, community discussion will probably turn to a debate on the merits of various Olympic planning details. For now though, local residents can only make educated guesses about those details. The city has released concept drawings, not blueprints, of the proposed stadium in Washington Park and the Olympic Village south of McCormick Place. The website of Chicago 2016, the corporation organizing the bid, has an FAQ section that raise more questions than it answers: for instance, "our Olympic Village will turn an underserved area into a gleaming, new mixed-use community," and "detailed plans will be available in the future." With the future still uncertain, there are few concrete details of fight for or against.

In spite of the preliminary state of Chicago's Olympic plans--at least the ones that have been made public--the Olympics have already elicited responses of enthusiasm and wariness from the community.

With President Robert Zimmer sitting on the Chicago 2016 Exploratory committee, the University has high hopes for the Olympics. Associate Vice President for communications Robert Rosenberg said the games have an obvious appeal. "The fact is the Olympics are exciting for the University, the city, and the community," Rosenberg said. "Very clearly, we would have a role to play with the stadium in Washington Park."

Though nothing has been made official, plans have been made to use Ratner Athletic Center as a warm-up facility. In June the University will host the arts Olympiad, a symposium for political and cultural leaders to discuss how to make the 2016 games both successful and characteristically "Chicago."

Like many supporters in the community, Rosenberg believes the Olympics have the potential to transform the South Side's infrastructure. "The question is: Can we do it in a planned, community-based way that. helps to transform the community in a long-lasting way?" Rosenberg said. He acknowledged that some Olympics, including Athens and Los Angeles, the last two summer games held on U.S. soil, were seen as having little long-term benefit for their communities. Chicago, he says, can do better. "I think that if this Olympics didn't have a legacy of transforming the community--transportation, education, housing, amenities--then we will have missed an opportunity," Rosenberg said.

Rosenberg looks at Barcelona's 1992 games as the model for 2016. He described how after years of oppression under Francisco Franco, the games spurred the city to make much-needed improvements like cleaning up its harbor, which until then had been a virtual cesspool. In fact, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, and architectural firm behind the Barcelona games, led the design of the master plan which won Chicago the national bid. "It's my job to be optimistic," Rosenberg admitted. At the same time, he's quite familiar with the argument that many Olympic cities, including Barcelona, lost money on the games overall.

"You could also look at it and say this was an extraordinary investment in the transformation of a great city," he said. "And transforming the South Side is a noble and worthwhile activity."

Along with congestion and security, the continued affordability of housing ranks high among community concerns about the Olympics. Rosenberg says the University has kept such concerns in mind with recent development projects such as the townhouse-style homes of Lake Park Crescent in North Kenwood and in condo developments on 63rd Street. "We've always been mindful of housing that's not only affordable for community residents, but we also have faculty who can no longer afford to lived in Hyde Park and want to have houses," Rosenberg said. "We share those concerns about members of the community being able to stay in the community in good affordable housing."

But many community members aren't so sue, especially given the University's notorious urban renewal program in the '50s and '60s. Lonnie Richardson of the affordable housing group Southsiders Together Organizing for Power feels that displacement is already alive and well in the neighborhoods surrounding Washington Park. He sees the Olympics as a threat to the already low supply of low-income housing, which he said has not been adequately addressed in his 40 years on the South Side. "They haven't solved those problems yet, and they're bringing on another campaign with the Olympics," Richardson said.

If historical trends hold, Richardson may be right to worry--especially about the housing problem. The Geneva-based human rights organization Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions estimates that two million people have been displaced by Olympic games in the last 20 years. Even in Barcelona, the availability of public housing dropped by almost 76 percent between 1986 and 1992; a report to the London General Assembly last year found that infrastructure improvements in Barcelona disproportionately benefited international residents and property investors.

According to U of C senior economics lecturer Allen Sanderson, some amount of what he calls "the bad buzzword, gentrification," is inevitable. He is certain that some current residents will be priced out of the neighborhood if Chicago wins the bid.

Although she fears Sanderson may be right, third-year and Southside Solidarity Network member Hannah Jacoby hopes the development could bring some positive changes to the community. "There are certain things like transit improvements, just very basic structural improvements to roads and facilities, that would certainly benefit everyone in the community," Jacoby said. "And the issue of the food desert on the South Side --there's the potential that Olympics would bring a proliferation of grocery stores."

But that optimism only goes so far. Jacoby estimated that property tax hikes spurred by 216 Olympics development could have an effect similar to that felt in Barcelona, affecting an area stretching from Roosevelt Road to Northern Indiana. "I think the problem is the kind of development that happens around the Olympics is a really unsustainable kind, because everyone goes crazy to build things that are going to be used for a month." she said.

Jacoby also pointed to the split in community opinion on the Olympics. Some community members, such as long-time Washington Park Advisory Council President Cecilia Butler, believe in the games' potential to positively transform the community, according to Jacoby. Those who have long hoped for the funds to build a new conservatory and improve the park's arboretum see the Olympics as a benefactor, Jacoby said. But others, like Richardson, fear they will be priced out of the neighborhood before such improvements are made. "We don't know our future, if we're going to be here--not only in the neighborhood, but in the city," Richardson said.

Weighing the external costs

Despite the controversy over the value of a Chicago Olympics within the Washington Park neighborhood, the city overall seems to favor the bid. A poll conducted by the Chicago 2016 Committee in April found that an overwhelming 84 percent of Chicagoans support the city's Olympic bid.

But the story might not be so simple. Economist that he is, Sanderson had his doubts about these figures. In a Chicago Tribune op-ed last month, Sanderson wondered what dollar amount citizens would put behind their support. "I suspect that at least 84 percent of those polled were also in favor of world peace, fewer potholes, and the Cubs winning the 2008 World Series," Sanderson wrote in the editorial. "But a more relevant way to elicit information is to face respondents with some prices or notion of the sacrifice required to achieve a stated objective."

Sanderson anticipates more than a few such sacrifices. Assuming historical trends hold, the yet-untold billions will go to an Olympics that leaves behind few real infrastructure improvements, a clutter of demolition-ready temporary venues, and a smattering of wealthy developers and construction unions.

Washington Park will likely undergo one of the most radical changes. Sanderson predicted in an interview that the park will be unusable for at least two years during the stadium's construction and partial demolition, putting a stop to the usual nonstop schedule of picnics and ballgames that usually characterizes summers in the park.

According to Richardson, however, the park is already beginning to fall out of community hands. "The Olympic committee was in the park one day," Richardson said. "Community people came to ask what they were doing. They told them to leave the park, like they didn't have the right to be in it. They said that we were trespassing--how can we trespass on our park?

Sanderson has his own doubts about the planning phase of the bid. "I don't care whether the Olympics come here or not," Sanderson said. "What I care about is when the mayor says it's going to cost $2 billion... There's no number under $10 million that I would take seriously." Sanderson's skepticism comes partly with from familiarity with what he says is the city's habit of low-balling budget estimates. Construction on the Dan Ryan Expressway ran to twice its budget; Millennium Park, three times.

On the other hand, some amount of funding will go toward "gussying up" the neighborhood, which could translate into the kind of restaurant and retail options some Hyde Park residents have long awaited. "The city will spend some money on making the place more beautiful, and building better housing, which will reduce the crime rate," Sanderson said. "We're one of those areas that will benefit--I don't think a whole lot, but a little bit."But he pointed to one major short-term cost of the Olympic stadium that could be an equal-opportunity headache: congestion. Sanderson has already planned to evade the traffic and crowds by leaving town for the three weeks during the games. "If I can sublet my apartment for $20,000, I could watch the Olympics on lTV from Tahiti," he said. "It's not that I'm opposed to the idea [of the Olympics]. But the opportunity cost of my being in Hyde Park for those three weeks has got to be something like $10,000."

Congestion and security are closely related issues with regard to the Olympics. Sanderson predicts that cars will be banned on Lake Shore Drive during the games and wonders whether car checks will be instituted if the transportation artery remains open. Richardson and Sanderson both expressed concern that the games would give everyone from local crime lords to international terrorists over six years to make their own Olympic plans. It's telling that security alone cost Athens $1.35 billion for the 2004 games, the first Olympics held after the September 11 attacks.

"The police department--they can't handle the neighborhoods now, just with the people coming in and the high rate of gangs organizing," Richardson said. "If you're talking about the Olympics, people are going to be coming in from all over the world. How are they going to deal with that? Like on the news, you've got blackouts downtown, traffic jams downtown. How are they going to deal with the traffic jams here?"

Perhaps the common basis for everyone from Rosenberg's to Sanderson's views is a lack of certainty. While examples from Olympic history lend themselves to some sound predictions, concrete facts about future plans and effects are few. Clearly, the Olympics have the potential to make momentous transformations to the South Side--for better or worse. but it seems that community residents will have to wait for more than a year for some hard data on how their lives will change.

"Three or four people have asked me independently, from outside the University, 'Is it just me, or is this Olympic committee not being very forthcoming?'" Sanderson said. "And every time I said, 'No, it's not just you.'"

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Alderman Hairston tackles Olympics

April 24 2008 in Jackson Park fieldhouse, over 40 savvy residents of Hyde Park, Woodlawn and South Shore, including stakeholder representatives, met in Jackson Park Fieldhouse to ask many questions and give ideas to Gyata Kimmons of Chicago 2016 and Alderman Hairston. It appeared to be just sinking in how complex the issues and enormous the impacts will be. The reaction of at least some was that we should focus on preventing destruction and disruption in the park and on getting replacement trees for previous storms, projects etc. To July 2008 meeting and a transit option.

Herald, March 26, 2008. By Sam Cholke

Ald. Hairston (5th), members of her staff and constituents gathered Thursday night to discuss where to begin addressing residents' concerns about implications of the 2016 Olympics should they come to Chicago. "Even if we don't get the games, we can still have a place for the South Side as we grow and prosper," Hairston said. The potential of the Olympic games coming to Chicago gives Hyde Park an opportunity to address a lot of issues, she said.

Hairston said the neighborhood needs to find out what kind of licensing and restrictions are going to be expected of vendors, so women-owned businesses, minority owned businesses and businesses in general on the South Side of Chicago can be competitive.

Gyata Kimmons, director of community relations with Chicago 2016, said these issues were important considerations to keep in mind. "Chicago is a Pepsi town," Kimmons said. "Coca-Cola is a major sponsor of the Olympics." There may be certain area where vendors contracted to do business with the Olympics can't advertise some Pepsi products, Kimmons said.

Hairston said it's important for business owners to start thinking about getting licensed and bonded and getting their line of credit in anticipation of contracts being announced in 1911. "Between now and 2011, they can have a viable business set up," Hairston said. Hairston said the community needs to find out which contracts will be through the city of Chicago, the federal government and other organizations.

Kimmons said the committee would like to see minority-owned businesses getting 25 percent of the contracts and women-owned businesses 5 percent. "I think we should set our minimum at 25 and 5 [percent] and work our way up from there," Hairston said.

Kimmons said that federal department of Transportation dollars often flow into U/S. cities hosting the Olympics for temporary and permanent infrastructure improvement. Kimmons said the geological makeup of the are was important to keep in mind when assessing what should be done to improve infrastructure and parking. "Because of the water table, we can't do anything underground, Kimmons said. "Even if we don't get it, we can still do something about parking," Hairston said.

The alderman's office will be hosting a series of meetings to assess the impact the Olympics could have on Jackson Park and the South Side. The next meeting will focus on how the Olympics could benefit Jackson Park and the broader community and will be held at 6:;30 p.m., on April 24 at the Jackson Park field house, 6401 S. Stony Island Ave. For more information, call the Alderman's office at 324-5555.


Ald. Hairston says "no pink elephants" warns Gyata Kimmons that the 2016 Olympics must benefit the whole community

Hyde Park Herald, April 30, 2008. By Sam Cholke

Gyata Kimmons, director of community relations with Chicago 2016, met for a third time with 5th Ward residents and Ald. Leslie Hairston to make sure the proposed Olympic games did not "leave any pink elephants in the city." "If it doesn't make sense for our communities, we're not going to get it," Kimmons said.

One of the potential "pink elephants" is a proposed widening of Hayes Drive that would remove a chunk of Jackson Park to be restored after the Games. "You cannot 'restore' a 60-year-old tree," said [Ver]nita Jones, a member of the Jackson Park Advisory Council. Kimmons assured the audience that no trees would be removed and the entire project would work around existing trees. A few shrubs would be removed, but they would work to have them replaced after the Games, he said.

With recent state funds to repair damages to Stony Island Avenue from the Dan Ryan Expressway reroute rescinded, Hairston approached these promises with skepticism. "Somebody is making these decisions who is not our neighbor," she said. "I'm cautious when people from outside the community come in and tell me what the use is."

Chicago 2016 is a $49 million, privately funded organization with one goal: "to get the Olympics in Chicago," Kimmons said. That being said, Kimmons explained that all the plans and objectives Chicago 2016 has created to reach that goal are publicly available on its Web site, chicago.2016.org.

Several in the audience expressed doubt that the transparency of the bid group would translate to transparency were it to successfully get the Olympics in Chicago or apply any pressure on the International Olympics committee (IOC) for transparency.

"I am not confident that t he IOC is not going to come in here and change the rules on us," Hairston said. She encouraged anyone in the audience with experience working with t he IOC to help her expedite the learning process.

Hairston said the next meeting will focus on transportation issues and she hopes to have representatives from Metra, CTA, IDOT, RTA, Pace, the Park district and Chicago 2016 available to listen to concerns and answer questions about the Olympics. Current transportation plans for all Olympics events at Jackson Park involve transporting spectators to and from the ark b shuttle. No parking will be available in the park. Neighborhood parking issues will be discussed at a later meeting. The next Olympics meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. May 22 at the Jackson Park fieldhouse, 6401 S. Stony Island.

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The May meeting had reps from CDOT and CTA. Widened roads and a new permanent way to the golf driving range are needed anyway and for the Olympics, we were told. Some trees and shrubs will be lost. The biggest pain will be during the Olympics when Lake Shore Drive for example will have lanes reserved for Olympics use. We were assured that auto access will be strictly interdicted. Some were appalled at the thought of having to get background checks and special entry and parking permits if they lived close to the Olympics. CTA upgrades were described as a maybe and not in the Jackson Park area.

June 26 2008 5thWard Olympic meeting heard Gyata Kimmons of 2016, David Thigpen of the Urban League, and local community and aldermanic consultant Al Kindle on community and business impacts. According to a Herald description, participation and preparation are keys to having positive rather than negative impacts. They agreed that the Olympic prospects are giving a bump to gentrification. The Urban League has prepared a 15-point recommendations for the Olympics, especially for how African Americans can participate in the $15 billions in spending. The money will come in packets, and businesses had best collaborate to achieve the scales to build capacity to take advantage of the contracts, which will be mostly big. In reality, certain kinds of contracts like direct communications will not go the the local communities. Urban League is helping firms build a clear line of capital both to be able to and win bids and to sustain themselves after the Olympics. They said getting local and small business share has a mixed record. The city surely should bolster skill-based job training.

People were encouraged to get the 15 recommendations at the Urban League site (http://www.thechicagourbanleague.org) and bring comments and ideas to the July 24 meeting.

The June meeting got deeper into transportation implications possibilities and people were encouraged to present concepts at the July meeting.

Metra Electric conversion (based on Mike Payne's Gray line idea) gains traction at 5th Ward July 2008 Olympic meetings.

At the July 2008 5th Ward Olympics meeting James Withrow of HPKCC Hyde Park Transit Task Force and Linda Thisted of Coalition for Equitable Community Development and Interfaith Open Communities Hyde Park presented a version of Mike Payne's "Gray Line" concept to integrate via leasing Metra Electric (here South Chicago Branch) by the CTA system, with frequent L type service and a common fare card. After familiarizing other aldermen along the route, a request could be made for a cost and feasibility assessment--Ald. Hairston says that as a single infrastructure upgrade for the Olympics and in general, it makes a lot of sense and bang for minimum dollar. Parts of the rationale include the relative and growing density along this route from Kenwood through South Shore, that the mid south except for Hyde Park has some of the longest commutes to jobs in the metro region, and the solid and growing centers of attraction and new developments along the line. Top

Here is from the report by Thisted and Withrow:

Public Transportation Proposal - Integrate the Metra South Chicago Branch into the CTA system, running trains at 10 minute intervals throughout the day and night.

From Herald report July 30 2008. By Sam Cholke

The 5th Ward Olympic committee decided at its monthly meeting July 14 to pursue utilizing a portion of the Metra South Chicago branch electric train line to satisfy transportation needs should Chicago win its bid for the 2016 Olympics. The plan, which is heavily inspired by a portion of Chicagoan Michael Payne's Gray Line concept to convert the in-city Metra electric lines into a Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) "L" line, would be to leases the South Chicago Metra line from the Loop to East 91st street and South Baltimore Avenue to the CTA. Metra's electric trains would then run approximately every 10 minutes at stops and provide transfers aa if the Metra trains were part of the larger system.

"We thought this was the time to make it a reality because it directly benefits the Olympics and the South Side," said Linda Thisted, who presented the idea to Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) and about a dozen community members with James Withrow. Withrow said he refers to it as the Gray Line Lite because it doesn't include the Blue Island line like Payne's does.

Thisted pointed out that the train line runs through many of the denser neighborhoods on the South Side currently not served by a CTA train and runs alongside many of the major staging areas planned for the Games, including Soldier Field, Northerly Island, McCormick Place, he proposed site for the Olympic Village at Michael Reese Hospital and Jackson Park.

One of the major knocks against Chicago during the bid process for the Olympics has been that it doesn't have a viable transportation system in place to get people to the venues, she said. Withrow said, though they have tried to contact Metra about it, there is no incentive for them to do it, Withrow said. It's a matter of political will to make this happen, Thisted said. We need a political heavyweight behind the idea, she said.

Hairston said Withrow and Thisted should contact CTA and the University of Chicago to get the information needed to show the idea is viable. Present the idea to near-South Side aldermen, Hairston said, and if they can solicit their support, they could present a letter to Chicago 2016 in favor of the idea. Withrow said the University has not been supportive of the idea in the past, but it is a different group of people there since the idea was last presented. "I think it would be in their interest as well," Hairston said.



The July meeting also saw the start of a committee on developing community and park promotion, including of history including through historic markers.
Impacts/opportunities topics noted so far: Driving, biking, parking, community access (including via arterials and the Drive), security, promoting communities and history and arts-- could there be more landmarking? These latter are things communities can and should do.

Gray Line Lite Metra enhancements liked by 5th Ward Olympic Committee, SOUL and Coalition for an Equitable Olympics

The latest revival of the concept (to be renamed) is in Olympics context, by the 5th Ward Olympics Task Force and by a wider Southsiders Organizing for Unity and Liberation, becoming part of a newly launched Coalition for Equitable Olympics. (1st meeting Aug. 14, Thursday, 5:30 pm at Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, 3101 S. King Dr.) Visit http://alwaysintransit.typepad.com/hyde_park_urbanist/2008/08/gray-line-lite.html.

Herald, August 13 2008. By Sam Cholke

A forum will be held Aug. 4 to discuss improvements to the South Shore Metra line and other transportation options should Chicago win he bid for the 2016 Olympics. The meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. at Olivet Baptist Church, 3101 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

The meeting will include discussions with Southsiders Organizing for Unity and Liberation (S.O.U.L.), a coalition of community organizers sponsored by Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th) and the Coalition for an Equitable Olympics on their decision to promote the Gray Line Lite proposal.

The Gray Line Lite proposal would increase train frequency on the Metra south Shore line, which runs from the Loop to 91st Street along the lakefront, to 10-minute increments and allow for transfers to Chicago Transit Authority buses and trains. It would in essence functions as another "El" line, James Withrow, a member of S.O.U.L., told board members of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference (HP-KCC) at its aug. 7 board meeting. Withrow chairs the HP-KCC Transportation Committee.

Withrow and Linda Thisted, another member of S.O.U.L, presented the Gray Line Lite proposal at a July 24 Olympics meeting with Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th). The group showed support for the idea and the alderman thought it worth pursuing, but [they] refrained from officially signing on as supporters of the proposal. Hairston said at the July 24 community meeting that Chicago doesn't have the money to build something like a monorail down the lakefront to transport people to and from the Olympic events. Using the existing Metra tracks would not be expensive, she said. If Chicago wins its bid for the Olympics, the inevitable federal infrastructure money coming into the city could be used to mitigate most of the initial costs, Hairston said.

The Gray Line Lite proposal is taken heavily from Chatham resident Michael Payne's Gray Line proposal.

 

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Ben Joravsky of Chicago Reader April 3 2008 says [the fight over council guidelines is] All About the Olympics

[This writer thinks from his knowledge that this is only part of the answer.]

The last time a Park District advisory council weighed in on the Olympics, it didn't come down on the side Mayor daley wanted. That was back in July, when the Jackson Park Advisory Council passed a resolution against the city's proposal to build a temporary 20,000-seat field hockey arena in the south lakefront park, part of its bid for the 2016 Olympics.

Well, this oughta teach 'em a lesson: In February Park District superintendent Tim Mitchell introduced a drafted of revised guidelines that would impose stiff new condition for membership in local park advisory councils, including criminal background checks. They've been sent to several advisory councils for review, but the Park District itself has the final decision.

Tim King, the Park District's officer who drafted the guidelines, told Crain's Chicago Business that the background checks are intended to keep pedophiles out of field houses (except of course the ones who can just walk in off the street) and embezzlers away from the councils' books (though th Park District doesn't fund the councils). Park District spokesman Jessica Maxey-Faulkner adds that the measure wasn't prompted by specific incidents but is meant to be preventive.

I think there's a more likely explanation. The Park District is essentially an extension of City Hall. The mayor appoints its whole board, and Mitchell was once his deputy chief of staff. Wining and hosting the games is contingent on Park District support. The events will be held on Park District property and will be paid for in part by Park District funds. Mitchell and other Park District leaders are the ones who'll take the heat for interrupting regular park activities--softball, soccer, football, tennis leagues-- to get the facilities ready. As one former board member recently told me, "It's all about the Olympics, my friend."

Historically the park advisory councils have had little clout. They were started in the 80s by Friends of the Parks to provide community oversight, but though the district touts their involvement it also limits it to recommendations and suggestions. There are close to 100 in the city currently (for more than 550 parks), and how active they are varies, with some vigorously raising funds for park improvements and others meeting erratically. All you have to do to join on i show up and fill out an application expressing interest. Still, once you're in, you can yell, scream, and turn blue in the face without ever stopping Mitchell from doing whatever the mayor has ordered.

But the advisory councils have a window of influence right now--and it closes next year, when the International Olympic Committee announces the host of t he 2016 summer games. While the councils can't single-handedly upset Chicago's bid, they can undercut the appearance of support Daley has so carefully orchestrated, and the mayor takes that threat seriously: When members of he U/S. Olympic Committee visited Washington Park last year, Daley deviated from plans and kept them on a bus rather than let them mingle with anti-police-brutality activists who'd come out to get their attention. (The official line was that the USOC folks stayed on the bus because there was snow on the ground.)

Currently the Park District park advisory council guidelines, last revised in 2000, are loose. There are no restrictions on membership and no term limits. The councils are encouraged to form their own bylaws, and they're free to impose dues or not. The new guidelines would change al of that. The revised membership application would require not only a criminal background check but three references. "The decision of the Park District to accept or reject" applications is final, it notes, and volunteers "may be terminated at any time with or without cause." The terms and conditions go on to prohibit volunteers from media contact concerning the Park District and to bar them from passing on any information concerning the district without written authorization.

Dues are also prohibited, but fund-raising is strongly encouraged--though the Park District would reserve control over how any money is spent. it has also drafted universal bylaws that include term limits of two years for all officers. Members would be required to live within a certain distance (yet to be determined) of th park or have and "interest in or use of" it, such as participating in a Park District program or having a child who does.

Jill Niland, president of the Lincoln Park Advisory Council, calls the proposed conditions "preemptive strikes" designed to make advisory groups less likely to rebel against its policies. Ross Petersen, president of Jackson Park Advisory Council, agrees: "They're trying to crate an atmosphere to discourage any type of whistle-blowing," he says. I have to think our opposition to the Olympics has something to do with this."

When they passed their resolution in July, Petersen and other Jackson Park Advisory Council members were concerned about rumors that construction of the temporary field hockey arena could tie up the park for several years. The resolution made them the only park advisory council to go on record against bringing the Olympics to town.

The city responded by sending a slew of top officials to the council's September meeting. Chicago 2016 vice chair Valerie Jarrett acknowledged to the group that the games would have a local impact but emphasized the possibility of lasting improvement to the park. Planning commissioner Arnold Randall went so far as to promise that the park would be affected for no more than ten months. Since the Olympic games take place in August and the Paralympics in September, that means construction would start in January and the arena would b down by october--a preposterous promise give the cost overruns and delays associated with most major projects in Chicago. It's not even likely that Olympic officials would allow Chicago to begin building so close to the start of the games, when a harsh winter could prevent the project from being finished in time. But the city will say whatever it has to say to maintain the appearance of widespread public support.

The next big fight looks to be in Lincoln Park, where resident are already up in arms over a sweetheart deal in which the Park District gave Latin School exclusive prime-time use of a new soccer field the private school built on public land near the zoo. Just wait till they learn what t he city has in store for the field west of the bird sanctuary near the Waveland Clock Tower: a 10,000-seat tennis arena. In January Olympic Committee officials gave a presentation to the Lincoln Park Advisory Council, drawing a chorus of critical questions and concerns. The committee promised to return with more specifics. But it's one thing to ask for a council's advice; it's another thing to follow it.

Maxey-Faulkner says the Olympics has nothing to do with the proposed guidelines. In fact, she says, advocates like Friends of the Parks got the ball rolling four years ago by asking that the advisory council guidelines be rewritten. Furthermore, she emphasizes, the proposed guidelines are not by any means final. "This is a draft," she says. "We're listening to what people have to say."

On Friday, April 4, Park District officials will meet with select park advisory councils to discuss the new proposed guidelines; we'll se how their input is heeded.

Erma Tranter, president of Friends of the Parks, says that two years ago the Park District came to her asking for help in reworking the guidelines. The issue at the time was advisory councils that were failing to meet regularly. She says the new draft was a surprise to her, and that Friends of the Parks does not endorse the revised version: "The guidelines from 2000 say everything that needs to be said," she says. "Why wouldn't you just stick with those?" Top

May 1 2008 Univ. of Chicago Chronicle sites Prof. Allen Sanderson poses a poll question pitting Olympics v other priorities in April 22 Tribune:

"If Chicago were going to spend an additional $1 billion over the next few year on various civic projects, how would you like to see the mayor, City Council and other public agencies allocate that amount of money? Alternatives could be: (a) The 2016 Olympic Games; (b) Shoring up our roads, bridges and public transportation; (c) Putting more police on the streets and in neighborhoods; (d) Pubic Schools and healthcare; (e) Efforts to make Chicago a greener, more environmentally responsible city. I would be willing to wager a sizeable sum of money on where having a public parry in in eight years would rank on people's priority list--and how much they would be voluntarily willing to shell out for it." [Note, the city claims there will be no net city investment, all donations.]

Maroon May 23, 2008 publishes an op-ed that cautions on Olympics while praising archeology dig in Jackson Park. Pass the torch. By Marshall Knudson

On the U of C's official website, between the obligatory Argonne Laboratory update an.. ode of acclaim to the new Temple of Milton Friedman, I was surprised to find an article digging in the dirt. Yes-- the University news feed cooked up a really sweet review of the ongoing archaeological dig in Jackson Park by anthropology graduate student Rebecca Graff and her novice team of college students. Graff and her comrades are uncovering bits and pieces of the 1893 World's Fair, which shocked and awed visitors and residents alike even as the U of C first staked claim to Hyde Park. All we have left today are the sunken green tracks guarded by Mazaryk that we call the Midway Plaisance and the Museum of Science and Industry, which continues to shock and awe sizable crowds, as with the recent "Bodies" exhibit.

For all the studying that contributes to Chicago's curious distinction as "the world's most studied city," this is the first time we've take a look at our backyard and decided to get our hands dirty. By all accounts, the Columbian Exposition was a big deal. It was proof to the world that the nitty-gritty city had coughed up the ashes of the Great Fire and blossomed forth a new beacon of civilization. Call it a moment of collective self-representation --a one-of-a-kind event to beef up the city's merits and play down its faults.

If Chicago makes good on its glitzy bid for the 2016 Olympics, then Jackson and Washington Parks will once again play host to the world and all its precious scrutiny. As far as rhetoric goes, the Olympic Committee will choose a world-class city that demonstrates its commitment to the humane goals of "friendship, solidarity, and fair play" and provides funds to match it.

Already the armies of collective self-representation are mobilizing big names, glossy posters, and chests of cash in advance of a chance to dance on the world stage. What narratives of progress will be heard? What icons of novelty will be consumed? What imprints will be left in the soil for future archaeologists to dig up?

The Olympic Committee puts applicant cities in a peculiar bind. On the one hand, they have to play qualities like ethnic diversity, civic harmony, and "green" credentials; on the other, the cities must make available extensive facilities and accommodations that contribute to environmental harm, civic discord, and displacement.

In advance of the 2008 Olympics, for example, international observers anticipated that China would reverse its poor record on human rights issues, but instead, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have declaimed against the surprising intensification of the same old abuses for the sake of fabricating harmony. Massive population displacements, the siphoning of safe food, and the diversion of clean water have all foreshadowed the opening of the Olympic village.

By the mechanical claws of bulldozers and the calloused hands of state police, the story of Beijing's controversial Olympic transformation is being buried, displacing local problems from the new global space. It's clear that hosting such an event is no promise of social improvement.

Chicago faces a similar, if less coercive, transformation if development plans are implemented to make way for the 2016 games. The authoritative narrative will shelter the mundane details from our eyes, the kinds of clues that are being dug up in Jackson Park.

Already, community consternations have met with indifference from city officials who try to shutter the more sobering images of the road ahead. Olympic imperatives will put in motion the wheels of change, as new spaces are opened up for gentrification and displacement. The South Side will have to be made more camera-friendly, and billions of dollars will need to be made available to facilitate improvements and beautification as the bottom falls out from rising foreclosure rates and progressive disinvestment form public and affordable housing.

Chicago belongs to its residents first. Where poverty, ethnicity, and person values are spatialized, we need to think twice about the costs of clearing the slate of those meaningful accretions. Otherwise it'll be up to our descendants to dig them up.


At a meeting in late May 2008, Harris School hosted a panel on some of the heavy hitters who have also really studied past and present Olympics and what to expect good and bad. The strongest pro cases, it seemed to this writer, were those who wanted to use the Olympics as a focus for a civic and community rebuilding (not everything is amenable but some is) and those who wanted to give focus and hope to the kids. Some of these people are really reaching out to the less connected who have their fingers on pulses in parks et al. Here is a short piece by someone who was there from the Chicago Weekly, Sam Feldman.

"Chicago is a city that is frequently a tale of two cities," said Terri Johnson of the Jane Addams Hull House Association; if anything, she may have been underestimating. Johnson was introducing a panel of speakers on the 2016 Olympic Games that included members of the city's bid committee as well as Allen Sanderson a Senior Lecturer in University of Chicago's Department of Economics and one of the Olympic bid's most prominent academic critics. The panel, which took place in the U of C's Harris School of General Studies on Thursday, May 29, was attended by forty or fifty concerned community members.

First to speak was the pro-Olympics contingent, which included Professor Bruce Kidd of the University of Toronto. Kidd, although not a stakeholder in the current debate, played leading roles in Toronto's failed 1996 and 2008 Olympic bids and has studied the impacts of the Montreal, Calgary, and Vancouver Olympics. He was actually an opponent of Montreal's successful 1976 Olympic bid because he felt the city managed it badly and failed to consult communities that would be affected. Although history would seem to have validated his doubts--the Montreal Olympics were a famous financial disaster, leaving debts that took thirty years to pay off--Kidd told the audience that in hindsight, "I have to tell you that those games have been enormously beneficial." The games, he argued, brought people together and left lasting improvements infrastructure that might not otherwise have been undertaken. "Olympic Games can be an avenue where people can put their dreams for the city into effect," Kidd said, and this seemed to summarize the pro-Olympic point: as one audience member put in a question to Sanderson, "Don't you agree that throwing a party can be an impetus to clean up the house?"

"I don't think anyone ever had a party on a Saturday night because they wanted to clean up the house," replied Sanderson, who argued that while the Olympics might leave behind a legacy of improvements, it would be more prudent to simply spend the money on those projects now. For example, if Chicago's bid is successful (as all panelists seemed to agree was highly likely), and empty truck parking lot near McCormick Place will become the Olympic Village and then, after 2016, a new public housing complex, why not just build it now? Sanderson argued that the question we should be asking is "We have a plan, how do the Olympics fit it?" rather than "How can we benefit from hosting the Olympics?" Furthermore, he rejected the pro-Olympic argument that much of the financial backing for the games would be provided by contributions from the private sector; after all, each philanthropist who donates money to make the Olympics happen isn't donating that money to another worthy causes such as a charity.

This argument, based on the fundamental economic idea of "opportunity cost," was one of Sanderson's most persuasive. But Kidd and his fellow pro-Olympic panelists had a response. during Toronto's bid process for the 1006 Olympics, Kidd's brother David led an organization, Bread not Circuses, that like the Sanderson argued for spending the city's money directly rather than using the Olympics as a vehicle for improvements. Toronto's bid failed, but according to Kidd, the improvements that had been talked about still didn't materialize. "Sometimes you need a big idea to do a big thing," Kidd concluded. Top

Chicago Rehab Network comments in 2008 on the heating bid pursuit, lists actions needed.

Noted: In London costs tripled on some venues to total of $19m (note, others point out that London chose to do a lot of things including massive urban renewal not directly related to the Games.)
Barcelona created a 240 percent increase in home prices in the six years prior to the Games (analysis not provided)
Atlanta allegedly saw loss of public housing and affordable units, displacing 30,000-- and alleged police mistreatment of homeless.

"In Chicago, the concerns center on use of public funds and public lands, drawing both support and opposition from residents, advocacy groups, and political representatives."

CRN has outlined its recommendations for community leaders, policymakers and decision makers. These include Establishment of an independent Social Impact Advisory Committee (per Sydney)
Conducting a Housing Impact Study to avoid displacement
Implementing Community Benefits Agreements codified in law.
Visit http://www.chicagorehab.org or call 312 663-3936.


Chicago Coalition for the Homeless cites Geneva report to say Olympics do impact affordable housing, homeless people and housing rights

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Fall, 2008, based on "Fair Play for Housing Rights: Mega-Events, Olympic Games and Housing Rights" by Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions, Geneva Switzerland

As Chicago waits to hear whether our city will be chosen to host the 2016 Olympics, it is important for housing advocates to be aware of how housing rights have been impacted in other Olympic host cities around the globe. While the Olympics are an opportunity to showcase a city to the world, the development that comes with hosting the games can often have very negative consequences, particularly for poor and marginalized people. Looking at the past 20 years of experiences of Olympic host cities, what is revealed are some rather devastating impacts on housing rights. In fact, all cities that have hosted the Olympic Games suffer similar negative consequences. The following information looks at experience of the following Olympic host cities:

Seoul, Korea, 1988
Barcelona, Spain, 1992 [experts say the changes were related to entry the European Union, not Olympics]
Atlanta, Georgia, 1996
Sydney, Australia, 2002
Athens, Greece, 2004
Beijing, China, 2008

Why do the Olympics lead to a violation of housing rights?

Hosting a major international event causes a certain fervor in Olympic host cities that often overrides the needs and input of local communities. Studies of the experiences of these cities have revealed some common experiences, including:

Key Housing impacts in Olympic Host Cities:

  1. Displacement and forced evictions of communities to make way for construction of Olympics-related infrastructure or related to gentrification.
    In Seoul in the five years before the Olympics, 48,000 buildings that housed 720,000 people were demolished for redevelopment. Ninety percent of the people evicted did not receive replacement housing within the redevelopment site. The use of violence was common in these evictions as developers hired private security companies to forcibly remove people from their homes. Violent acts included demolishing homes and setting fires close to where people were still living, as well as sexual and physical assaults of protesting tenants.
    In Beijing since 2000, as many as 1.5 million people have been evicted to make way for Olympic stadiums and new infrastructure. While many are compensated adequately, an estimated 20 percent have ended up in worse conditions, far from jobs and needed services. Many evictions were violent. In the Hujialou neighborhood where residents resisted, a demolition-relocation company tried to force the resident to leave by making their homes uninhabitable --removing windows and safety doors, breaking down walls, cutting off heat and electricity, scattering debris and even defecating in entryways.
    It should be noted that gentrification and redevelopment due to the Olympics are not just byproducts of hosting the event, but in many cases a motivating factor in bringing the Olympics to a city. For example, Atlanta's bid to host the Olympic /Games was spearheaded by a commercial real estate lawyer, Billy Payne, and supported by business groups. Payne and these groups wanted to control development in the city and drive poor communities from the center of the city.
  2. Escalation of housing costs.
    Rents in Barcelona increased by 145 percent between 1986 and 1993 due to redevelopment for the 1992 Olympics. In Seoul, as residents were evicted from their homes, thousands of people sought alternative low-cost housing in the surrounding areas. This huge increase in demand drove up housing costs fivefold in some areas.
  3. Reduction in the availability of low-cost or public housing.
    I Atlanta, a public housing development called Techwood Clark Howell was redeveloped with a net loss of 800 public housing units. Over 3,330 people total, were evicted with only 44 percent receiving relocation assistance. In total, more than 2,000 units of public housing were lost during Olympic development in Atlanta and 5,813 residents were displaced. In Barcelona, the number of new public housing units created fell from 2,647 in 1986 to just 9 in 1992.
  4. "Cleansing" operations to remove homeless people from visible locations and criminalization of homelessness. In Atlanta, a local nonprofit received thousands of dollars in local government grants to purchase one-way bus tickets to send homeless people to Alabama and Florida. Atlanta also passed a series of laws called Quality of Life Ordinances the year after it won the Olympic bid. These laws criminalized sleeping in abandoned buildings, begging and walking through parking lots if one did not own a car. These new laws resulted in 9,000 arrest citations issued to homeless people in one year's time, more than four times the normal. However, it wa reported that judges were reluctant to enforce the laws because of questionable constitutionality. It was learned that police in Atlanta pre-printed arrest citations stating the following information: African-American, Male, Homeless. This resulted in a lawsuit which force police to stop arresting people without probable cause.
    In Seoul, a facility was built 50 kilometers outside the city in the style of a prison camp to house 1,000 homeless people, poor people and people with addictions and mental illness.
  5. Introduction of special legislation to help facilitate preparations for the Olympics, including measures to make it easier to take private property, to target homeless people, to increase police power and restrict freedom of assembly.
    In Sydney, two acts were passed that gave police power to remove people from public areas the city wanted cleaned up for the Olympics. The laws also gave private security guards special powers of enforcement. The legislation made it possible to remove people from an area for indecent language or for causing "an annoyance or inconvenience." They also made it illegal to collect money, sleep overnight or use a skateboard or roller skates.
  6. Discrimination against marginalized groups.
    In Athens, people of Romani ethnic origin were targeted for relocation. An estimated 2,700 Roma were adversely affected by the Olympics. Many were forcibly evicted. Others who had lived for many years in destitute settlements were promised relocation to better housing only to find the relocation plans abandoned because they would be in sight of Olympic visitors.

How can these housing impact be avoided in future Olympic host cities?

Olympic host cities must agree to follow the principles laid out in the Olympic Charter and the Code of Ethics. The Olympic Charter is the overarching constitutional instrument of the Olympics and it binds all persons and organizations involved in the Olympics. Several of those principles are relevant to respecting housing rights including "the promise to safeguard the dignity of the individual, the obligation not to discriminate, the promotion of sustainable development and of a positive legacy, and the commitment to fight against poverty and exclusion." In addition, the human right to housing is included in many sources of existing international human rights law unrelated to the Olympics. ( See CCH policy paper, Is Housing a Human Right? http://www.chicagohomeless.org/files/Archive/factsfigures/humanright.pdf.)

If Olympic host cities were to adhere truly to these principles, the described human rights violations should not have happened. Communities impacted by the Olympics should work to hold their cities accountable to these binding agreements.
The Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions, an independent non-government, non-profit housing rights organization, recommends the following for Olympic host cities:

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Metropolitan Planning Council has issued "Rules for the Games" for the 2016 Olympics bid.

Priority #1: improve transportation options in metropolitan Chicago. (based on already developed plans)

Priority #2: Coordinate pre-Games development with the revitalization of Chicago's Mid-South and West side communities currently underway. (community input, redevelopment to reverse disinvestment)

Priority #3: Maximize benefits for Chicago's low and moderate-income residents. (expanding earning power for neighborhoods and attracting, retaining young professionals and middle-class families)

Priority #4: Grow Chicago's reputation as a green city. (sustainable revolution: green neighborhoods with ped-bike friendly streets, compact mixed use development, accessible open space and transportation, mix of housing types)

...and learning from London

"Plans for leaving a lasting ..legacy rest on transforming he poor transport and environmental features of the area, as well as improving the job prospects, skills and health of the local population."

This could well be a statement about Chicago, and the potential it now has as the U.S. candidate to host the 2016 Olympics Games. However, this remark was made by David Higgins, chief executive of London's Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), the quasi-government agency responsible for the delivery of venues, infrastructure, and a lasting legacy for the 2012 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in London.

London's selection was announced in July 2005. Well before that--and to strengthen their bid--city leaders were already deep into planning the long-term benefits of hosting the Games. They established a Legacy Board, secured "planning consent" for Olympic Park, won approval of an extension of London Underground's East London line, one of three major transit projects, and commenced construction on a world-class Aquatics Centre.

For its Games, London will use a mixture of newly built, existing and temporary facilities. Afterwards, some of the new venues will be reused in their Olympic form, others will be reduced in size, and several will be relocated elsewhere in the United Kingdom. Olympic Park, located in East London, will leave 9,000 new homes, community facilities, retail space, and new offices.

London 2012 Chairman Sebastian Coe said "We have known from the outset of our bid that creating long-term benefits requires early planning, consultation and commitment."

So, while Chicago takes a well-deserved moment to savor its victory over Los Angeles, MPC is already exploring how it can help Chicago 2016 address some of the city's biggest transit and housing challenges, while also transforming large swaths of the city and region.

To spark our creative thinking, prepare us for pitfalls, and learn from first-hand perspectives, MPC is developing relationships in London, as well as Beijing, China, host of the 2008 Games, and Sydney, Australia, Olympics host in 2004. "The Games are a catalyst for 60 days," Higgins said. "But we are working towards a lasting legacy." MPC's sentiments for Chicago exactly.

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Sidebar? Spring-Summer 2008 turmoil over park council guidelines- did it involve desire to tighten and tidy up over councils as Olympics loomed?

(This webwriter is skeptical, but read on...)

September 17 2007 Tribune article says Olympics part of "Parks focus of tug of war: Residents, city tussle over sites, Olympic bid raises more questions. By Noreen Ahmed-Ullah

The debate over whether to move th Chicago Children's Museum to Grant Park could reach a critical moment early this wee, when Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) declares his position on the project. But a larger question has emerged in the increasingly vocal fray: Is Grant Park--the home of Taste of Chicago nd now Lollapalooza--a back yard to the swell of residential towers springing up downtown? Or is it the city's "front yard?"

The tension between neighborhood parks and civic or regional parks has echoes as far away as New York's Central Park and as close as the foot of Lincoln Park, where the private Latin School of Chicago wants to help pay for a new soccer field in return for the use of the field at specified times.

And as Chicago considers dramatic building projects in other parks to support its 2016 Olympic bid, the questions of who the parks are meant to serve, and who should have the most say, grow in importance.

Money can complicate the questions further. Public-private partnerships have led to the closing of some spaces, such as Millennium Park, to public use in exchange for rent. In New York, Fashion Week at Bryant Park is drawing neighbors' wrath as it keeps residents out of the newly refurbished open space during the weeklong show.

Back in Chicago, residents living near Washington Park complained about road closings and noise from the annual African Festival of the Arts. "Everyone feels they have a voice," said Brent Ryan, an assistant professor of urban planning at Harvard University. "But ultimately, the greater good is the most important thing. No single voice should be able to preclude changes or improvements to a space."

At the turn of the last century, New Yorkers complained when affluent carriage riders tried to build a clubhouse for themselves in Central Park.

Like grand parks across the country, Chicago's regional parks first grew out of efforts to improve the health and sanitary conditions of the masses moving here in the mid- to late 1800s, then to beautify the city in time for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition.

Grant Park, once called Lake Park, started out as a grassy strip during the 1830s. But even then, early city visionaries saw this plot of land as the city's front yard, said Julia Bachrach, the Chicago Park District's historian. Daniel Burnham envisioned Grant Park as a campus of civic and cultural buildings, but it was a vision Chicago businessman Montgomery Ward fought vigorously. He eventually succeeded in keeping the park free of buildings with open views to the lake. The Ward declarations and a lakefront protection ordinance dating tot he 1970s are some of the issues the Children's Museum battles as it tries to find a home on the site.

But the greatest criticism has come from residents living in the fast-developing residential swath across from Daley Bicentennial Plaza, the northeast quadrant of the park that the museum is eyeing. As residents return to the heart of the city, many are voicing concerns over public space. Boaters have been protesting concerts at Northerly Island. Condo dwellers have complained about noise at Lollapalooza and headless sculptures erected in the south end of Grant Park.

"In the last 100 years, downtowns of most cities have been office and retail, places where people didn't live," said Peter Harnik of the Trust for Public Land. "As [downtown] parks developed as civic signature gathering places, you didn't have to factor in the needs and desire of residents." Today, residents are reclaiming park spaces, Harnik said. In the case of the Children's Museum, opponents feel their voice should be heard because they live across from Daley Bicentennial Plaza. They were able to persuade former Ald. Burton Natarus (42nd) to oppose the plan because it would increase traffic in the area. Now they hope to persuade his successor, Reilly. "It is a city park, but it happens to be right in front of our neighborhood," said Peggy Figiel, a resident organizer.

Some civic groups argue that the city's interests have been thwarted by a group of residents. The park has become an international destination thanks to the wildly popular Millennium Park and before that, Buckingham fountain. Civic advocates believe future development of the park must reflect that world-class status. "This can not be up to the whim of one alderman and some angry residents," said Bob O'Neill, president of the Grant Park Conservancy, which is worried about the impact the dispute will have on future park developments. "We've got to debate the issue of how much control an immediate community can have on an international park."

Harvard's Ryan believes ultimately the city must resolve the issue, not by decree , but through a public planning process. If not, the result might be the kind of stalemate under way in Boston, where for the last 30 years competing voices have stalled efforts to revamp City Hall Plaza.

Chicago Park District officials say they continue to balance the neighborhood's needs with the greater good of the city. A Children's Museum in Grant Park also could mean a new fieldhouse for residents, Parks Superintendent Tim Mitchell said.

Officials will face these issues when they plan development on the south end of Grant Park and design Olympic venues in Washington, Jackson and Douglas Parks. In the Olympic plans, officials are trying to determine what can be left for the community once the international audience has returned home.

"The community has the responsibility to understand that these parks are there to be welcoming to everyone--not just to be used for the neighborhood," Mitchell said.

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Professor says Split up Olympic Village for affordable, tells why won't spur growth

Herald, March 5, 2008. By Kate Hawley

If Chicago hosts the 2016 Olympics, the city should reachable old buildings in city neighborhoods to house the athletes, a DePaul University professor told visitors to the University of Chicago last week. That would help ensure that the games leave a legacy of affordable housing and neighborhood development, according to Larry Bennett, a professor of political science at DePaul, who spoke at the University of Chicago (U. of C.) on Feb. 25.

Bennett gave one of a series of talks for U. of C.'s Displacement Week, which examined various ways that economic developments can uproot and dislocate people in its path. ...Bennett is working on a report about how Chicago's Olympic plans square up against other cites that have hosted the games. The report, which he's writing with two DePaul colleagues, will be released by June of this year, Bennett said.

His idea for housing Olympic athletes runs counter to the city's proposal to build an Olympic Village over a truck yard just south of McCormick Place. Mayor Richard M. Daley has said the Olympic Village will go forward whether or not Chicago gets the games. Bennett advocated rehabbing old and abandoned properties for Olympic athletes, then dedicating those buildings to affordable housing when the games are finished. That in turn might spur neighborhood development in some of the city's forgotten outposts, he argued.

Overall, the games aren't likely to spur significant economic growth in the city, he said, pointing to research on the 2000 Sydney Olympics by John R. Madden. an economist at the University of Tasmania.

And Bennett raised questions about the community benefit of the Olympic Stadium proposed for Washington Park. Part of that would be dismantled after the games, leaving an amphitheater for permanent park use. This may spur growth, but it also may prove detrimental to the locals, he said, asking, "What's the long term impact of taking his space out of public commission?"

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Aspects of the Washington Park nexus

Maroon report, November 11, 2008. By Ella Christoph

At a Washington Park community meeting on Saturday, moderator Leon Finney evoked local residents' enthusiasm about Barack Obama's victory to introduce local challenges that face the neighborhood. "This is the time for us to stand together with people of like mind in order to get something done," said Finney, the chairman of The Woodlawn Organization.

At the meeting, University of Chicago Vice President of Civic Engagement Sonya Malunda attempted to alleviate neighborhood concerns about the University's expansion west of South Cottage Grove avenue into the Washington Park area, where the U of C has purchased 10 parcels of land this year and is in the midst of negotiating the purchase of five more parcels, totaling slightly less than four acres along West Garfield Boulevard between South King Drive adn south Prairie Avenue. Until recently, the University had not developed west into Washington Park, expanding both north and south instead.

The University has yet to create plans for the use of these properties but hopes to provide economic growth and jobs in the neighborhood. Development possibilities include outreach and career initiatives, increased involvement in local schools, after-school programs, and youth development. "We don't have a plan. We felt that if we came in with a plan, the community wouldn't be happy with that," Malunda said.

Malunda underscored the University's hopes to facilitate a process that is engaged, transparent, and participatory to determine the best uses for the land.. We realize we cannot simply invest on the community, acquire property in the community, without offering community benefits," she said.

Community members' concerns harkened back to the University's history of urban renewal in the 1950s and '60s, when it earned criticism as insular and racist, particularly for the way it pushed out many of the poor black residents of Woodlawn. Malunda attempted to assuage fears that University development would make the neighborhood less affordable and force poor residents out of the area.

"It is not our intent to push anyone out of their homes," she said. "It is not our intent to purchase the entire Washington Park area," She added that the University does not have eminent domain status, which meant it does not share the powers of the government to take private property for public use.

However, some property owners welcomed University involvement, expressing hopes that development of vacant and dilapidated building would raise property values. Others said they hoped that the University would keep its promises and provide more resources to the community. "This is our opportunity to work with you, to seek your help in prioritizing, in seeing how you would like to be involved," Malunda said, adding that the University plans to work with 20th-Ward Alderman Willie Cochran and Third-Ward Alderman Pat Dowell.

The possibility of Chicago hosting the 2016 Olympics, which will in part take place in Washington Park if Chicago wins the bid, has influenced plans for the future of the neighborhood, which currently has about 1,000 abandoned properties and has lost over three-quarters of its population in the last 50 years. The increased development and economic success in Hyde Park and Woodlawn has not spread to the Washington Park area, Malunda said. "The Olympics can be and impetus. It can be a catalyst for the community to come together," Malunda said, adding that regardless of the impact of the Olympics, the focus will be on resources for the community.

"Really, the question is, 'What will the community be in 2017?'" she said. Malunda publicized some of the University's recent community development efforts, which have aimed to create safe, mixed-use communities, attract high quality retail, expand mixed-income housing opportunities, and create permanent jobs.

Some people attended the meeting to express a hope that the new development would provide construction jobs for residents of the area. They said that high crime rates in Washington Park were mainly due to a lack of job opportunities. "The only reason criminals are doing what they did is because they're not employed,: Washington Park resident Juan Montgomery said.

Malunda advertised the recently launched Career Pathways Initiative, which aims to help residents of Woodlawn, Washington Park, and the mid-South neighborhoods find quality employment at the University, the Medical Center, and with other employers. So far, the program has assisted 100 residents in finding positions. Top