Residents ask Chicago 2016 tough questions

January 27, 2009 3:22:50 PM PST
Two and a half weeks from now, Chicago's Olympic plan will be in front of the IOC.Mayor Richard Daley has said he will not to use tax dollars to help fund the games, but some people wonder if the sour economy and state government scandal could keep him from keeping his promise.

Chicagoans asked tough questions at the Chicago 2016 presentation on Tuesday, January 27.

"I have great concern as a taxpayer. You didn't mention one thing about how we're going to be able to afford this," said one resident.

"Press has reported one of our glaring weaknesses is the CTA - what are you going to do about it?" said another.

"What are you going to do to help the community people stay in a community like Bronzeville and not be displaced? " asked a third.

A trio of residents from Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood is among the chorus of concern as the city's Olympic bid takes it final form.

"I said, 'Wow we got the Olympics coming,' and then I looked at China. They had so many people displaced. Is that going to happen to us in our neighborhood?" said Ora Williams, Bronzeville resident.

"Most of the questions are based on misconceptions we've found about either tax dollars being used to fund the Games or displacement of people from their homes. We welcome the opportunity to say that's false," said John Murray, Chicago 2016 Bid Operations.

Chicago's bid team has set-up a trust to fund everything from job training to affordable housing in communities that would be home to Olympic venues. As for taxpayer money, the mayor will use TIF funds to make the Michael Reese Hospital site more attractive to developers who build the Olympic Village there.

Did Tuesday's chat change any of the skeptics' minds? Some, but not all.

"It all seems like some sort of pipe dream to me," said Christine Svenson, Chicago resident.


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