Inside Chicago's Olympic plan

June 12, 2009 3:12:40 PM PDT
We take the first look at how city neighborhoods would be transformed for the 2016 Games.ABC7 takes the wraps off Chicago's bid book which is now in the hands of the International Olympic Committee. It is a blueprint for how Chicago would host the games, what would be spent and how residents would be asked to sacrifice.

Chicago's iconic skyline, bathed in Olympic glory. Buildings wrapped with the logo. Venues nestled in neighborhoods.

"I think what's really key is it's integrated into our city. There are venues throughout the neighborhoods as well as the downtown central core of the city," said Tom Kerwin, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.

Tom Kerwin and his firm are the master architects for Chicago 2016. For the first time, we get a look at their latest work.

On Chicago's South Side in Washington Park, the Olympic Stadium is now part of a cluster of competition venues.

New to the plan is that the majority of swimming sports will take place in temporary facilities, just a stone's throw from the Olympic stadium.

On the West Side in Douglas Park, an outdoor BMX track would be tucked into the park and so would an indoor cycling center that would be replaced with a pool and basketball courts after the Games.

Barack Obama figures heavily in Chicago's Olympic push. A letter of support from the Chicagoan-turned president is part of the pitch. And on the same spot in Grant Park where Mr. Obama claimed victory on election night, archers would compete in 2016.

If the bid books of previous contenders are any clue, we can expect Chicago's may include a few freebies.

In years past, cities have offered free rides on public transit for competitors and ticket holders and free airfare for athletes and coaches.

Chicago's Olympic Committee will also likely have to pick up the tab for police and fire service. Plus, promise to close roads and lanes. Lake Shore Drive may lose a lane in each direction during the Games so members of the Olympic family can drive in a dedicated lane without delay.

The grandson of famed Olympian Jesse Owens hand delivered Chicago's bid book to the IOC in Switzerland on Thursday.

Inside the package were grand plans, powerful potential, and, of course, details of the several billion dollar cost.

"It's all in the bid book and when people read it they'll be excited about the possibility and benefits of the Olympics in Chicago as opposed to any minor negatives that are there," said Bill Scherr, World Sport Chicago.

Chicago's $500 million financial guarantee is also in the bid book. Missing, though, is a separate $150 million backstop from the state. The Blagojevich scandal derailed efforts to get it passed in time for inclusion in the bid book but it's viewed as a necessity by the IOC. Chicago 2016 hopes to get that new guarantee from the state in the coming weeks.


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