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Olympic Sales Pitch: 50 wards in just a few weeks

July 8, 2009 6:53:20 AM PDT
Frustrated by growing skepticism among the public and anger by some aldermen, Chicago's Olympic bid team is hitting the road. Rather than heading to the airport for another global pitch to International Olympic Committee members, Chicago 2016 chairman Pat Ryan and his team will hit the road to woo residents in all 50 of the city's wards.

"We want to showcase the benefits of bringing the Games to Chicago and provide every bit of information we can about the tremendous opportunity we have to create a better future for our children and our city by hosting the Games," Ryan said in a prepared statement.

Chicago's bid backers plan to tailor that presentations to talk-up benefits for individual neighborhoods. In recent weeks Chicago 2016 has also begun distributing pamphlets touting that a Chicago Games would be privately funded, not displace residents and provide jobs for locals.

"I think it's going to be going to more than 50 communities and saying 'Everybody! It's A-ok!' We're going to have to see the proof in that pudding," said Ald. Manny Flores, 1st Ward.

Ald. Flores is pushing a long-shot ordinance that would have the effect of blocking Mayor Daley from signing a contract that leaves Chicago taxpayers holding the bag if there are massive cost over-runs.

"I think at this point a more reassuring effort would be to also have a third party come in, look at the numbers. Someone is objective, not someone who has already made up their mind as to whether or not we should have the Games here in Chicago," Flores said.

"I think they have to convince the citizens of this city that only private money will be involved and the city stands to benefit from having the Olympics in this town," said Ald. Joe Moore, 49th Ward.

You can expect Chicago 2016's sales pitch to underscore three central themes:

  • Only private money will be used for the Games.
  • No residents will be displaced.
  • And local residents -- especially minorities -- will benefit from new jobs.
  • The first meetings are scheduled for:

  • July 8 at 5:30 PM: 11th, 12th and 25th Wards
    McKinley Park Field House - 2210 W. Pershing Rd.
  • July 13 at 5:30 PM: 39th and 40th Wards
    North Park University's Hamming Hall - 3225 W. Foster Ave.
  • July 14 at 6:30 PM: 28th Ward
    Garfield Park Field House (Gold Dome) - 100 N. Central Park Ave.
  • July 15 at 5:30: 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th Wards
    South Shore Cultural Center - 7059 South Shore Dr.
  • Future meeting times and locations will be posted at chicago2016.org/backthebid


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