Hospitality industry backs Olympic bid

September 3, 2009 4:44:23 PM PDT
Members of Chicago's hospitality industry, the owners and operators of hotels, bars and restaurants, held a rally on Thursday night in support of Chicago's 2016 Olympic bid.The rally comes just after a poll by the Chicago Tribune said Olympic support was falling in Chicago.

Chicago 2016 organizers are down playing the results of that Chicago Tribune poll. In fact, they say that since it was taken, they've addressed the financial concerns that some residents have and they point to rallies such as Thursday's as an indication of how much support they have.

Organizers of Thursday's event estimate 1,000 or so supporters attended the rally to back the bid.

"I think we're going to win on October 2, no doubt in my mind," said Tim O'Malley, Concierge Preferred.

The hospitality industry stands to gain a lot from Chicago winning the 2016 Olympics because of all the visitors the games would attract to the city during and after the games. That's why many are signing on their support.

"I think it's good for Chicago for numerous reasons. The economic impact it will have, the positive impact it will have, the international exposure that Chicago will get," said Shante Haymore, 2016 supporter.

Among the speakers rallying support was the Chicago marathon director.

"This is just a great place to run. Great crowds, great support. And the results indicate that," said Carey Pinkowski.

Opponents of the city's bid say they are gratified by the Chicago Tribune poll that showed support has dropped.

"Chicago is wising up. The more information they get, the less they like this. Look, this is the wrong project for the wrong city at the wrong time," said Tom Tresser, No Games Chicago.

Chicago 2016 organizers, however, say they believe momentum is on their side. As they look to the IOC announcement of the winning bid less than a month from Thursday.

"I think the level of support that Chicagoans have throughout the region have had for the excitement around bringing the games to Chicago, we see it," said Lori Healey, Chicago 2016.

Organizers of the rally presented more than 10,000 petition signatures of those in favor of the games in Chicago and they say that contrary to the Chicago Tribune poll, the International Olympic Committee poll showed 67 percent support the games. That poll was of both suburbanites and city dwellers.


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