Mayor Richard M. Daley told Chicagoans today that hosting the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games could "transform" the city through the global attention it receives, the economic growth it will experience and the investments it will make in its neighborhoods.
Tomorrow, the International Olympic Committee Evaluation Commission begins a six-day visit to evaluate Chicago's plan for the 2016 Games. The IOC final selection will be announced October 2 in Copenhagen.
"From the beginning my vision has been for the Games to provide a lasting legacy of investment, economic growth and job creation in Chicago and throughout the metropolitan region," Daley said in a news conference held at Douglas Park Cultural and Community Center, 1401 S. Sacramento Dr.
"It has also been to broaden the perception that Chicago is a modern and diverse city for the 21st century, uniquely positioned to compete in the global economy for the best jobs, the best businesses and other new investment," he said.
The Mayor thanked the people of Chicago for the overwhelming support they've already shown to bring the Olympic and Paralympic Games to Chicago.
"Our Olympic Games plan encompasses our entire city, with benefits to be shared over the short and long term," he said.
"Those who plan for the future, who actively look ahead for bigger opportunities, will not only survive but also thrive. Sure, we're in a recession now and things will likely get worse before they get better. But we are pursuing the bid because we know that won't always be the case, and our goal is to position Chicago to reap the benefits of the better times to come," the Mayor said.
He outlined the benefits:
** The 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games will grow Chicago's economy, create hundreds of thousands of jobs and generate billions in new economic activity.
- The impact will be enormous and most of it will be concentrated in Chicago's neighborhoods, although it will also be felt throughout the metropolitan area, the state and the Midwest.
- A study commissioned by Chicago 2016 and conducted by an independent research firm found the Games would generate more than $22 billion in new economic activity in the state from 2011 through 2021 - spending that otherwise would not take place.
- The city's share of that new economic activity would be about $13.7 billion
- The study estimated that 315,000 "job years" - the equivalent of one full year of work for 315,000 people - would be created as a result of hosting the Games. Of that total, more than half – or 172,000 jobs - would be in Chicago and would generate more than $7 billion in wages. These new jobs would be generated in many areas, but especially the construction and hospitality industries.
- The economic opportunity that will be created will be shared by all. Chicago 2016 and its Outreach Advisory Council have signed a memorandum of understanding with community groups that focuses on establishing programs that will ensure broad participation and diversity in contracting and procurement, construction, work force development, affordable housing and community enhancements.
** The Games will leave a lasting legacy of improved neighborhood quality of life:
With the generous support of a number of Chicago area foundations, the 2016 Fund for Chicago Neighborhoods has been created. Its goal is to make the Games the most accessible and sustainable in history, particularly for the neighborhoods most affected by them.
Chicago 2016 continues to work with city agencies and community organizations to provide training that will prepare workers and businesses for job opportunities and vendor participation associated with preparing for and hosting them.
Almost all of the Games’ venues in public parks will be in existing facilities or temporary in nature so that construction times and the impact on the environment will be minimized and costs will be contained.
** The Games will benefit all Chicagoans for generations to come from new, permanent assets, including:
- An aquatics center and amphitheater for sporting and cultural events in Washington Park;
- A multi-sport facility and 50-meter recreational and competition swimming pool in Douglas Park;
- A brand new hockey field in Jackson Park;
- New recreational space at Northerly Island with a youth sailing center, rowing course, kayaking and paddling course and outdoor sports and environment center.
- New tennis courts in Lincoln Park.
- The Olympic Village, which will be developed on the site of the closed Michael Reese Hospital, will become a mixed-income housing and retail community for Chicago residents. And the City plans to develop the land regardless of whether it wins the right to host the games. It will serve as a catalyst for continued revitalization of the Near South Side.
- And the Games would serve as a catalyst for funding from the federal government to meet our public transit, infrastructure and security needs.
** And there would be other legacies. For example:
- Chicago's bid is about inspiring young people around the world to participate in sport through the Olympic Movement. It is about teaching children the values that sport in general can offer – dedication, fair play, fitness and self-confidence.
- World Sport Chicago will serve as the 'living legacy' of Chicago's Olympic and Paralympic Games bid. Its goal is to enhance the image, awareness and participation in Olympic sports across Chicago and to extend Chicago's international outreach for sport and youth.
- World Sport Chicago has already made an impact in Chicago communities by partnering with the Chicago Park District, the Chicago Public Schools and national sport governing bodies to use sport as a positive tool for overcoming urban challenges. This is called the Urban Youth Sport Initiative, which will serve as a model for other cities across the United States.
- Chicago 2016 and World Sport Chicago have already exposed close to 10,000 of Chicago's young people to new sports through clinics and other events that help Chicago's youth stay engaged in positive activities. The presence of Olympians in the City's classrooms and parks already has been a tremendous source of inspiration to the young people of the city.
- Chicago 2016, in partnership with World Sport Chicago and other partners has launched the Chicago Paralympic Development Program – the first program of its kind in the country.
In addition, Daley said through the Olympic Games Chicago has the opportunity to deepen its commitment to become the nation's most environmentally friendly city.
For example, public shuttles and other vehicles used for the Games would be powered by low-carbon fuels or electricity and the amount of water used in the Olympic Village and venues will be reduced by using best practices in water management and conservation.
Daley also repeated that the Chicago 2016 plan is "financially conservative, reasonable and feasible. And it protects our taxpayers."
He asked all Chicagoans to join in welcoming the IOC Evaluation Team and sharing their love of their city and their excitement about the Games with them. He identified some things they can do:
- Make a Chicago 2016 poster to hang it in their windows.
- Encourage their friends to visit the 2016 website and express support for the bid.
- Serve as a Chicago 2016 volunteer.
Hosting the 2016 Olympic and Paralympics would also present Chicago with a unique opportunity not only to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors, but also to place the city – through the national and international media – in the homes of billions of people all around the world, the Mayor said.
That, in turn, helps Chicago make cultural connections and expand its working relationships so it can continue to build a strong, diverse local economy that improves the quality of life for all residents and is competitive in the new global society.
Daley said there are a small number of defining moments in the history and development of Chicago – moments that were followed by massive and positive change and improved the quality of life for Chicagoans. He pointed to the decision to build the Illinois and Michigan Canal, the Great Fire and the World's Fair of 1893.
"The 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games would be such a moment for Chicago. It would ensure that Chicago remains a vibrant, creative and growing place where our children and future generations can have a good life," he said.