LOWELL -- No Boston Olympics would be feasible unless new construction needed to host the games -- an Olympic Village, a main stadium, velodrome and aquatics center -- fits into the longterm planning needs of the state, according to the first report by a state commission exploring the potential for a Boston 2024 Olympics.
Housing for athletes in the Olympic Village, for example, could be used after the games for badly needed housing. Other structures could be reduced, removed or repurposed afterward, the commission said.
"If new facilities need to be constructed, the commission recommends that this is accomplished only with a clear legacy benefit defined," said the report, which was released Thursday.
The summer games would be a massive undertaking also requiring significant infrastructure improvements, something the region is already exploring. Hosting the games could be a catalyst to address those needs an quicker timetable, the report said.
"It's certainly feasible," said state Sen. Eileen Donoghue, a Lowell Democrat who serves on the Olympics commission. Challenges are not minor but not prohibitive either, she said.
The commission said it's still too soon to estimate what Boston would have to spend.
Costs of recent Olympics have varied greatly, from the London 2012 games' $15 billion to Beijing 2008's $40 billion, according to news reports.
Greater Boston could use many existing facilities for the games, the commission report said.
Largely thanks to a wealth of colleges, Greater Boston already has 14 "major" soccer stadiums, 20 track-and-field venues, 10 major sports stadiums or arenas, nine major baseball venues, and others. Some would need to be upgraded to Olympics standards.
Densely-packed Boston would have to accommodate dozens of athletic facilities for 28 sports, an 80,000-seat Olympic stadium, and other supporting structures. The Olympic Village would require about 16,500 beds, a media broadcast center would fill about 675,000 square feet, and a main press center would require about 350,000 square feet.
Boston is thinking creatively of how it could build new facilities without them becoming useless once the games end, Donoghue said.
Housing for athletes, for example, could be privately built and leased to the Olympics, she said. Once the games end, those rooms would be used to house workers or students. The Olympic stadium, a velodrome and an aquatics center could all be built with the ability to be downsized and used by local colleges, the commission said.
While studying the potential for a Boston Olympics, Donoghue said she found that the region's longterm goals for infrastructure, economic development and housing coincided with improvements that would be required for hosting the games.
"What I did not anticipate was the discussion being broader. In other words, with or without the Olympics," Donoghue said, "there is a whole lot of benefit to continuing this discussion between public and private partnerships."
Other needs for the games, including security and hotel-room capacity, will be met, the commission said.
The region already easily exceeds the required 45,000 or so hotel rooms needed for the Olympics, the report said. Logan International Airport could also accommodate travel needs for the event, it said. Massachusetts has "excellent public safety and security forces" with an ability to coordinate regionally and nationally, the report said.
Regional transportation would be stressed by an increased demand of about 500,000 people per day, the commission said. In London, the subway system saw a ridership increase of 35 percent for the Olympics, and the city restricted travel on 150 miles of roadway for Olympics purposes only, according to London officials who testified to the commission.
Donoghue said she understands concerns by critics who say the Olympics would be too costly for Boston. But there is a way to host the games, as places like London and Vancouver did, that focuses on improvements with longterm benefits and facilities that can be used afterward, she said.
"I don't in any way pooh-pooh the idea that people are concerned about costs," Donoghue said.
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