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Moving On — We Still Can Have An Olympic Legacy
People throughout Chicagoland waited with bated breath today for an announcement on the host city selection of the Olympics. For some, it was simple where they stood either for or against the bid. But for others, it was never simple. And for me, personally, it was never a simple choice. I love the Olympics, always have. I have watched every Olympics since I can remember. I’m not the most nationalistic guy out there, but I do love sport. So a big part of me was looking forward to being a part of the Olympic spirit, seeing the athletes, actually going to events, volunteering to work at the velodrome, and organizing bicycle valet services at events. I will miss that opportunity in my back yard.
The other element of the bid was the fears. The fear of our City getting overrun by visitors, leaving a wake of congestion and hoopla in my front yard. The fear of redirecting financial resources from necessities such as public health, affordable housing, police and fire services, as well as direct resources to the Active Transportation Alliance. We knew, for example, that it was getting harder to raise sponsorship and foundation dollars when their money was pledged to Chicago 2016. I’m feeling a bit hopeful that the loss of the bid will bring these dollars back to our work and to the communities that need these services.
Throughout the process of the bid, Active Trans has been working with the Bid Committee and others to encourage great new legacy projects for Chicago. Despite the loss of the 2016 Games, we can still move forward with these projects, and we should. Read about our recommendations here..
Lastly, I also hope that the experiences that our host committee had in Copenhagen may rub off on building a multimodal city that puts active transportation forward as a priority. I look forward to continuing our efforts to win these strategies. Deep in my heart I’m a little sad but also glad to be a part of trying to make these Olympics, had they come to Chicago, the best that they could have been for the City and its citizens. We’ll move forward from this, regardless of how one might have stood on the issue before the vote.
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