Olympic-bound Chicago submits bid book to IOC

By Bethany Reinhart

It’s official-Chicago has submitted its Candidature File, commonly known as a bid book, to the International Olympic Committee.

On Feb. 13, the bid book, and details of the city’s plans for the 2016 Olympic Games, were made public during a press conference at the Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark St.

Despite excitement over the completion and release of the bid book, there is continued concern about the cost of operations. But Chicago 2016 officials believe their plan is obtainable, despite the current economic forecast.

“It’s clear that our country and our region and our city are in the midst of a terrible economic crisis,” said Patrick Ryan, chairman of the Chicago 2016 bid committee in a press conference on Feb. 13. “But we have seven years to raise the necessary funds.”

According to the 568-page bid book, which is a compiled response to the 227 key questions asked of bid cities by the International Olympic Committee, the 2016 Olympic Games are estimated to cost $4.8 billion, and the city expects revenues of $3.8 billion. The city expects that funding and revenue will come from sponsorship, ticket revenue and private donations.

The bid book states that estimated money will come from domestic and local sponsorship, ticket sales and private donations.

The most expensive portion outlined in the 2016 budget is the Olympic Village, which is estimated to cost about $1 billion. The Village will be built by private developers, regardless of whether Chicago wins the bid. The village is set to be built on the site of Michael Reese Hospital, 2929 S. Ellis Ave., on Chicago’s South Side. The Village is designed to have 21, 12-story apartment towers that will be built along a central Main Street. The Village will have bridges connecting it to a private beach and lakefront amphitheatre, known as the Lake Promenade.

According to the Chicago 2016 bid book, the Olympic Village will serve as the center for the Games, placing about 90 percent of competing athletes and coaches within 15 minutes of their competition and training venues. It will accommodate up to 16,000 athletes and officials. The Village will include a dining hall with a seating capacity for 5,000 people. Predevelopment work on the site is set to begin in July.

In a written statement, Ryan said, “The designers of the Olympic Village will seek to achieve extremely aggressive reductions in energy and water consumption, to use local and regional building materials and to rely on power generated by on-site renewable energy resources.”

The theme of sustainability and the use of eco-friendly, renewable energy resources is prevalent throughout Chicago’s entire bid book and is being referred to as the Bleu-Green Games Concept. The Chicago 2016 bid book states, “Chicago 2016 has created an environmental program under the banner of the Blue-Green Games, elevating the role of water in its drive for sustainability.”

Ryan said Chicago 2016 will partner with several nonprofit environmental organizations including ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability, Friends of the Chicago River, the Center for Neighborhood Technology and the Environment Law and Policy Center.

In a speech given by Mayor Richard M. Daley in response to the bid book, Daley said, “The key components of our Olympic plan are to deliver an extraordinary experience for athletes and spectators, inspire our young people through sport, reignite the Olympic movement in the United States, promote harmony throughout the world and transform Chicago’s urban landscape.”

The other bid cities include Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Madrid, Spain. The IOC will make its final choice on Oct. 2.