Rome 2024 is relying on a wide-scale civic improvement project, including an athletes village on the city’s outskirts that would be turned into university housing and a hospital extension after the Games.
Bid chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo presented the village plan to a packed lecture hall of 700 students at Tor Vergata University on Monday, reports The Associated Press (AP).
Montezemolo said, “our work starts with the people living in the city, the municipal areas, the neighborhoods and your world, the university. We want to win and contribute to the city’s improvement”.
AP reports that having witnessed Boston’s withdrawal from the race after a public backlash, Rome is being extra careful to gather local support before presenting any of its plans.
Montezemolo said, “Tor Vergata is too far today but if you connect it with a metro and proper services, the Tor Vergata of the future won’t be so difficult to reach”. Tor Vergata is located beyond Rome’s ring road and is reportedly difficult to reach by mass transit. It’s on the opposite side of the city from the Foro Italico, which would host track and field, and swimming.
Rome would like to host the Games in August when many residents go on vacation, which would reduce traffic. Special Olympic lanes would also make the trip faster, although not likely less than 30 minutes.
According to AP it could put a strain on track and swimming competitors who like to return to the village between morning and evening sessions.
Basketball, volleyball and track cycling would be held in Tor Vergata under the bid’s three-cluster plan, which also includes the Fiera convention center near the main airport.
There is already a half-built sports complex in Tor Vergata that was planned for the 2009 swimming world championships, which ended up at the Foro Italico.
Montezemolo said, “it’s a scandal. This will be the multipurpose arena that Rome needs”.
Rome is bidding for the 2024 Games along with Paris, Los Angeles, Hamburg and Budapest. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will select the host city for the 2024 Games in 2017 in Lima, Peru.