Chicago 2016 – More State Money, Athlete Village Plans Revealed

Chicago 2016 wants the State of Illinois to increase its financial guarantee for Chicago’s 2016 Summer Olympic Games bid.

Bid officials want the state to increase its financial guarantee from the $150 million in taxpayer funds pledged in 2007 by former Governor Rod Blagojevich to $250 million, reports CBS Chicago.

There are concerns that Chicago’s bid is at a competitive disadvantage because it doesn’t include the full government guarantees offered by its rivals – Tokyo, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro.

Patrick Sandusky, a spokesman for Chicago 2016 said, “we’ve always anticipated working with the state on a guarantee and that’s the start of that process”, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Governor Patrick Quinn’s spokesman, Bob Reed, confirmed the governor’s support for the additional $100 million.

The bid team has reportedly already lined up $500 million in city guarantees and $500 million in private insurance to cover any potential losses in operating the Games. Bid officials say it’s very unlikely the funds would ever be tapped.

Meanwhile NBC Chicago reports Chicago’s Olympic venues would densely pack downtown, but would extend as far as southern Wisconsin. Athletes would be housed in a permanent village, which, once the Games are over, would become a condo-development south of McCormick Place, while the Olympic Stadium would largely be dismantled.

Michael Halchak, with the stadium planning company HOK said, “our entire plan is that it is not a temporary stadium. It is a purpose built stadium for the Olympic Games”.

He added, “the whole experience from a spectator perspective, from all other user groups, will be essentially the same as any other stadium that you might walk into in terms of what you would think of as a permanent facility. In our minds this facility is as good as any permanent stadium, and in many cases better because it is so purpose built to see the Olympic Games, and athletics in general.

Chicago planners say the savings would be enormous, about 1/5 to 1/8 of the cost of a permanent venue.