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Thread: Chicago and the Olympics

  1. #1
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Chicago and the Olympics

    Well, as I'm sure many of you are aware of, Chicago will be the city the U.S. Olympic Committee will send to the World Olympic Committee for consideration in the 2016 Olympics. The decision on who the host city will be for the 2016 Olympics will be decided in 2009 if my memory serves me right.

    Chicago is currently considered a favorite in the running due to the city's capabilities in holding the Olympics, the fact that the U.S. has not been the host country since 1996 (20 years when 2016 rolls around), and because Chicago is the only city to have its Olympic games taken away (when it went to St. Louis instead in the early 1900s in conjunction with the World's Fair).

    I was just wondering what kind of implications an Olympics will have on the city of Chicago and the general region. I only remember faintly the Atlanta games. However, I think Atlanta kind of rose up in the 1990s to be a major player in the U.S. once again. And, is obvious, the business and cultural climates seem to have thrived and the metro area has seen tremendous growth since. The metro Atlanta area continues to sprawl like crazy.

    What do you think will happen in Chicago should it be awarded the games? Will the business climate improve drastically? Will there be more downtown skyscrapers...residential and commercial? Will long-delayed transportation projects suddenly get the green light? Will Chicago become more of a major cultural and entertainment hub, being able to compete with NY and LA? Will crime rise or fall? Will efforts be made to clean up the blight? Will Chicagoland sprawl out immensely and grow at a more rapid rate? Will major landmarks get built? Will the city's demographics experience sharp shifts? Will other Midwestern cities in the Corn and Rust Belts benefit from a Chicago Olympics or will they suffer as a result? Those are just a few things to consider. Share your thoughts.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    My predictions:

    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner View post
    Will the business climate improve drastically?
    Possibly. Chicago will get some much-needed infrastructure improvements, which could help, and it will definitely get a few weeks in the spotlight - which is never a bad thing.

    Will there be more downtown skyscrapers...residential and commercial?
    Probably. The exposure could be used by developers to at least cash in on the renewed desire for urban living. Chicago could have a downtown condo building boom, potentially.

    Will long-delayed transportation projects suddenly get the green light?
    This is really the only near-guarantee. The only question is how many projects will get the green light. And of course, the challenge will be making sure that the most worthy projects get the money.

    Will Chicago become more of a major cultural and entertainment hub, being able to compete with NY and LA?
    No. Just my opinion of course, but an Olympics does not a Hollywood or Broadway create.

    Will crime rise or fall?
    I would assume that there will be significantly increased police presence during the Olympics. I wouldn't expect a big push up or down.


    Will efforts be made to clean up the blight?
    Only in places that will be seen by many visitors or might be seen on TV cameras.

    Will Chicagoland sprawl out immensely and grow at a more rapid rate?
    No. Atlanta's growth rate really had very little to do with the Olympics. There are countless other sunbelt cities that have grown just as fast over the last ten years. Unless the Olympics can ignite an economic miracle in Chicago, I wouldn't expect huge gains afterward.

    Will major landmarks get built?
    I hope so. It's getting harder and harder to build major landmarks, so I hope that Chicago can use this as an excuse to build some worthwhile things to commemorate the time.

    Will the city's demographics experience sharp shifts?
    Unlikely. Unless, as I mentioned before, the Olympics could help ignite a significant renewed interest in urban Chicago. Then you would likely see a huge boost in retired couples and young, childless couples and singles.

    Will other Midwestern cities in the Corn and Rust Belts benefit from a Chicago Olympics or will they suffer as a result?
    Can't see them suffering, but can't really see that they would gain much either.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
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    From what I've read recently, Chicago has had some challenges keeping up service on its subway and commuter rail lines. I'm sure they'll have to make some rail investment and service improvements to win a huge event like the Olympics. Probably won't be that difficult to achieve, given they get the money.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Some good questions posted and some good answers in reply. It does seem almost odd that transportation improvements will/can happen because of a planned couple of weeks on the "world stage". Betting dollars to donuts, federal dollars will be involved. I could argue that I don't want to see MY tax dollars go toward helping Chicagoland's transit systems fund their infrastructure needs. OTHO, those tax dollars also go toward highway funding, allowing me to get to Chicago in just a few hours, from my bedroom suburb of Toledo, OH.

    Maybe I'll take federal-dollar-funded Amtrak.

    Bear, Part Of The Problem

    PS - Good luck to Chi-town. I can't think of a better skyline to be on my TV set every night for a couple weeks.
    Occupy Cyburbia!

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    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Salt Lake as 11 years ago????
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

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    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    If the 2016 Olympics come to Chicago, the #1 investment requirement in public transit. We need to modernize and expand the transit service (buses, rapid transit, and commter rail). We need better equipment, newer stations/bus stops, and newer-than-1900 rails.

    Getting the buildings/venues built will be a minor issue. Chicago is currently booming with highrise development (res. & office). I think I will need to do some short term investing in hotel development, because I don't think there will be enough hotel rooms (of varying price points) in Chicago and region for the potential demand.

    Also, I think there would certainly be a surge in the number of construction jobs required, which might turn into demand for housing. That could trickle up to demand for new condo and rental development, which would be good particularly for the first ring suburbs and suburbs with commuter rail stations.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian ICT/316's avatar
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    Ever since the Athens Olympics, the Olympics will be held in cities that can support the massive event. There were numerous problems in Athens and the Olympic committee will really put that in consideration for future host cities. I believe Chicago has the infrastructure and at least the possibility to improve any thing necessary to meet the requirements for such an event. Atlanta rose to the occasion and Chi Town can to!

    Bill

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Lived in chicagoland all my life (it's a great city, but I can't wait to pack up and leave). Chi-town (lol, DESPISE that word).


    Will the business climate improve drastically?

    Yes

    Will there be more downtown skyscrapers...residential and commercial?

    Probably. I think there will more development in outer ring office areas near O'hare, Oak Brook, and Deerfield.

    Will long-delayed transportation projects suddenly get the green light?

    Are we talking about long delayed transportation projects or transportation projects with long delays?

    Will Chicago become more of a major cultural and entertainment hub, being able to compete with NY and LA?

    I didn't know we needed to be on par with those two cities to be considered a major cultural and entertainment hub.

    Will crime rise or fall?

    Both. History shows us it hardly stablizes.

    Will efforts be made to clean up the blight?

    If towns are not near major thoroughfares, probably not. People will pass right on by.


    Will Chicagoland sprawl out immensely and grow at a more rapid rate?

    I thought it has already been doing that. I guess we will now have more international sounding names to our subdivisions, instead of the wetlands we are plugging up.


    Will major landmarks get built?

    Probably a few indoor arenas scattered throughout the city. Major Daley will probably fight with the IOC about building them in the city. There was recent controversy last year with the Gay Games and having water events on Crystal Lake. My guess is that these water events will be up in Lake County (Lake Michigan is far too crowded as it is). Equestrian and decatholon events might be out in the country (just my wild guess).

    Will the city's demographics experience sharp shifts?

    Rent and housing prices will go up. More neighborhoods will slowly open up to gentrification. Garfield Park, Rogers Park, Pilsen, Bronzeville, Pullman (and possibly Uptown) are some of the neighborhoods in Chicago that I think will see more gentrication (as they are close to the already gentrified neighborhoods of Wicker Park, Lincoln Park, Near North, etc.)

    Will other Midwestern cities in the Corn and Rust Belts benefit from a Chicago Olympics or will they suffer as a result?

    Racine, Kenosha, Elgin, Aurora (the last two are really suburbs of Chicago) will see increased demand for hotel rooms. Milwaukee is also an "hour" away. I don't know about the impact of Indianapolis or St. Louis, though.


    Those are just a few things to consider. Share your thoughts.[/QUOTE]

  9. #9
    Cyburbian njm's avatar
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    I see Milwaukee and Rockford benefitting because they have the existing infrastructure to host the potential overflow of people... the Hiawatha already links MKE to Union Station in 90 minutes (and pretty consistently, too), and a temporary Metra extension to Rockford might be in order... Milwaukee will be ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT if a new airport (in Peotone or elsewhere) is not constructed for the games.

    I'm thinking you'd also see the build-out of expresses along the Milwaukee Ave. El, (similar to the North-Side El)--or atleast passing tracks--because of the additional O'Hare traffic anticipated.

    I don't think that the Circle or Star Lines would be critical to the Olympics, but they will probably be built because of it. Since the games will be concentrated on the South Side, I see improvements on Metra Electric, maybe a new station along the Rock Island near Hyde Park, and possible extensions to the green line south of the loop (East 63rd branch, not Englewood.)

    Freeway-wise, might see expansions on the Bishop Ford and further expansion on I80 from the Tri-State east; otherwise I have no idea where you'd start... building a few extra lanes here-and-there is really nothing more than a drop in the bucket considering normal Chicago traffic.

    The biggest effect to economic development will be filling up all the vacant lots on the South Side... whether that population will be sustainable or not is debatable, though.
    What luck! A random assemblage of words never sounded less intelligent.

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