West Ridge. Edgewater. Rogers Park
When Atlanta hosted the games in '96, everyone here with half a brain knew Billy Payne and Co. were just trying to do a real estate deal. That's it. All the blah, blah, blah stuff about sports and athletes was just a ploy to build stuff and move stuff so that after the games, they (Billy Payne and Co.-he's a local real estate attorney and was the head of the Atlanta Olympic Committee) would have the infrastructure to build new stuff in and around downtown Atlanta.We got the games and that's what happened. If you come to Atlanta today, you'd be hard pressed to find ANY evidence the Games were ever here. Today, of the sports venues that remain, they have fallen into disrepair for lack of use, most have been torn down, the others have been converted for other uses and are a shell of their former selves. How quickly we forget. But of course, maintaining the glory of the Games was never the point.Fortunately, private money paid for just about all of the "stuff" that was built, so the public purse didn't take a big hit. As we head toward a Depression, I don't think that option will be available to Chicago.I've often thought about athletes who participated in those '96 Games; who returned to Atlanta to see the place where maybe they achieved some glory.It's all gone.
London has already spent $20 Billion on the 2012 games, and its leaders say they're sorry they bid.Given our mayor's dismal track record in staying within stated cost projections, there's no hope we'll keep the costs contained to the projections. Millinium Park was supposed to cost $175M and ended up costing $450 Million. The Block 37 el superstation has turned into a boondoggle that might never be completed. It has already vastly exceeded original cost projections and construction has now stopped. In view of Chicago's mounting budget problems and falling tax revenues, and its steeply underfunded and undermanned public services, we need to consider if we can risk a bill for tens of billions of dollars possibly, for something this unnecessary and disruptive.
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