From left: Robert Redd, Thomas M. Middleton, George Jones and Rudy Cabral pose for a photo in the clubhouse at the Franklin Park Golf Course on Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. Credit: Chris Helms
On Tuesday, as Mayor Marty Walsh was in California pitching the U.S. Olympic Committee for Boston to host the 2024 Olympics, a different deliberative body took measure of the idea — the golfers of Franklin Park.
At a table in the clubhouse, four longtime golfers largely took a "wait and see" approach to what a summer Olympics might mean for their beloved links.
Although details of Boston's bid haven't been made public by the private organization pushing for a Hub Olympics, Franklin Park has been put forward as a possible home to equestrian events and the pentathlon, according to the JP Gazette.
Some residents have taken a hard line against the Olympics, arguing only a few will benefit while city life is disrupted.
But for the foursome relaxing in the clubhouse on Tuesday afternoon, the consensus seemed to be receptive but wary.
George Jones, for instance, at first voiced support for Boston hosting the international event. But he said if the Games limited his access to the golf course, he might change his mind. That's a real possibility, as the golf course takes up more than a third of the park's land. Other Olympics' equestrian sites have brought changes, positive and negative, to the urban parks that hosted them. The Gazette has a good run down of them here.
Robert Redd was also welcoming of the Olympics, but concerned that neighborhood voices would get overshadowed, with organizers possibly showing "disregard for the community."
"If [there's] something carefully thought-out with residents, golfers and the community involved, it could be very successful," Redd said.
Meanwhile, a longtime resident practicing his putting outside declared himself pro-Olympics without reservations. The man, who gave his name only as Leo, dismissed concerns that the Olympics could do irreparable harm.
"Franklin Park made it through the riots," he said of unrest during the 1960s. "It can go through the Olympics."