Mayor Marty Walsh has created an Office of Olympic Planning headed up by newly appointed executive director Sara Myerson, according to a press release. Previously, Myerson served as chief of staff and director of policy for Boston-based Preservation of Affordable Housing. The committee will be focused on developing Boston’s plan for hosting the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. For Franklin Park and other potential venues the office will look at economic analysis, mitigation analysis, public health and safety studies, and transportation planning. For now, Boston 2024 has proposed that Franklin Park would be a suitable venue for the modern pentathlon as well as equestrian events.
As Boston 2024 moves forward with its Olympic bid, many are still unsure of what what means for the City of Boston, including frequent users of Franklin Park. Here's a quick visual guide to what's on the table. Boston 2024 CEO Richard Davey assured a roomful of skeptical residents surrounding the park that "we expect significant change," back in March during a spirited public meeting at the Franklin Park Golf Clubhouse. According to page 9 of Boston2024's proposal to host the Olympic Games, the committee would increase White Stadium's seating to 20,000 for the Modern Pentathlon as well as Equestrian events. It would provide room for a whopping 60,000 througout the William J. Devine Golf Course for viewing Equestrian Cross Country.
Thursday evening, more than 150 residents from Jamaica Plain, Roxbury and Dorchester came to the Franklin Park Golf Clubhouse to listen to a presentation from the Boston 2024 executive bid committee. Event organizers from the Franklin Park Coalition expected an informative meeting for the community about what changes to the historic park could be expected, but instead attendees were met with few details and fewer answers. The plan, at least as presented Thursday, is to renovate half of White Stadium to accommodate more spectators for parts of the Modern Pentathlon, as well as some equestrian events. Also included was the proposal to build a permanent pool for use long after the closing ceremonies, and use of the golf course area for one of the equestrian competitions. At this stage in the planning process, Boston 2024 staff members at the meeting had a hard time answering detailed questions about how Franklin Park would be impacted, such as how long certain areas off the park would be closed off before and after the Olympics, and how new additions to the park would be maintained in the future.
Did you miss Thursday's "State Of Our Neighborhood" forum? Here's the first of two videos to give you a flavor of the fifth annual event. Emcee Malia Lazu framed it this way: "This year the State of Our Neighborhood is asking a question: Jamaica Plain for whom? Is it us? And are we ready to fight for it?"