On Tuesday, resident Chris Hoeh took the podium at First Church to announce that Franklin Park Area Stop the Olympics was in place and in your face. Saying that "Jamaica Plain stopped I-95 and we can stop the Olympics," he urged everyone in the sanctuary to come out to the Mayors Boston Olympic Community meeting on June 30 to say Franklin Park and Harambee Park ( Franklin Field ) are not for the Olympics. "The meeting is a great opportunity!" In a hand-out, the group stated that Franklin Park Area Stop the Olympics was formed "in response to calls for locally organized resistance....We will help stop the Olympics and build the city we need." Hoeh - who lives on Adelaide street and is grade school teacher - spoke at the conclusion of a lecture by Smith College Professor Andrew Zimabalist on the "Economic Gamble of Boston 2024."
Thursday night a trio of groups will host a discussion of possible displacement of residents by the 2024 Olympics. The event, hosted by No Boston 2024, Black Lives Matter and the Boston Homeless Solidarity Committee, begins at 7 p.m. at Hope Central Church, 85 Seaverns Ave. Here's a link to the Facebook event page. Dubbed "Olympic Sized Displacement," the panel will explore whether Boston residents would be forced from their homes should Boston 2024 succeed in bringing the Olympics to the city. Organizers of the forum cite a 2007 study that found 2 million people had been displaced in the previous 20 years because of the Olympics.
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.