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Boston Olympic bid renderings, budget docs released

A rendering of what a Boston Olympics would look like.Courtesy of Boston 2024

The president for Boston 2024 dodged questions Wednesday about an Olympic referendum as a trove of specifics from the city’s bid were released to the public.

Dan O’Connell, the president for Boston 2024, largely demurred when it came to talking about what effect a negative referendum would have on Boston’s Olympic bid. He said a lot would depend on how a ballot question was worded and whether any citizen referendum could garner the tens of thousands of signatures needed to land on a ballot.

He said he believed there was a “strong majority in support for these games.”

MassINC Polling Group released the results of survey earlier this week that indicated 51 percent of Boston area residents supported bringing the games here, while 75 percent wanted it put to voters with a referendum.

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Asked what effect a negative referendum would have on Boston’s chances, O’Connell said, “I don’t know the answer to that, that would be a question for the IOC (International Olympic Committee.”

Olympic backers, including Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, have thus far not supported a referendum on the games.

Earlier this week, Walsh released a statement saying he did not support a referendum but that he “looks forward to engaging in a robust community process and having a two way conversation with all neighborhoods as we move forward.”

While Olympic opponents have raised transparency concerns about the bid, O’Connell said his group was releasing “virtually” everything they presented to the United States Olympic Committee last month.

Overall budget projections were released. According to projections, the Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games should expect to incur costs of $4.7 billion. Some specific budgetary information, however, was withheld, such as anticipated land and construction costs since that would place his group at a disadvantage in potential negotiations.

“That’s the kind of thing that we’ve taken out,” he said. “We need to have a truly competitive process at the best price.”

O’Connell reiterated that the games will be funded through private avenues, specifically broadcast revenues, corporate sponsorships and ticket sales.

He framed a Boston Olympics as a public transit-oriented, walkable event with 28 venues being located within three-plus miles of each other.

He said a 60,000-seat stadium planned for Widett Circle, located in the shadow of the I-93 near the border of Southie and the South End would be a temporary structure that would ready that plot of land for future mixed-use development.

“Instead of a salt pile and a tow lot, that would be an area that is ready for further development,” he said.

He said no changes to local zoning law or state law would be needed for the games.

Locations for a Boston Olympics include:

-Tennis at Harvard.

-Beach volleyball on the common.

-A temporary 60,000-seat stadium at Widett Circle.

-Archery on the MIT front lawn, with the university’s iconic dome in the background.

-Badminton at Agganis Arena.

-A velodrome in Assembly Square.

-Rugby at Gillette stadium

-Baseball at Fenway – if Olympic authorities bring back the sport for the 2024 games. Baseball was last contested at the Olympics in 2008.

 
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