Saying he wants to “flesh out” key aspects of Boston’s bid for the 2024 Olympics, City Council President Bill Linehan plans four public forums in the next two months that will review the Games’ costs, a proposed referendum, and the potential to transform the city.
Linehan, chairman of the council’s special committee on the 2024 Olympics, said the hearings will be an opportunity to raise questions and continue discussion about the Games.
He said city councilors will use the meetings to assess how hosting the Games aligns with Boston’s vision of its future. And, he added, the hearings should help hone Boston’s bid.
“It is my intention to create a public dialogue, in a public setting, with those shaping the bid and those who have been elected to represent the people of Boston,” Linehan said.
He said he has invited members of the International Olympic Committee, the Boston 2024 organizing committee, and the administration of Mayor Martin J. Walsh to attend the hearings.
Linehan’s committee held a session in March that lasted four hours. Councilors concluded then that more sessions were needed to address the public’s concerns.
Linehan said if Boston were selected to host the Games, every neighborhood would be affected. Linehan, who represents South Boston, is up for reelection this year along with all members of the council.
The first hearing, planned for 9:30 a.m. Monday in council chambers, will review how Boston’s bid will be affected by the International Olympic Committee’s 2020 Agenda. The IOC established and approved the 2020 Agenda to make the Games more sustainable and economical for host cities, Linehan said. Councilors will explore whether the agenda fits Boston’s own long-term vision, as well as its goals for hosting the Games.
Dates for the other sessions have not been set.
Linehan said the second hearing, planned for June, will explore whether the Olympics will be a catalyst for 2030 initiatives outlined by Walsh’s administration. The mayor recently launched a citywide planning initiative for 2030 — the city’s 400th anniversary — that targets housing, transportation, and economic development.
A third forum will be devoted to costs associated with the 2024 Games and their impact in the city’s neighborhoods.
Boston is in the middle of a development boom, Linehan said, fueled mostly with private dollars. The councilors will explore whether the city can continue to build while also attracting investors to make the Games a success.
A fourth hearing will focus on a push by Councilor Josh Zakim for a nonbinding public referendum on the Games.
Linehan said he will consider more hearings on the Olympics bid. At the end of the process, he said, the committee will issue a written assessment on how Boston can move forward.