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Brookline votes to oppose Boston 2024’s bid to host Olympics

Opponents say town was not consulted

Boston 2024’s early concept documents proposed Olympic golf at The Country Club in Brookline.Bill Greene/Globe Staff/Boston Globe

BROOKLINE — Town Meeting Thursday night voted to formally oppose Boston 2024's bid to host the Olympic Games, and urged Brookline's local and state representatives to actively resist the plans.

The late-night vote came after those opposed talked about the financial liability associated with hosting an Olympic Games, and complained that the town was never consulted about hosting events that were included in a bid submitted last year by Boston 2024 to the United States Olympic Committee.

"The momentum has to be stopped now," said Brookline Town Meeting member Martin Rosenthal.

The vote may have little direct effect on Boston's pursuit of the Summer Games, but could be a symbolic blow at a critical time for the local bid committee, which just completed a shake-up of its top leadership.


Boston 2024 is under pressure from Governor Charlie Baker and others to release an updated plan to build Olympic facilities with private financing and provide new cost and revenue projections for the Games.

The bid committee, under new chairman Steve Pagliuca, co-owner of the Boston Celtics, has promised to release its new plan by the end of June.

Boston 2024's early concept documents proposed Olympic golf at The Country Club, in Brookline, which has hosted major tournaments such as the 1999 Ryder Cup.

The proposed Olympic marathon course — which differs from the annual Boston Marathon route — appears to pass through Brookline, according to documents that the bid committee released in January.

No representative from Boston 2024 spoke to the Town Meeting, but a letter signed by committee chief executive Richard Davey and chief bid officer Erin Murphy Rafferty was distributed at the meeting.

The letter asked that the town hold off on a vote while a "robust public dialogue across the Commonwealth" takes place and a revised plan is prepared for release June 30.


"Rather than voting to support or oppose our December submission to the USOC, we ask that you continue to engage the Boston 2024 team, consider the revised plan, and provide us feedback and suggestions on how to make the bid better," the letter read.

Brookline resident and Olympics opponent Lee Biernbaum submitted the article to Town Meeting after months of following the debate over Boston's bid for the Games.

On Thursday night he urged Town Meeting to not fall for what he called Boston 2024's stall tactics.

"It's a refrain you hear a lot from 2024. They continue to use the process of slowdown," he said. "The bid is due this September regardless of what happens. Every time they ask for another 30 days, it buys them another 30 days without meaningful dialogue."

But several members wanted to postpone a vote until the fall, arguing that there is still time to listen to more detailed plans from organizers before making a decision about whether or not to support the Games.

"We're sending a real strong message here," said Town Meeting member Dan Saltzman.

"Let's give it a few more months, let's see some more definitive plans," he said.

Mark Arsenault can be reached at Ellen Ishkaniancan be reached