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Volleyball continues exodus of Olympic sites from Boston

The proposed relocation of beach volleyball from the Boston Common to Quincy, confirmed by the Olympic bid committee on Wednesday, means that three of the first four events announced under Boston 2024’s new venue plan have been moved from Boston to other communities.

The moves come at the expense of the “walkability” of Boston 2024’s original venue proposal, which was one of the committee’s early selling points aimed at the international audience that will choose the 2024 Olympic host in 2017.

But the committee believes the trade-off will be worth it, with the potential to shore up the public standing of the bid here, in part by recruiting mayors and other allies in parts of the state perpetually in Boston’s shadow.


Quincy Mayor Thomas P. Koch did not quite endorse beach volleyball at Squantum Point Park — he’s waiting for a community meeting next month — but sounded intrigued by its “great potential.”

Moving volleyball has the added benefit for Boston 2024 of relieving a sore spot from its original venue plan, released in January. Many Bostonians hated the idea of an Olympic beach sport commandeering a swath of Boston Common.

“There are concerns in some areas of the state and people are welcoming us with open arms in others,” said Boston 2024 chief executive Rich Davey, suggesting that venue proposals in the new plan will take a path of least public resistance.

What will be left in Boston?

About 25 events, or more, according to bid chairman Steve Pagliuca. That would include track and field events in a temporary stadium planned for Widett Circle. The Olympic village is also expected to remain at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

The committee has already confirmed that tennis will be in Boston, though the venue has changed from Allston to Dorchester.

Gymnastics and the basketball finals are expected to be played in the TD Garden, which could be confirmed this week.


The committee continues to work with residents on its plan for equestrian events at Franklin Park, but should that effort fail, those events could be relocated outside the city.

Boston 2024’s original venue plan called for six events at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center: rhythmic gymnastics, judo, table tennis, taekwondo, indoor volleyball, and wrestling. It is likely a number of events would remain there under the new plan, even if a proposed convention center expansion never happens.

The aquatic center, a key venue for the marquee sports of swimming and diving, had originally been proposed at Harvard’s Allston campus but could also leave the city.

In a news conference Wednesday, Davey said the park is the committee’s “preferred location” for beach volleyball, but “we’re still in a process of learning and listening.” The bid committee will host a public meeting in Quincy on July 9.

The waterfront park offers tremendous views of the Boston skyline but it needs work, the mayor said.

“You can see the bulkheads all along the waterfront here are falling apart,” Koch said. “Certainly [the park] could be made more friendly and more usable.”

Boston 2024 planners want to set up a temporary stadium and parking for as many as 20,000 spectators. The committee proposes adjacent warm-up courts and other temporary facilities.

The projected cost for the venue is $23 million to $28.5 million in private money, according to Boston 2024.


Spectators would arrive by shuttle bus from the North Quincy Red line station, or by water ferry, Davey said. An existing dock at the park would need to be upgraded.

Koch suggested permanent ferry service could be a legacy of hosting the event.

City Councilor Brian Palmucci said the proposal should have come to the residents first, before it was “rolled out as a fully-baked plan.” He said his concerns include the potential costs to the city in police and fire department overtime.

Denise Renaghan, co-owner of the nearby Captain Fishbones restaurant, said the potential benefits of infrastructure improvements and ferry service would outweigh the inconvenience of the event.

But Patty Taylor, 59, said the city should focus on its real problems.

“Who cares about the Olympics?” she said. “Fix the roads.”

Mark Arsenault can be reached at mark.arsenault@globe.com.