Olympic Parks Plan Ripped

But too little too late?

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Chicago 2016
    A moving target.

    Now you tell us.

    "Just a day after an International Olympic Committee (IOC) panel finished reviewing Chicago's plans to host the 2016 games, the head ofthe city's leading parks watchdog group pretty much ripped those plans to shreds," Greg Hinz writes in Crain's.

    "In a downtown speech, Erma Tranter, president of Friends of the Parks, said that while her group backs a Chicago Olympics, current plans would misuse parks, leave little good legacy and potentially burden the Chicago Park District with facilities it can't afford and doesn't know how to operate."

    Which is all true. But why wait for the IOC to leave town before saying so?

    Because some folks are still operating under the illusion that the Olympics are worth supporting "if done right."

    "We think the Olympics are a great opportunity," Tranter said -- and has said before -- on Thursday. "But the legacy must be improvements that are of benefit to people and are sustainable by taxpayer money."

    But the Olympics are almost never "done right," if by done right one means financially efficient with little or no taxpayer expense and lasting benefits to the poor and even middle class in Olympic cities. It just doesn't work that way.

    Perhaps that's why we haven't heard some recent critics until this late in the game.

    But consider what happened on Thursday when Chicago 2016 suddenly started touting a smaller amphitheater to be left behind in historic Washington Park once the temporary Olympic Stadium planned for that location is dismantled.

    "Tranter was surprised Thursday when [Chicago 2016 legacies director Arnold] Randall used seating numbers under 3,500 in his presentation to the group," the Tribune reports.

    "'The number keeps moving," said Tranter, who added that she's heard permanent seat numbers of between 5,000 and 15,000 recently.

    Funny how numbers do that.

    "Randall promised that, in addition to the facilities, the Olympic Games would leave behind operating money from revenue generated by the Games. But although there are ideas on the table for how to achieve that funding, he said there are no specific plans in place yet," the Trib reports.

    Funny how promises but not plans are in place.

    The IOC may have everything they need to evaluate Chicago's bid, but the citizens of Chicago are still looking at a moving target in its attempt to decide whether bringing the Games here is a good idea. That, too, is an Olympic legacy.

    Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review. You can subscribe to his NBC RSS feed here.