New Plan for Olympic Stadium

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Sep 21, 2006 7:44PM

After being sent back to the drawing board following its proposed dual-stadium opening ceremonies, the group organizing Chicago's bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics have unveiled their revised stadium plan.

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Rather than a temporary stadium immediately south of Soldier Field, the new proposal calls for a stadium to be built in Washington Park, just west of the University of Chicago on the city's South Side.

This plan seems to make a lot more sense. The location will be much more accessible, "[w]ith the Chicago Transit Authority's Green Line running along the western edge of Washington Park, the Metra Electric line shooting through Hyde Park, and major highways like Lake Shore Drive and the Dan Ryan Expressway offering additional access."

The proposed 95,000-seat stadium would be used for the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as the track & field events. Following the Summer Games, the stadium would be partially dismantled, leaving a 10,000-seat sunken amphitheater that could be used for track & field events and cultural events.

So is this plan a winner? While we're biased towards our Lincoln Park lakefront proposal that would become the replacement to Wrigley, we think this plan is pretty good, too. The dual-stadium opening ceremonies was a lame idea. And who wants to see the Olympic Stadium disappear entirely once the games end? Plus, as anyone who has gone to a Bears game, the museum campus or McCormick Place knows, getting there can be an issue. Washington Park can be reached in a variety of ways.

Will this new proposal be enough to land the Olympics? It certainly helps our cause, and it should even help alleviate some of that lakeshore/downtown traffic that many Olympic naysayers use as an excuse.