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Chicago 2016 Tries To Calm Taxpayer Fears

By Samantha Abernethy in News on Jan 29, 2009 5:40PM

2009_01_29_chicago2016.jpg John Murray, chief of bid operations for Chicago 2016, said earlier this week that funding for Chicago's Olympic bid will come from a trust fund that is 100 percent privately funded. He said that public funds will not go directly toward the Olympics, and the CTA's expansion would occur without the Olympics and Bronzeville residents need not be worried about being displaced. Murray is also trying to downplay the role of the Blagojevich controversy in all this

However, It was not that long ago--about 2 weeks, but who's counting--that Daley announced that the city would be purchasing Michael Reese Hospital for the Olympic Village. In order to make that purchase, the city will be using TIF money to fix up the place to attract vendors for the Olympic village, a move the Chicago Reader predicted before.

So will taxpayer money go toward the Olympics? Well in March of 2007 the City Council pledged $500 million to go toward cost overruns. That won't happen, though, right? Even though Vancouver 2010 is borrowing $375 million and London 2012 is spending four times what it expected. Only time will tell. The Olympic bid is crazy expensive, after all.

Adding fuel to the fire? A group called No Games Chicago is holding a panel discussion at UIC this Saturday to discuss why they think the games shouldn't be held in Chicago. That prompted Chicago 2016 to send an email to all of its supporters to ask them to flood the meeting with their support for the games and "show the world and the International Olympic Committee that this small group does not speak for all Chicagoans and that we want the Games here." It should make for an interesting "conversation."