Two recent editorials – one from Washington Business Journal Editor-in-Chief Douglas Fruehling and the other from ANC 6B10 Commissioner-Elect Denise Krepp on The Hill is Home – call on Washington 2024 to start sharing the details of their bid for the 2024 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. I agree with both Fruehling and Krepp that the decision to bid on an Olympics is a huge decision – one that should not be made behind closed doors. And given that RFK Stadium and Reservation 13 have been identified as potential sites for a new Olympic stadium and Olympic village respectively, Hill East residents deserve to know how an Olympic bid would affect the future of the neighborhood and waterfront.
Estimates put the potential cost of hosting an Olympic Games at $15-20 billion. DC residents deserve to know how Washington 2024 and the city plan to finance such a large investment, particularly when the city is already bumping up against its debt cap. Mayor Vince Gray has proposed using a land swap instead of borrowing to fund a new DC United Stadium. If the Mayor and Council are concerned about exceeding the debt cap on a roughly $150 million dollar investment, how are they going to find funding for a $15 billion dollar Olympics? Yet Mayor Gray, Mayor-Elect Muriel Bowser, Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie have all signaled support for the bid.
And why hasn’t the DC Council held a hearing on the proposed bid? Earlier this year, the Council found time to examine a ridiculous and unrealistic RFK Stadium/hotel zone/waterpark/golf course bill but it can’t find the time to hold a hearing on Washington 2024?
It’s time for Washington 2024 and city leaders to share specific details about the Olympic bid. To that end, ANC 6B has sent the following letter to Washington 2024 inviting the organization to present their plans at a community meeting. We hope to work with our colleagues in ANCs 7D, 7F and 6A to find a meeting date and time that works for all commissions representing or adjacent to RFK Stadium and Reservation 13.
—-ANC 6B Letter to Washington 2024—-
November 13, 2014
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
2200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
5th Floor East
Washington, DC 20037
Dear Chairman Ramsey,
We write to invite you to attend a community meeting in the next month to discuss specific details of the Washington 2024 Summer Olympic bid. At a properly noticed meeting with a quorum present on November 13, 2014, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6B voted 8-0 to send this letter and invitation.
We are aware that Washington, DC is a finalist to be the United States bid city for the 2024 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. While few details have been released about your plans for venues, media reports suggest that a good portion of the eastern end of Capitol Hill, including RFK Stadium, the DC Armory and Reservation 13, are being discussed as sites for an Olympic Stadium, Olympic Village and other venues. Our commission represents the Hill East residents who live immediately to the west of these sites.
Before our commission can consider supporting your efforts, we need an opportunity to learn more about your plans and to ask you questions before the United States Olympic Committee selects a bid city in early 2015. Our questions include:
- What venues are being planned for the land surrounding RFK Stadium, the DC Armory and Reservation 13 (site of the former DC General hospital)?
- Given that most hotels are west of these sites, how will spectators travel to the various venues without further complicating the normal congestion along our roads?
- Besides the site of RFK Stadium and Reservation 13, are there other potential Olympic Stadium or Village locations in mind?
- How much will the District of Columbia have to invest in the Olympic bid? What will be the breakdown in public versus private dollars?
- How do you plan to engage surrounding neighbors as the bid progresses? A community advisory committee? Monthly e-mail list?
In the next few days, I will follow-up with your staff to find a date/time and Hill East venue in the next month that works for a meeting. We will also coordinate this date and time with our colleague commissions who represent constituents on or surrounding the eastern end of Capitol Hill – ANC 7D (RFK Stadium and the Armory), ANC 7F (Reservation 13) and ANC 6A (residents immediately east and northeast of both sites).
In your June 2014 press release, Washington 2024’s Vice Chairman Ted Leonsis said that DC would host the “most transparent” games in history. It is in this spirit that we send this invitation. We look forward to learning more about the bid and how it will affect our constituents and city.
Thank you for your consideration, and we look forward to hearing from you,
Chair, ANC 6B