You may or may not have heard the buzz building around a potential Chicago bid for the 2016 Olympics. Signs, in the form of Mayor Daley, however, are starting to point to just such an occurrence.
Could it happen? Could the Olympics come to Chicago? The idea of it, although at first farfetched sounding, is intriguing. Wouldn't it be cool for the entire world to be watching the opening ceremonies in Soldier Field? Can you imagine all the awesome brand new housing complexes, initially for athletes, but then for those in need of housing? The ramifications would be huge. And honestly, the idea seems to have some potential. I'll admit, it's growing on me.
The usual concern is that it costs too much to attempt to pull all the venues, new buildings, and even the initial bidding together for it to be worthwhile. Certainly, you wouldn't want a money-loser, but even coming out financially even, I think you'd be ahead here. The draw to Chicago as a result of hosting the games would be phenomenal.
The Chicago area actually has a lot of what they'd need to pull off the event. More than most cities, at least. The one big item needed is a large track and field venue. I think there is a solution at hand. An idea recently floated has suggested building a stadium that is only temporarily 80,000 people large, but that could be downsized to ~25,000. The UIC campus has been suggested as a location. I think it's a great idea. UIC could add a football team post 2016 and also, the site could serve as a high school football venue.
I honestly hope this ends up happening. Chicago's infrastructure would grow while increasing in world visibility. There seems to be the potential for a pretty cool time come 2016 here in Chicago.