Region Forward Blog

Officials Discuss Legacy of Olympic Bid

Sep 14, 2015

Public and private sector leaders developed a vision for hosting the 2024 Olympics in metropolitan Washington that would focus on and enhance regional assets like walkable communities, an expansive transit system, and natural resources like the Potomac and Anacostia rivers and Chesapeake Bay.

While Los Angeles ultimately was selected as the U.S. bid city for the 2024 games, local leaders have been interested in how elements of the Olympic vision may be applicable to the region’s future. To learn more, area officials discussed the Washington 2024 Bid and its legacy at the September COG Board of Directors meeting.

Unlike the Washington-Baltimore 2012 Olympic Bid, which sprawled between two regions, the 2024 organizers envisioned an event with a clear home base around the nation’s capital and its surrounding jurisdictions. And rather than laying out venues on a map, bid officials said they looked at the region’s long-range development and considered how the Olympics would support future growth and quality of life.

The concept of a compact, walkable, bikeable, transit-oriented Olympics were informed by local and regional vision plans. Many of the bid’s goals-creating an Olympic village in Hill East to be re-purposed as vibrant mixed use neighborhood, better connecting the community with natural resources like the Anacostia River, and using the games to market the region to the world and attract new residents and businesses-align closely with our Region Forward vision. Regarding transportation, bid officials said the games focused attention around the need to invest in current infrastructure and fund long-range plans like potential Metro station Improvements.

Bid officials commended area leaders on the bipartisan support across the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia for the 2024 effort. Bid President Bob Sweeney said this display of cooperation shows the region is poised to contend for a future Olympics or host another large-scale sporting event or world expo.

Sweeney also expressed hope that the cooperation that fueled the bid might jumpstart a new effort to improve cooperation among local governments on economic development, so that the region will be better positioned to compete for jobs, business, and talent in the global arena.

Building on long-standing relationships with area economic development directors and through its 2015 Policy Focus, COG has been exploring opportunities for cooperation to enhance the business climate, innovation, and quality of life in the region.

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