NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

December 23, 2013

Area could offer venues for Olympics in 2024

(Continued)

The Merrimack Valley’s three commuter rail lines into Boston — Lowell, Haverhill and Newburyport/Rockport — could provide transportation into the city for athletes, visitors and others who could stay outside the city in less-densely populated areas and transportation to events here for those in the Hub.

“I think it’s going to be an opportunity to house people and provide transportation to activities,” said Joseph Bevilacqua, president of the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce. “That would have positive impact on the tourist and restaurant industries.”

Sal Lupoli, owner of the Sal’s Pizza parlor chain and a developer in the region, said the interstates, the commuter rail lines and the airports at Boston and Manchester means the Merrimack Valley is a key spot that’s outside Boston but close enough to get into the city in short time.

“What’s so attractive also is the ability to put out the workforce needed for an event like that,” he said. “If ever the opportunity arose, you’re talking about thousands and thousands of people you’d have to mobilize. The biggest workforce to mobilize, I’d have to tell you, is Woburn and in the Merrimack Valley.”

An exploratory committee created by the Legislature to consider the prospects for hosting the 2024 summer Olympics began meeting earlier this month. It is composed of developers, business people, Boston city officials, public safety officials and state legislators led by Suffolk Construction Co. CEO John F. Fish.

It was a lawmaker from the Merrimack Valley, Sen. Eileen Donoghue, D-Lowell, who actually spearheaded the creation of the commission.

The group is outlining steps it will take to meet its March 1 deadline for a final report. It will review the key things the International Olympic Committee looks at when choosing a host city and determining how Boston can fulfill those requirements, committee members said at the group’s first meeting Dec. 3 at the Statehouse.

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