It’s hard to tell just how realistic any Boston-based bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics may prove to be.
The city, after all, has pursued hosting the Games in the past, without making it to the final cuts. And while Boston and its environs indeed have a lot to offer any such global extravaganza, the cost of various construction and infrastructure needs would send chills up the spines of taxpayers who have not yet recovered from the hopelessly convoluted execution of The Big Dig.
But it’s clear from the comments of lawmakers and others that those looking into a potential Boston 2024 Games are doing so in the right frame of mind, with legislative committee member and state Rep. Cory Atkins, D-Concord, noting that a Boston Olympics should be used as a means of redeveloping parts of the city and mapping out a comprehensive plan for Boston and the region for the next three decades or more.
And state Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr is right to jump on the notion that, if Boston is to submit a 2024 Olympic plan, the North Shore should be part of it.
While most of the big-ticket events — notably the opening ceremonies, gymnastics and track and field events — could be planned out for the likes of Foxborough’s Gillette Stadium, Boston’s TD Garden and perhaps facilities such as the appropriately historic Harvard Stadium, other events could easily make use of the coast, roads and byways of our region of the state.
Some readers might have chuckled, for instance, when Monday’s Daily News tossed out the idea of running a triathlon that might start on Lake Cochichewick in North Andover, then follow Route 133 through Ipswich into Gloucester and ending at the base of Bearskin Neck in Rockport. Or it could wind through Essex, swing into Manchester and perhaps finish at Gloucester’s Stage Fort Park or Stacy Boulevard, utilizing the wider road for spectator space and Stage Fort and Gloucester High School for parking, media space and other services.
But compared to other aspects of a Boston bid, what’s so far-fetched about that? Or perhaps the idea of hosting the Olympic sailing competition off Plum Island, with a nod to the entire region’s historic maritime past.
The fact is, many Olympic events are played out at venues that are miles from the Games’ host cities. This part of the state has an advantage over other areas through its working commuter rail system and decent highway access.
Let’s hope that, if Boston and state officials engage in a serious pursuit of these Games, they’ll make this region a part of it. We may be more ready than most.