BOSTON (AP) — After abandoning plans to host beach volleyball on Boston Common, organizers for the city’s bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics are now proposing holding competitions for one of the games’ most popular events at a waterfront park in Quincy, the city directly south of Boston.
Richard Davey, CEO of the Boston 2024 group that’s planning the city’s bid, joined Quincy Mayor Tom Koch to outline the new plan Wednesday at Squantum Point Park, a state park overlooking Boston Harbor.
“The park provides a postcard-perfect backdrop for Olympic beach volleyball,” Davey said, noting sweeping views of the Boston skyline and harbor.
Koch and other city leaders said they looked forward to showcasing their city to the world and benefiting from new investment and new improvements to the park. Davey said Boston 2024 will hold a community meeting next month to discuss the plan in more detail with residents.
The announcement comes as Olympics boosters try to revive local support with an updated plan expected to be unveiled this month.
Organizers had initially touted a compact, “walkable” games featuring some of the most iconic locations in the Boston area, from Fenway Park to Harvard University, MIT, the Charles River, Boston Harbor and the Common, the city’s famous central park.
But the feasibility of hosting events at those locations has long been in question for varying reasons. Park advocates and residents in the upscale Beacon Hill neighborhood that abut the Common, for example, voiced strong opposition to the beach volleyball plan.
The mayor of Holyoke, Mass. has also made a pitch for hosting volleyball events since the western Massachusetts city was where the sport was first invented in 1895. The Wednesday announcement did not address plans for indoor volleyball, proposed for Boston’s convention center under Boston 2024’s initial plan.
Organizers have been rolling out proposed new venues one by one as a deadline for planning financing and venues approaches.
Earlier this week, Boston 2024 proposed holding Olympic shooting events in Billerica, a town about 25 miles northwest of Boston. The games had initially been planned for Long Island, in Boston Harbor, but a bridge to the island has been declared unsafe and since been demolished.
Sailing events have also been moved from Boston Harbor to New Bedford, a working class former whaling capital south of Boston near Cape Cod.
And tennis competitions will be held at the Sportsmen’s Tennis and Enrichment Center in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood.
They had initially been proposed for Harvard University in nearby Cambridge, Mass. but the Ivy League university, which had once been a prominent component of the city’s bid, has been distancing itself from the efforts in recent days.
The U.S. Olympic Committee chose Boston as the American nominee for the 2024 Summer Games in a surprise move in January. But the effort has struggled to gain traction locally, leading to questions about whether the USOC will drop the bid or put forward another U.S. city like Los Angeles.
The International Olympic Committee is scheduled to pick a host for the 2024 Summer Games in 2017, where an American nominee would compete against Hamburg, Germany, and Budapest, Hungary, as well as Rome and Paris.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports
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