Sunday, December 17, 2000

Bid for Olympics has people talking

Some want Games, others question costs

By Dan Klepal
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The effort to hang Olympic rings over the Queen City has generated considerable buzz. Everyone asked about the Olympic effort Saturday had an opinion, some siding with officials who find the Games too expensive, others saying the cost is worth it.

        Tony Bolser visited Atlanta in 1996 specifically to attend the Olympiad. He doesn't believe the Games will work in Cincinnati without light rail.

        Cincinnati's proposal for the Games, submitted last week by Cincinnati 2012, says light rail will not be necessary, but would help make the Olympics run more smoothly.

        “I personally don't want it here,” said Mr. Bolser, 39, of Bridgetown. “The only payback will be in stadiums left behind. We just built two stadiums, and to me that's just not (worth it).”

        Sandra Sproles said the Olympic effort has people talking around Procter & Gamble water coolers. The Hamilton resident works in accounts payable and said she thinks the Games would make the city a better place to live.

        “I think it can happen,” said Ms. Sproles, 28. “It would elevate the city to something better than it is now. It would be a lot of work, but I think it's a great idea.”

        Some political leaders have expressed reservations about the amount of public money necessary to pull off the Games. Ohio Senate President Richard Finan has said he thinks the Games would require massive amounts of tax dollars to improve infrastructure that would not otherwise be spent.

        And although Cincinnati City Council supported the Olympic effort, Mayor Charlie Luken said it is unlikely the city will give Cincinnati 2012 Inc. the requested $500,000 over two years to help pay for the bid.

        Bill Roeller of Price Hill thinks the Games would be too expensive. He said the Games might make the city better, but at what cost?

        “It will take a lot of money from people's pockets, but it will only come back to a few,” Mr. Roeller, 52, said. “And I don't see any of it coming back my way.”


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