Sunday, July 29, 2001

Where Cincinnati stands on key Olympic topics

        During the course of four days last week, U.S. Olympic Committee members heard Cincinnati officials make their best pitch to host the 2012 Summer Games. Here's what the city told the committee on key topics:

        • Sports sites: Of the 37 proposed Olympic venues, 29 already exist, although three require extensive renovation. Two future venues are part of university master plans.

        • Sport events experience: Cincinnati is the birthplace of professional baseball. In 1996, voters agreed to tax themselves to build new stadiums for the Reds and Bengals. The city hosts NCAA sports programs for men and women in all collegiate divisions.

        • Olympic Village: It would be in Bond Hill, 10 miles north of downtown. It would include single-family homes with shops, a town center and open green space. The development has been endorsed by the Cincinnati Planning Commission.

        • Transportation: Cincinnati's airport is expected to have a new runway completed by 2005, which will increase its capacity by 28 percent. The Cincinnati area is at the core of one of the country's most complex and integrated highway systems with three major highways (I-75, I-71 and I-74) passing through the proposed Olympic Park.

        • Arts and culture: Cincinnati supports one of the oldest symphony orchestras in the country and America's oldest choral festival. It has three art museums, two nationally recognized theaters, a world-class zoo and is building an international museum dedicated to the Underground Railroad.

        • Government support: City Council and Hamilton County Commissioners have endorsed the Olympic bid, but neither has given financial support. More than $700,000 in tourism funds from Ohio and Kentucky have been donated.

        • Financial plan: Cincinnati 2012 has put together a $2.6 billion budget that calculates a $145 million surplus and $311 million in contingencies. A proposal is pending that would allow Ohio and Kentucky to skim sales tax generated by Olympic spending and use it to guarantee against debt left over from the Games.

        • International strategies: Cincinnati 2012 plans a sponsors village in the center of Olympic Park in downtown.


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