, Salem, MA

January 3, 2014

Our view: Olympic dreaming on the North Shore

The Salem News

---- — 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 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 Olympic 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 Sen. Bruce Tarr of Gloucester is right to jump on the notion that if Boston is to submit a 2024 Olympic plan, the North Shore, including Cape Ann, 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 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 the North Shore.

Could a triathlon be run through some of the North Shore’s most-scenic areas in Ipswich, Gloucester, Salem and Beverly? Or maybe the Olympic sailing competition could be held off the coasts of Marblehead or Manchester. Is there a better equestrian venue than the Myopia Hunt Club in Hamilton?

The fact is, many Olympic events are played out at venues that are miles from the games’ host cities. And Cape Ann, along with other North Shore communities, has an advantage over other areas through its working commuter rail system and decent highway access.

Look, there’s no need to start placing your ticket orders for the summer of 2024. But let’s hope that if Boston and state officials engage in a serious pursuit of these games, they’ll make the North Shore a part of it. We may be more ready than most.