By SCOTT JACKSON
One candidate for mayor in this year’s municipal election has come out against a proposal to host Olympic beach volleyball at Squantum Point Park if Boston were awarded the 2024 games.
Councillor Doug Gutro, one of five residents in the race to serve as the city’s chief executive, announced his opposition to the plan in an email to supporters Wednesday. He said the “public resources and political will” needed to organize the games would be better spent on other issues, namely opiate abuse and infrastructure improvements.
“I want to let you know that based on what I know of the plan, I oppose any decision by the City of Quincy to site the volleyball venue at Marina Bay and Squantum Point Park in particular and have grave concerns relative to the cost and benefits of the overall Olympic hosting effort,” Gutro stated.
“My view on this subject has nothing to do with the leadership of the Boston 2024 effort. I accept their good faith and that their work is sincere. I do believe there can be honorable disagreement on this matter and my opinion is that the time has come to move on from this proposal. The public resources and political will, investment and intellectual energy that this effort requires are far better off devoted to those large scale challenges that are manifest today.
“We have an opiate abuse epidemic in Quincy and the Commonwealth that needs this type of focus. This winter made clear that thoughtful investment in infrastructure and equipment are of paramount importance in many areas. Quincy does not need to hitch its hopes for needed transportation infrastructure improvements to a flawed Olympics proposal and should not have to.”
Boston 2024 unveiled plans on June 17 to host beach volleyball events in a 20,000 seat temporary stadium at the state-operated Squantum Point Park. The plan also includes a number of upgrades to the park, which combined with construction costs for the stadium would total between $23 million and $28.5 million; the organizers said those costs would be privately financed.
A public meeting on the plan was held July 9. Gutro was in attendance at that meeting, which drew a crowd of more than 200 to the Marina Bay community room.
A second meeting is scheduled for July 30 at the Squantum Elementary School, 50 Huckins Ave., starting at 6:30 p.m.
Chris Walker, a spokesman for Mayor Thomas Koch, said at least one other public meeting would be held; the date and location for the third meeting have not yet been determined. Koch has said he would only back the proposal if there were enough community support.