Olympics would create jobs and economic empowerment

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The Chicago 2016 committee released an independent economic-impact study Dec. 11 to quantify the economic effects in Illinois and Chicago if it should host the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and concluded the benefits would be substantial.

The Chicago 2016 committee released an independent economic-impact study Dec. 11 to quantify the economic effects in Illinois and Chicago if it should host the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and concluded the benefits would be substantial.

During an 11-year time period from 2011 through 2021, the Olympics would stimulate $22.5 billion of incremental economic activity in Illinois and $13.7 billion in Chicago, according to the study. It also concluded that 315,000 new jobs would be created in the state during this period, with 172,000 in Chicago. This represents new labor income of $11.2 billion.

The impact for the rest of Cook County is expected to be $5.5 billion while the six collar counties would get an estimated $1.8 billion. Other nearby counties would see another $1.5 billion in new economic activity.

For this study, economists discounted business and tourist spending and investments that would occur regardless of whether Chicago hosts the 2016 Games. The study also measured the incremental impact or economic activity that would occur only if Chicago is chosen as the host city.

For its part, businesses would pay more taxes, such as sales, to Chicago as a result of the increased economic activity. The study estimates that $1.5 billion of indirect business taxes would be generated within Illinois, with $1 billion within Chicago.

In addition to this financial impact, Chicago’s enormous visibility on the global stage, should it be chosen to host the Olympics in 2016, would have a direct impact on the city’s tourism industry, educational institutions, cultural institutions, business community and neighborhoods, said Patrick Ryan, chairman and CEO of Chicago 2016.

“The long-term legacies and lasting impact of the Games are perhaps the greatest benefits of being a host city. Our plan focuses heavily on many transformative legacies and includes robust economic development, programs for youth and sports, urban development and education,” he said. “This study reinforces the economic legacy, which we’ve seen play out in past host cities.”

The Olympics would also create jobs in Chicago, according to the study.

In the Bronzeville community where the proposed $1.1 billion Olympic Village will be built to house athletes, many residents and community organizations are opposed to the Olympics, in part because they fear businesses and residents would be displaced.

But the study points to the opposite. It does not predict any displacement and expects many residents living in neighborhoods affected by the Olympics to be trained for jobs that would follow after the Olympics.

Patrick Sandusky, a spokesman for the Chicago 2016, said in order to prepare local communities for the projected increase in economic activity, Chicago 2016 plans to work with city agencies and community organizations to provide training that will prepare workers and businesses for job opportunities.

Copyright 2008 Chicago Defender. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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