Updated 02/20/2013 11:01 PM
U.S. Olympic Committee Sends Out Feelers to Rochester
The United States Olympic Committee is taking offers for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The committee recently sent out a letter to cities across the nation trying to find out who is a serious contender for the Summer Games.
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Al Schneider has always had an Olympic Dream.
"The atmosphere of an Olympic games... you can't compare it to anything else," said Schneider, New York Sports Congress, CEO.
But it's not to go but for the Olympics to come to him.
"It's a very slim margin but unless you put the cards in the game, you don't know," he said.
Schneider has worked for decades on his idea to bring the Summer Olympics to the Rochester, Buffalo, and Syracuse area.
After the Summer Games in London, he sent a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo's office. Six months later, he met an economic developer and a Lake Placid Olympic official in Albany.
Just two weeks after that, Rochester ends up on a list of cities who have expressed interest in bidding for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
"I think the attention to Rochester for this event. I think yeah, yeah, it probably has to do with a little bit of my efforts," said Schneider.
But some aren't cheering on the idea just yet.
"It could turn very rapidly from a great economic boom to a burden," said Tom Richards, (D) Rochester Mayor.
Richards received the letter from the United States Olympic Committee, along with 35 other cities, gauging their interest in the games.
"We're pleased to be one of the cities of the size and circumstance that gets considered but, no I was not out beating the bushes for the Olympics," said Richards.
That's because Richards says the long, arduous process of bringing the Olympics to a city can cost as much as $3 billion. That's not including venue construction and other infrastructure.
Cities are required, amongst other things, to have 45,000 hotel rooms, an Olympic Village that sleeps 16,500 people, an international airport accommodating thousands of travelers per day.
"I'm afraid that we'll have to settle for sponsoring the Special Olympics this weekend, which is fine with us," said Richards.
But it's not enough for Schneider who says this gives him enough momentum to keep pressing forward.
"If they've done it in other places, why can't it happen here," said Schneider.