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Santa Monica Inches Closer to Net in Bid to Host 2024 Olympics Volleyball HOME ad for NO on LV Initiative link

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Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica

By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

September 8, 2016 -- The City of Santa Monica is raising its game as it tries to host beach volleyball in the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Los Angeles is one of four cities competing to host the Summer Games eight years from now. As part of the bid, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti is seeking a letter from Santa Monica City officials guaranteeing Santa Monica State Beach will be the venue for beach volleyball.

Santa Monica, which is in charge of the beach, is doing as Garcetti asks, according to an item on the City Council’s agenda next Tuesday.

“The guarantee letter provides conceptual approval on the part of the venue owner and agreement to minimum terms,” said the report to the council by Karen Ginsberg, director of Community and Cultural Services for Santa Monica.

The City’s rental fee alone would be about $3.7 million for exclusive use of Santa Monica State Beach, she said. The City would also be reimbursed for loss of parking revenue and a deal would be negotiated to cover costs of City services needed, Ginsberg said.

The Summer Games are to begin July 19, 2024 and run through August 4, 2024. L.A. won't know if it's wins the bid until September, 2017. Its competitors are Paris, Rome and Budapest.

Boston was the first choice for the U.S. Olympic Committee, but the city withdrew in July, 2015 because of public concern over potential cost overruns.

Now that L.A. is in the mix, plans include clusters countywide for different events.

In Santa Monica, the Olympic footprint stretches from the Pier to a pedestrian bridge in the vicinity of the 1400 block of Ocean Front Walk.

Ginsberg's report outlines preliminary plans by LA 2024, organizers of the Olympic bid. The beach venue would be north of the Pier, between Lifeguard Station 14 and Lifeguard Station 15. A temporary 12,000-seat arena would be built on the sand and include a center competition court.

Additional warm up and practice courts would be located on the sand, she said in the report, as well as tents for the athletes. The entire venue would be used during the month of July and throughout the Games.

The two-week run of the Games features two volleyball sessions per day, including night games.

A winning bid for L.A. would mark the first return to the United States of the Olympic Summer Games since 1996, when they were held in Atlanta, Georgia.

L.A.'s bid includes also hosting the Summer Paralympic Games, which is a multi-sport competition for athletes with physical disabilities organized by the International Paralympic Committee.

Beach volleyball is the only Olympic activity proposed for Santa Monica. The Paralympic Games start two weeks after the 2024 Olympics. Beach volleyball is not included. Neither is Santa Monica.

If L.A. scores the Olympic win, a detailed plan will be developed and a full planning process -- much like the one used to stage the popular L.A. Marathon -- will start so all “challenges” can be examined, Ginsberg said.

And big issues would arise, many involving loss of parking.

Ginsberg noted no on-site parking would be available to Olympic ticket holders; all attendees are expected to arrive by public or alternative transportation, she said, although arrival times would likely be staggered.

Ticket holders would enter at the beach level after walking down the Pier, she said. LA 2024 would build an additional set of stairs from the Pier south of the existing stairs and an accessible ramp from the Pier to the venue entrance on the beach.

She said the entire site would be surrounded by a 10-foot security fence, including in front of three homes.

A temporary bike path would be constructed on the sand to go around the site and under the Pier to meet the existing bike path south of the Pier. Some parking would be reserved for nearby residents and deliveries to Pier businesses, she said.

"Although traffic and circulation patterns may be different in 2024," Ginsberg wrote, "a major initiative would be planning for alternative parking and transportation options along with the communication plan for informing residents and visitors of how best to access the Pier and beach area prior to and during the Games."

Options include shuttles from the south beach lots and use of satellite parking lots close to Expo stations at the east end of the city, she said. Special "communication strategies" will be needed, she added.

All of the issues "would be considered during negotiation of the Venue Use Agreement," Ginsberg said.

The preliminary construction plan phases required closures that would impact residents. The list starts with April and May of 2024, when 400 public parking spaces would be taken over. In June, 800 public parking spaces would be lost to Olympic work, she said.

By August 4, all 1,175 spaces (except "controlled areas") would be out of commission and the entire beach fenced off, she said.

On August 18, the tear down would begin, Ginsberg said.

The LA 2024 Exploratory Committee officially launched its two year effort to secure the Olympic bid at a ceremony at the Annenberg Community Beach House last September.

As part of the “Candidature Questionnaire” L.A. 2024 is required to submit to the IOC, each venue has been asked, like Santa Monica, to submit an accompanying letter of commitments required by the IOC.

The IOC letter, which is also on the council’s September 13 agenda, includes guarantees that the City won’t stage major events conflicting with the Summer Games, will provide the “normal base level of public services” and will require all construction to comply with local planning, environmental, health and safety, labor and anti-corruption laws.

The City also guarantees it will make the detailed operations for dealing with transportation and traffic available and will work cooperatively with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which heads security during the Summer Games.

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