Santa Monica to host beach volleyball, surfing, skateboarding and 3×3 basketball, Long Beach To host handball, water polo and BMX racing!
Opinion by Nick Antonicello
Will Venice Beach, one of the state’s top tourist destinations be overlooked when it comes to the 2028 Summer Olympics beginning on July 21st and commencing on August 6th in six years?
For the first time since 1996, the Summer Olympics will be coming back to the United States and this will mark the ninth overall Olympiad for America and Los Angeles will play host for the third time.
The last Olympiad held in the United States was the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, just months after the September 11th attacks in New York City and Washington, DC.
This $7 billion dollar, 17-day sports extravaganza is now under contract with the Los Angeles City Council by an 11-2 vote with Councilman Mike Bonin opposing the deal.
With insurance and liability a large part of the overall agreement, LA will be contracting insurance provisions regarding communicable diseases, natural disasters, terrorism, civil unrest, cyber-attack, event cancellations and reduced ticket sales.
LA28 (www.la28.org) is the organization responsible for creating and formulating this international athletic spectacle that will have the eyes of the world focused on Los Angeles come the summer of 2028.
LAPD is already requesting some $300,000 in next year’s budget to manage the issues of these Olympic games and in this new contract, the City of Los Angeles will be responsible for the first $270 million in cost overruns with the state of California responsible for the next $270 million and LA on the hook for all cost overruns thereafter.
What is making the formulation of these games interesting is that much of the infrastructure seems to be in place and issues such as transportation, job creation and managing the homeless will be priorities that will be addressed as the venues and locations for these summer games are spread around LA County making sprawl an additional challenge.
Traditionally, many cities bid to host an Olympiad because of the residual infrastructure investment that remains long after the Olympics have come and gone.
It is this capital investment that is truly a benefit to any city to say nothing of the untold millions of dollars in earned media received and positive press that increases travel and tourism for the host community long after hosting these games.
Some of the locations already announced for usage and designation include:
- Santa Monica Beach
- Riviera Golf Course
- The Honda Center
- Rose Bowl
- UCLA as the Olympic Village for the Athletes
- Universal Studios
- Valley Sports Park
- Dodger Stadium
- SoFi Stadium
- The LA Memorial Coliseum
- Long Beach Arena
Both SoFi and the LA Memorial Coliseum will be used for opening and closing venues according to LA28’s web address, but as of this writing, Venice seemingly has no apparent role or presence in these Summer Olympics.
Venice’s oceanfront walk and boardwalk have long been a tourist destination for both national and international tourism and the effects of rampant homelessness and unhoused encampments have taken their toll as many retailers and businesses have shut their doors and structurally the boardwalk is in dire need of a facelift and renovation in wake of this homeless epidemic as well as the ongoing effects of the pandemic and COVID-19.
It will be interesting to see if local community leaders will weigh in on what will be Venice’s role if any at all, in wake of Councilman Bonin’s opposition to the current agreement.
The money that will be flowing to LA at some point should be partially earmarked for Venice to improve and upgrade Oceanfront Walk and many of the facilities that are in need of improvement.
The last time the boardwalk saw any major improvement or modifications was the 2000 Democratic National Convention that nominated Al Gore and the surfacing you see today is now over twenty years old.
The City of LA has spent over two-years renovating the Muscle Beach weight-lifting pit which is still closed and many other facilities like the bathrooms, basketball and paddleball courts could use additional improvements as we inch out of this crippling pandemic.
It would be wise for the Venice Neighborhood Council to communicate with the City of Los Angeles sooner than later as well as LA28 to find out what these summer games have in store for Venice and this neighborhood moving forward.
There are few times and opportunities such as this when a wave of capital infusion comes to a region in the billions, and Venice could certainly use that investment given its popularity with tourists worldwide, and especially when an Olympiad will be taking place.
Our locale from the event’s key venues, proximity to LAX and the UCLA campus as well as SoFi and the Coliseum make Venice ideal for the volume of tourism that is sure to flow our way.
There needs to be a place for Venice in these Olympics and hopefully, our community and neighborhood leaders will make this a priority moving forward.
The author is a member of the Oceanfront Walk and Outreach Committees of the Venice Neighborhood Council (www.venicenc.org) and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (310) 621-3775.