Sat, Nov 07, 2015 - Page 20 News List

Paris unveils athletes’ village plans as part of bid to host 2024 Olympics

AP, PARIS

The athletes’ village for the 2024 Olympics is to be located in the northern suburbs of Paris if the French capital wins the right to host the Games.

The Paris bid committee on Thursday said the village would be located in the Pleyel area, a 50-hectare site next to the Seine River in the popular district of Seine-Saint-Denis.

Officials said 84 percent of the athletes would be able to reach their competition venues in less than 25 minutes, because the Olympic stadium and aquatics center would be within 2km of the proposed village.

The bid committee said there is “space and capacity” to build the media village nearby.

Construction work on both of the villages is expected to reach 1.7 billion euros (US$1.85 billion).

“The Olympic Village must welcome the athletes and provide the best possible conditions as they are the most essential component of the Games and the ones who make the magic of the Games happen,” said Tony Estanguet, the three-time canoeing gold medalist who is cochairman of the bid committee. “The chosen location for the Paris Olympic Village delivers on all of these fronts.”

Paris is competing with Budapest, Rome, Los Angeles and Hamburg, Germany, to host the Games. The International Olympic Committee is to choose the host city in 2017.

The Pleyel area was chosen over two other proposed sites: Dugny-Le Bourget and Pantin.

The bid committee is also planning to build new public transportation infrastructure to make the Olympic Village more accessible, with the creation of a new train station and construction of a road interchange that should make it accessible from the center of Paris in about 20 minutes by car.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said that having the village located across three cities of Seine-Saint-Denis — Saint-Denis, Saint-Ouen and L’Ile-Saint-Denis — would help spruce up the district.

“The transformation of this area of Paris is already underway and the Games will accelerate the regeneration of this young, dynamic and creative district,” Hidalgo said. “It is very close from the center of the capital and yet, too many of its inhabitants have been left aside in the past.”

According to Hidalgo, a total of 5,000 new homes are to be built in the district, with new jobs also expected in an area where unemployment remains high.

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