Of all the venues listed in Boston 2024’s original Olympic bidding plans, beach volleyball on Boston Common may have been the most roundly criticized. The outcry about turning Boston’s most iconic park into a sand-covered temporary stadium had organizers backpedalling as early as February.
Now Boston 2024 has found its alternative. It wants to put beach volleyball at Squantum Point Park in Quincy. Boston 2024 announced the plan Wednesday at the site, located along Boston Harbor. The area would receive expanded parking, access to a ferry terminal, and more in anticipation of the games, according to a news release.
Boston 2024 has said its new venue decisions are based on public and athlete feedback. While the feedback to the Common idea was potent in Boston, the announcement of the new beach volleyball venue comes days after Quincy City Councilor Brian Palmucci told The Patriot Ledger that the council had not heard whether the city would be involved in the Olympic plans.
Palmucci told Boston.com Wednesday he was surprised the venue was announced before Boston 2024 had held a public meeting in Quincy. The group has been holding meetings in cities and towns across the state.
“It may be a great opportunity for the city, but it should have started with public input,’’ he said. “I’m surprised there wasn’t a transparent process leading up to today.’’
Palmucci’s criticism calls to mind complaints from last year that Boston 2024 proposed its original venues without community input.
On Wednesday, the group said the Quincy community process will come this summer, as it is planning a July public meeting in the city to hear from residents. Quincy Mayor Tom Koch joined Boston 2024 CEO Rich Davey at Wednesday’s venue announcement. Koch had a different perspective from Palmucci.
“I am pleased that one of the very first things Boston 2024 has done as part of its Quincy venue proposal is to schedule a community meeting to share its vision, answer questions, and address any concerns our residents will have,’’ Koch said in a statement.
The change marks the fourth new venue location for Boston 2024 this month, as it continues to introduce an updated version of its plans to the public. The group is unveiling new plans throughout the month, and has said it would release its full plans by the end of June.
Previous changes have included moving sailing to New Bedford from Boston Harbor, tennis from Harvard to Harambee Park in Dorchester, and shooting events from Long Island to Billerica. (The Long Island plan, like the plan for the Common, was criticized upon release, as the site has historically been the home of drug rehab and homelessness programs, as well as a summer camp.)
Boston’s Olympic bid: The players