|Updated: 2/21/2013 6:24 pm
||Published: 2/21/2013 11:28 am
Could Tulsa host the Olympic Games?
The U.S. Olympic Committee confirmed to FOX23 they sent a letter to Mayor Dewey Bartlett to evaluate the interest of Tulsa as a host city.
The city is in the early stages of being considered to make a bid for the 2024 summer games. The last time the games were held in the United States was in 2002 when the winter games were held in Salt Lake City.
The London games cost nearly 15 billion dollars to host. The committee says letters have also been sent to mayors in 34 other cities, including St. Louis, Denver, Dallas and Houston.
While it will still be years before Tulsa finds out if it has a chance of being awarded the games, many Tulsans are already questioning whether the city is really ready to compete.
"It would put us on the map," one Tulsan told FOX23.
"That would be totally awesome," another said. "That would be totally, totally awesome."
The idea may be awesome, but is it reasonable? Plenty of Tulsa residents seem to think so.
"Might have to clean the river up a little bit for that to happen," one man told FOX23. "Probably gotta clean up a little bit, and then it could happen."
Others weren't so optimistic.
"I don't think that Tulsa can really manage something that big," Tulsa resident Peter Gotcher said.
"I think the reality is our ability to get something like that is pretty slim," Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett said. "However, maybe. You know, who knows."
But Tulsa City Councilor GT Bynum said we, as a community, shouldn't get too far ahead of ourselves.
"We're just hoping to be considered," Bynum said. "But I love the fact that people are shooting for the stars here, and that they're pursuing a big goal."
Calling it a big goal might be an understatement.
According to the U.S. Olympic Committee, to be considered a city has to have at least 45,000 hotel rooms, a workforce of 200,000 to staff the games, and be able to build an Olympic Village that can house 16,500 Olympians and Olympic officials.
The expected operating costs for the games would exceed $3 billion, and that's not including infrastructure upgrades and venue building expenses.
To put that in perspective, the BOK Center cost close to $200 million to build. The Olympic Games would require multiple larger venues.
"There's a lot of other ways they could use that money," Gotcher said. "But, at the same time, I mean, we do need to bring in that business. We do need to bring in people back to downtown Tulsa."
"It's simply, I think, too far out at this point to know who would need to fund what," Bynum said.
But with several years to figure it all out, Bynum said Tulsa shouldn't be counted out just yet.
"Tulsa is just as capable of competing for this type of bid as any number of other cities that will also be competing for it," he said.
It's worth noting that other cities like New York and Chicago that have submitted Olympic bids in the past have spent upwards of $10 million for their bids just to be considered for the actual games.