I don't want to alarm anybody, but the International Olympic Committee has already narrowed the host for the 2016 summer games to a short list of four (Chicago, Tokyo, Rio and Madrid), and the list of bidders for the 2020 games is already growing -- India, Peru, Birmingham, Ala., and St. Petersburg, Fla., are definitely in already.
If Fort Wayne wants to make a bid on the 2028 games, city officials better get cracking. The Netherlands and Kenya are already thinking about it, so the competition will be stiff. Neither one of those is a Birmingham, of course, but we can't expect the major players like Toledo and Kalamazoo to all stay on the sidelines.
I know 20 years seems like a long way off, but just consider that the Harrison Square baseball stadium will have already outlived its usefulness by then. Why wait until the last minute and just replace it with another stadium in southwest Allen County when we can start expanding it for Olympic use now? And there are a lot of issues -- traffic and parking, to name just two -- that we need to start thinking about. Several of the streets downtown are sure to need an extra lane. And just think of the thousands of hotel and motel rooms that will be needed. Now is not to soon to start looking at some good sites on Bluffton Road.
We have done several things that, as the urban planners keep saying, have put us "on the road" to being a world-class city, chief among them putting "International" in the airport's name and banishing public smoking to New Haven. But to finally achieve that status, we must be proactive and think outside the box. Just think of how they'll envy us in Indianapolis!