It was disappointment for some, relief for others following Friday’s vote that took Illinois’ largest city out of the running to host the Olympics.

Chicago, considered by many to be one of the top two contenders for the 2016 Olympic games, was the first city to fall out of the voting process on Friday. Rio de Janeiro eventually received the nod to host the games, stepping ahead of second-place finisher Madrid.

Locally, Danville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Jeanie Cooke said the issue carried several pros and cons. But from strictly a tourism point of view, she said hosting the 2016 Olympics offered a “shot in the arm” for tourism.

Tourism has suffered state-wide as a result of the recession. Cooke said that because local funds are tied to the state hotel-motel tax, hosting a series of events like the Olympics would have made up for a lot of lost investment dollars in the last two years.

She considered that the University of Illinois could have been looked at to provide venues for the games.

“We expected travelers to start very early, because they want to acclimate themselves to the people and the culture here,” Cooke said. “It would have been four years worth of tourism dollars.”

At the state government level, views on hosting the games were mixed. State Sen. Michael Frerichs, D-Champaign, said he thought Chicago was a lock to win. He also pointed to the possibility of downstate venues being included in the games, offering an exciting time.

“There’s no question it would have taken a lot of work to get ready,” he said. “But it would have been a nice stimulus to the state economy.”

On the other side, State Rep. Bill Black, R-Danville, congratulated proponents in putting together a great presentation for Chicago. But the opportunity will allow officials to focus concentration on more important immediate issues for the state, namely the state’s financial debt that continues.

“It was a huge undertaking and it would have been a good thing for Chicago and the state of Illinois,” he said. “But there are so many things that are on our plate that need our attention now.”

The Chicago Transit Authority is $10 million in need and out of balance,” Black said. “The Chicago city budget is in disarray. The state budget is in disarray to say the least.

“We’d better start paying attention to the state of Illinois and the cities therein.”

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