ELMHURST – A construction project currently underway and purported as the removal of safety hazards from the Ben Allison Park sledding hill will in fact become a 265-foot tall ski jump ramp that is reportedly the first step in Elmhurst’s secretive bid to become the host city for the 2026 Winter Olympic Games, according to sources from within City Hall.
Kept under wraps from the public until the city can annex several homes on South Rex Boulevard that will eventually serve as the landing area for jumps beginning at Ben Allison park and passing over the Prairie Path, the ski jump ramp is one of several venues and stadiums in the works to meet International Olympic Committee requirements for applying as a host city. The project is reportedly the brainchild of Elmhurst Mayor Steve Morley.
“Bringing the Olympics to Elmhurst is something that the mayor has dreamed of for a long time,” said an Elmhurst alderman, who asked to remain anonymous. “The ski jump ramp is only the beginning.” With less than 12 months before the application deadline for host cities, multiple Elmhurst agencies are working together and with the Park District to finalize other event locations within town and prove to the IOC that the city is a viable candidate to host the Winter Games ten years from now.
“There are still a lot of questions to be answered,” continued the alderman. “Is Salt Creek an option for curling? Would rifle shooting from a biathlon held in Wilder Park pose a danger to nearby residents? Can we use the Elmhurst Express Trolley to move spectators from one venue to another?”
While he is aware that competing against other potential host cities like Innsbruck, Austria and Stockholm, Sweden is an uphill battle, mayor Morley is reportedly confident that minor adjustments to existing venues in town will give Elmhurst a real shot to host the Winter Games.
“If we can do some creative things like build bleachers around the YMCA ice rink and displace the residents of the Elmhurst Terrace apartments to make room for tourists, then I don’t see why the IOC wouldn’t consider us,” the mayor reportedly told city council members.