Will Glasgow 2014 provide a lasting legacy?

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Posted by APM on 24th Jul 2014

Glasgow Commonwealth GamesThe 20th Commonwealth Games is officially underway but when the sporting party is over will Glasgow benefit from a lasting legacy?

For 11 days the Scottish city will be celebrating sporting achievement as 4,500 athletes from 71 countries compete infront of sell out crowds and a huge global audience.

This week, Scotland’s first minister Alex Salmond celebrated the fact the Games have come in under the original budget of £575m.

Certainly as a project, the Games have appeared on the face of it to have run smoothly.

They haven’t hit the headlines in the negative way many other global sporting events have in recent times, most notably the World Cup in Brazil which was hampered in its run up by controversy over cost and poor project management.

Mr Salmond says of the underspend: “It is not unique for a major sporting event, but its highly unusual and a great relief. As I understand it, not every major international Games in recent history have managed that.

“That was the first hurdle to pass, the next is to make sure these Games are run in the best possible way.”

Glasgow 2014 organisers have also put an increased focus on ensuring a lasting legacy from their games investment.

They point to state-of-the-art sporting facilities, local economic investment providing jobs and training, new affordable housing and business premises, a ‘Legacy Hub’ complete with community centre, GP surgery, pharmacy and a convenience store, £1bn investment into transport infrastructure and the creation of a riverside park reclaimed from waste ground as some of the immediate benefits.

One of those new sporting venues, Glasgow’s Hydro arena, was completed in 2013 and will host events such as gymnastics and netball, but has already been used as a major concert venue for international stars including Rod Stewart and Beyonce.

Mr Salmond adds: “It’s probably the greatest single example of a powerful games investment already playing its way before the Games has event started.

“A tremendous amount of work has gone into delivery of this sporting event over the last seven years and I’m delighted it is on time and within budget. That is an almost unprecedented position for a major event of this type and is testament to the immense planning, knowledge, expertise and sheer determination that everyone involved in the Games has shown.

“These games have been seven years in the planning. They will take place over 11 days, but the benefits and the impact will be felt for generations to come.”

Glasgow city council has unveiled its pre ‘Games Legacy Story’ highlighting the fact that it has put 4,500 young or unemployed people into a job or apprenticeship, doubled the number of qualified sport coaches in the city and secured £200m on contracts for Glasgow companies.

Critics will argue that communities have had to make way for the Games development and will be quick to react after the dust settles on the closing ceremony if the legacy dream turns sour.

But for now, as it was for the 2002 Commonweath Games in Manchester and the London Olympics in 2012, only time will ultimately tell if Glasgow 2014 will be determined a success and fulfil its dream of creating a lasting legacy.

Image: Stevie Spiers Photography under Creative Commons licence

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