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Suburbs to be represented in Copenhagen
By Jamie Sotonoff | Daily Herald Staff

Fran Bolson, president of the Woodfield Chicago Northwest Convention Bureau, is heading to Copenhagen Wednesday as part of the Chicago 2016 committee. Bolson is a Naperville resident.


Courtesy Woodfield Chicago Northwest Convention Bureau

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Published: 9/29/2009 12:04 AM | Updated: 9/29/2009 11:09 AM

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With more than $50 million at stake for Northwest suburban businesses, the president of the Woodfield Chicago Northwest Convention Bureau is going to Copenhagen to show support for the Chicago 2016 Olympic bid.

Fran Bolson, the bureau's president and a Naperville resident, will leave for Denmark Wednesday, Sept. 30 so she can be there for Friday's big announcement.

"Hotel availability is a strong part of this bid," Bolson said. "We really do need to be represented. To be there, and be in the atmosphere, with what we have at stake ... it's very valuable."

The convention bureau's accommodations offer was part of Chicago's official bid.

More than 40 Northwest suburban hotels have offered to block off 80 percent of their rooms - providing 4,100 rooms for 17 consecutive nights - during the Olympics. The rooms would be used to accommodate the athletes, their families and coaches, and the international media. A discounted price would be offered, Bolson said.

If Chicago is chosen, it will be the bureau's biggest deal to date - not even holding a candle to big local events like the Breeders' Cup or PGA events.

Bolson estimates the offer is worth more than $50 million, and that doesn't even include the business that would be brought in by visitors, spectators and sponsors. Places like the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center, local restaurants and sports facilities would all stand to gain, she said.

"We haven't even tapped into that yet," Bolson said.

Bolson's six-day trip is being paid for by the Schaumburg-based bureau. She will watch the bid presentations from a live feed, and then join the Chicago 2016 committee to witness the voting.

"I'm nervous thinking about it," Bolson said. "But we have every reason to believe we can win this."