DENVER -- The exploratory committee tasked with studying Denver's potential to host the Winter Olympics will take more time before issuing a recommendation. The group met for three hours on Thursday, inviting the media in for the last 10 minutes of the marathon session.
The committee was working with a March 31 deadline, but a recommendation will now be submitted by late April or early May. Despite the committee deadline being extended, the deadline for a public online survey is still March 3.
The Chair of Denver's Olympic and Paralympic Exploratory Committee said a decision has not been reached yet, adding they continue to ask if Colorado can host the Olympics.
"Can we do this in an economically feasible way that it’s beneficial both to our community and to the Olympic movement if you were to do it moving forward, and can we create a legacy that makes sense," said Robert Cohen, the Exploratory Committee Chairman.
Cohen also revealed the public survey has been modified after criticism over leading questions. Over 6,000 people have taken the survey to date and 2,000 submitted their answers before the survey was changed.
One key question is missing from the survey.
Respondents are not directly asked whether or not they want the games. In 1976, Colorado voters rejected the Winter Games but Cohen said a lot has changed since then.
The cost, impact on infrastructure, and long-term effects continue to be top concerns. Mayor Michael Hancock has asked the committee to identify ways to privately finance the games.
"What we’re talking about is no taxpayer contribution to the operating budgets of hosting and putting on the games," said Cohen.
When asked about the strain on public resources, Cohen said there's no way this is 100 percent done without taxpayer money, explaining that even a Broncos game uses police, firefighters and roads.
Speaking of roads, the I-70 corridor remains a vital component of a potential bid. Cohen said he believes that I-70 can be used in it's current state without an expansion but said the Olympics could also be used as a catalyst for improvement.
"I’m still waiting for the committee report but I would say that the early indications are that I-70 can be utilized for a 17-day event that incorporates two, two and-a-half weekends and the weekdays to move the number of people up and down that we need to do to host the games," said Cohen.
There's still time for the public to weigh in by taking the online survey. The next and final online community meeting is Saturday, February 24 at 9 a.m. You can pre-register online or join in live. Additional information about Denver's Exploratory Committee is available online at explorethegames.com.