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NATO Host Committee Puts Dollar Figure On Summit's Economic Impact

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Chicago's NATO host committee is predicting the upcoming summit will be a big money maker for city businesses and taxpayers alike.

CEO Lori Healey today released a study that estimates total spending of $128 million and 2,200 temporary jobs.

CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports.

Organizers still say no Chicago taxpayer dollars will be spent. But it's the first time the host committee has attached a dollar figure to its prediction that the local our economy will get a big boost.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio's Lisa Fielding reports


Healey chose a City Club luncheon Monday to release the results of a consultant's study on the economic impact of the summit, which indicated total visitor spending of $128 million, local tax revenues of $3 million and more than 2,000 temporary jobs.

"This is a tremendous return on an investment that does not cost the taxpayers anything," Healey said.

Still, there has been anxiety about the inconvenience of expected traffic jams and the potential for violent demonstrations that have plagued previous summits.

But a former Chicago police superintendent now consulting for local businesses, Terry Hillard, feels the fears are misguided.

As for the fears that Chicagoans would be somehow left holding the bag for cost overruns and unreimbursed expenses, Mayor Emanuel repeated a previous pledge.

"Taxpayers will not pay anything for the summit, and that's why we raised private money and I secured federal money," Emanuel told Levine.

Healey says the host organization has raised $36.5 million and "identified" more than $19 million in federal funding to cover the summit costs.

As for the economic impact over time, Healey says just moving up one notch from number 10 to 9 in the ranking of annual international visitors could add another $1 billion a year to Chicago's economy.

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