Hoberman Arch, Salt Lake Olympic icon, might be moved to Park City | ParkRecord.com

Hoberman Arch, Salt Lake Olympic icon, might be moved to Park City

by Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD
The Hoberman Arch, an important element of the medals plaza during the 2002 Winter Olympics, resides outside Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City. Park City leaders this week will discuss whether they are interested in bringing it to the city. Courtesy of the Alf Engen Ski Museum Foundation

The Hoberman Arch, the iconic structure from the medals plaza during the 2002 Winter Olympics, could be moved to Park City from where it now sits outside Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City.

It would stand as perhaps the most notable legacy piece in Park City, a community that is already sprinkled with them. There are nods to the Games from the S.R. 224 entryway to Main Street.

The structure served a high-profile role during the Olympics as the spot of the nightly medal ceremonies and companion concerts. It was one of Salt Lake City’s prime Olympic locales.

The structure was moved to the southern end of Rice-Eccles Stadium afterward and now sits in what is known as the Olympic Cauldron Park, alongside the cauldron from the Games. City Hall, Rice-Eccles Stadium and the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation are involved in the discussions about the Hoberman Arch, which is now owned by the University of Utah.

The University of Utah’s entry into the Pac-12 Conference, though, will eventually necessitate an expansion of the stadium to the south. Colin Hilton, the CEO of the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation and one of the figures considering the Hoberman Arch’s future, said on Monday the university wants to make a decision by the end of summer. Hilton described his role as assisting the university as it seeks parties interested in the Hoberman Arch, named for its designer, Chuck Hoberman.

Hilton was one of the key Olympic organizers assigned to the Park City area. He said an agreement between the university and the United States Olympic Committee called for the arch to remain outside the stadium through 2009.

At least two other locations, both in the Salt Lake Valley, are under consideration, he said. Hilton declined to provide details. A University of Utah official did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

The Park City area hosted upward of half of the athletic competitions during the Games. Park City Mountain Resort, Deer Valley Resort and the Utah Olympic Park were critical venues for the Olympic organizers. Main Street, meanwhile, was one of the Olympic region’s popular celebration zones.

Mayor Dana Williams and the Park City Council are scheduled to discuss the Hoberman Arch at a meeting on Thursday. Ten minutes, starting at 4:50 p.m., are set aside at the meeting. It is likely the elected officials will either give the go-ahead for City Hall staffers to pursue the arch or nix the idea of relocating it to Park City.

Jonathan Weidenhamer, who directs City Hall’s economic development programs, drafted a report to the elected officials asking that they request staffers research possibilities in Park City. The Hoberman Arch is 36 feet tall and 72 feet wide, according to the report.

It could cost $200,000 to move the structure to Park City, the report estimates. The report did not include a detailed review of the cost, though.

"If there’s an opportunity to bring a strong Olympic legacy item, are we interested," Weidenhamer said in an interview.

He said two locations are being scouted as a potential spot for the Hoberman Arch — the Brew Pub lot on upper Main Street and the parcel of land along S.R. 224 where a ribbon-like sculpture commemorating Park City’s role in the Olympics sits. The sculpture would then be moved somewhere else. Other locations for the Hoberman Arch will be discussed if Park City pursues the structure, Weidenhamer said.

The Brew Pub lot is especially notable given there are ideas to turn the space into a plaza. Weidenhamer said concepts for a plaza at the location have included some sort of Olympic legacy. The location would also offer much more foot traffic than the S.R. 224 parcel.

Park City leaders and tourism officials have for a decade-plus seen hosting the Olympics as giving the community a competitive advantage over other mountain resorts. Besides the sculpture on S.R. 224, there are reminders of the Games like the Olympic Welcome Plaza and a smaller display on Main Street.

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