P.C. official takes sports job
Colin Hilton, who helmed City Hall’s construction projects for four years, will leave the government to become the chief of the Utah Athletic Foundation, returning the former Olympic organizer to the ice and snow of winter sports.
He has been named the president and CEO of the foundation, the organization that runs the Utah Olympic Park at Bear Hollow and the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns, two of the busiest facilities during the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Hilton said he begins his duties at the foundation on June 5 but will spend about a third of his time working on his City Hall projects through the end of June.
"We’ve carved out this niche of being a winter-sports mecca," Hilton said on Tuesday.
Hilton, who is 38 years old and lives in Silver Summit, said his background in organizing big sporting events is suited for the foundation job. He directed the Salt Lake Organizing Committee’s Summit County operations during the Olympics, including the competition venues at the Olympic Park, Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Resort. About half of the competitions during the Games were held in the area.
Previously, he worked for the organizers of the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta and the 1994 World Cup soccer tournament.
Hilton, who currently earns toward the high end of his City Hall salary range of $66,300 to $87,394, will replace John Bennion at the foundation. Hilton said he will receive a "healthy" pay increase at the foundation.
Hilton said it is critical for the future of the Olympic Park and the Olympic Oval, which is designed for speedskaters, to partner with organizations like the United States Olympic Committee, the national governing bodies of winter sports and local sports clubs.
The foundation wants to build a hotel at the Olympic Park, which the supporters say is needed to keep the park in the black. Neighbors are unhappy, though. Hilton said he has not been briefed on the details of the hotel proposal and on Monday did not say whether he supports the idea.
Hilton, however, said the foundation must remain financially stable.
"A key part of the long-term viability of these legacy (facilities) is looking at ways to increase revenues," he said.
Hilton arrived at City Hall soon after he was finished with his organizing committee duties and, since then, has been pivotal in the government’s aggressive construction program.
He oversaw the building of the new Swede Alley garage and the recreation complex at Quinn’s Junction. Both projects have been deemed successful. Hilton has also been the key person involved in the early planning stages of a town plaza in Old Town and a new police headquarters.
Mayor Dana Williams called Hilton "absolutely invaluable" and said City Hall has blueprints of how to proceed.
"He’s left us with a roadmap of the things we want done and how to do it," Williams said.
The mayor does not expect that Hilton’s departure will delay the work.
"The projects are bigger than any one person," Williams said.
Park City Manager Tom Bakaly called Hilton a "high performer" and said he assisted as City Hall shifted its focus from planning for the Olympics to boosting the economy and construction projects.
Bakaly said he would consider options before naming a replacement for Hilton. The city manager said he wants to evaluate the organization of City Hall before making a decision.
Bakaly said he plans to assign current City Hall staffers to projects like planning the police headquarters on a short-term basis and said Dave Gustafson, who has been assisting Hilton, will continue handling the garage and the recreation complex.
"Colin was an example of an Olympic legacy we didn’t count on, quality talent," Bakaly said.
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