Park City awaits a Friday decision on fate of Olympic bid
December 11, 2018
Park City, Salt Lake City and the wider Wasatch Mountain region by late on Friday could be selected to carry the United States torch toward another Winter Olympics.
The United States Olympic Committee during meetings this week in San Francisco may select a bid city for a future games, likely those that will be held in 2030. Salt Lake City and Denver are the candidate cities.
The Park City area has a crucial role in the Salt Lake City plans for the games. Park City Mountain Resort, Deer Valley Resort and the Utah Olympic Park are identified as major competition venues, as they were during the Winter Olympics in 2002. The Park City area would also be expected to again be one of the popular gathering places for the Olympic revelry, and any games organizers would see the Park City area as critical to the logistical plans for transportation and security that drive much of the overall preparations.
"The importance of this meeting is we know that this is on the agenda to be discussed. There is a strong chance that we will hear some news as of this Friday," said Colin Hilton, who is the president and CEO of the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation and a member of the Utah Olympic Exploratory Committee that drafted a report in support of a bid.
Hilton was a high-ranking staffer in the organizing committee that staged the Olympics in 2002 and is an important figure in the talks about a future games. The Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation that he leads maintains the Utah Olympic Park, the Utah Olympic Oval and the Soldier Hollow Nordic Center, three of the venues during the 2002 games. Each of the venues is included in the plans for a future games.
"For me, I don't have a lot of anxiety around it, because I know what we've been doing is really good," Hilton said on Monday about awaiting the decision by the USOC, describing the region as a "living legacy" to the positive impact of an Olympics.
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The Utah Olympic Exploratory Committee report outlines the involvement of Park City Mountain Resort, Deer Valley Resort and the Utah Olympic Park in a future games. PCMR is envisioned as the location of snowboarding and freestyle skiing events while Deer Valley is considered as a location for freestyle skiing and ski racing competitions. The lineup could change should the Olympics be awarded to the region, but the report provided a likely scenario for the two resorts. The Utah Olympic Park, meanwhile, would retain its role of hosting the sliding sports, ski jumping and a portion of the Nordic combined competition.
City Hall is also awaiting the decision by the USOC. Mayor Andy Beerman is a member of the Utah Olympic Exploratory Committee and has to date led the municipal government's involvement in the discussions. Park City officials would be expected to mobilize in the months after a Salt Lake City selection as the United States bid city.
Beerman and others at City Hall see another Olympic effort as something that could advance Park City priorities like transportation, housing, sustainability and social equity. Beerman said on Tuesday an environmentally friendly games could be staged in the state, which would align with City Hall's own goals.
"It would be exciting to have an opportunity to bid on another Olympics," the mayor said. "I hope we do get the opportunity."
A timeline for any City Hall Olympic efforts is not clear, but officials have appeared to be willing to put significant resources into the work. It is also unknown what sort of internal planning will be conducted by the municipal government should a bid be launched. The planning for the games in 2002 is well documented, and it seems officials of today would rely to some degree on the earlier blueprints. One early City Hall decision that could be made is the creation of a municipal position dedicated to Olympic planning, a move that was praised in the 2002 games era.
The County Courthouse would also be expected to make Olympic-related moves in the event that Salt Lake City is selected as the bid city. It seems likely Summit County leaders would also see a games effort as an opportunity to pursue their broader priorities. Other public bodies like the Park City School District would also need to consider blueprints for another games. State legislators whose districts include Park City or parts of Summit County would have a role as well, as would the congressional delegation.