Park City official named to Olympic committee | ParkRecord.com

Park City official named to Olympic committee

Andy Beerman’s appointment gives City Hall an early role

Park City Councilor Andy Beerman, left, and Colin Hilton, who is the president and CEO of the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation, listen during an event in Salt Lake City on Thursday covering details of an Olympic exploratory committee. Beerman and Hilton were named to the committee.

Andy Beerman, a Park City Councilor who has represented the Marsac Building in early talks about holding a second Winter Olympics in Utah, on Thursday was named to an exploratory committee seated to consider a bid for the event as early as 2026.

Beerman's appointment gives the Park City government a role in a potential bid process at the outset, something that will likely be important as the talks progress in coming months. City Hall is expected to be highly involved in the upcoming discussions as the elected officials as well as municipal staffers address the wide-ranging impacts of a bid and the potential of Salt Lake City winning the right to hold the Games.

The exploratory committee was named during an event at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, the location of the opening and closing ceremonies during the Winter Olympics in 2002. The committee is expected to decide by Feb. 1 whether Salt Lake City and the wider Olympic region should mount a bid.

"It's very important. I think we're going to be pivotal to any Games or any bid," Beerman said about his appointment. "I think it makes sure Park City is represented. If we host another Olympics, we want to be part of how it's shaped."

Beerman said he anticipates he will be tapped to lead a subgroup of the exploratory committee dedicated to the climate and sustainability, topics that he has long pressed as an elected official and a businessman.

He said he anticipates City Hall holding a community forum as early as November regarding an Olympic bid. Beerman also said Mayor Jack Thomas and the City Council could address the topic at a meeting scheduled on Tuesday.

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"Park City's been ready to host the Olympics since the day they left," Beerman said.

He said there could perhaps be opportunities in the Olympic discussions to advance City Hall's own priorities. If athlete housing were to be situated in Park City during a second Olympics, the places could possibly be made into affordable units afterward, he said as an example. Beerman also said an Olympics could further City Hall's transportation and environmental efforts, such as possibly creating a public transit route between Park City and Salt Lake City International Airport.

Beerman's appointment so early in the discussions could prove critical in the relationship between City Hall and any formal bid committee if one is seated. In the years before the Winter Olympics of 2002, there was concern in Park City that the municipal government did not have sufficient representation once the Games were awarded even though upward of half of the events were to be staged in the Park City area.

There were figures from Park City on the organizing committee that planned the Olympics, but City Hall itself did not have a representative early on. The lack of representation was a sticking point with Park City leaders and was an underlying cause of some of the uneasiness between the community and the organizing committee. The tension became public during an extraordinary meeting in late 1998 between the Park City Council and the leadership of the organizing committee that saw the two sides bicker openly about the progress of the Olympic preparations.

The appointment also was made just weeks before Election Day. Beerman, a second-term member of the City Council, is seeking the mayor's office. The Olympics have not been a campaign issue, but Beerman's seat on the exploratory committee could draw voter interest as they receive ballots in the mail. Beerman's opponent is former Mayor Dana Williams, who served three terms in Park City's highest office starting the month before the Winter Olympics in 2002. Williams had little to do with the Olympic-planning efforts since the operations were largely finalized before he took office, but he was in office during the Games themselves as well as the post-Olympic period.