Park City wants to hold Winter Olympic talk shortly |

Park City wants to hold Winter Olympic talk shortly

A public discussion will likely be planned in coming weeks

The Olympic Welcome Plaza at the intersection of Park Avenue and Kearns Boulevard is one of the prominent reminders in Park City of the role the community played during the 2002 Winter Olympics. Park City leaders intend to soon hold a discussion about the prospects of another bid for a Winter Games.
Jay Hamburger/Park Record

Park City officials intend to hold a discussion in coming weeks about the prospects of the state hosting another Winter Olympics, a meeting that will likely provide an early assessment of public sentiment as talks continue about Salt Lake City mounting a bid for the Games as early as the 2026 event.

Mayor Jack Thomas and the Park City Council on Tuesday briefly discussed the Olympics, but they were not scheduled to address the topic in any detail. The discussion on Tuesday occurred the week after an Olympic Exploratory Committee was seated. Andy Beerman, a City Councilor, was named to the committee.

Beerman spurred the talk with a recap of the events the week before. Beerman mentioned his appointment to the committee and inquired whether the rest of the elected officials want him to continue with the work. The mayor and other City Councilors essentially endorsed his post on the committee.

The elected officials also signaled they want a public event scheduled soon to discuss a potential Olympic bid. It appears a formal City Council discussion could be held in November. It also seems like City Hall could schedule a public event, perhaps at the Santy Auditorium at the Park City Library, in November to address the Olympics.

The meeting on Thursday was the first time the elected officials had an opportunity to discuss the topic in a public setting since the formation of the committee. The possibility of an Olympic bid was not on the agenda on Tuesday. The elected officials typically do not hold detailed talks about matters that are not scheduled for discussion, leaving the likelihood of a far more involved talk later.

The Park City area hosted approximately half of the competitions during the Winter Olympics in 2002 with events staged at Park City Mountain Resort, Deer Valley Resort and the Utah Olympic Park. Main Street was turned into a pedestrian-only celebration zone. The area would be expected to have a significant role in any bid. The Utah Olympic Park would again host ski jumping and sliding sports events while PCMR and Deer Valley would likely be tapped for snow sports as was the case in 2002.

The upcoming discussion will offer intriguing insights into the leanings of rank-and-file Parkites as they consider another Olympics. Many people who lived locally in 2002 look back at the Games era with fondness while others recall the hassles of everyday life during the Olympics. It seems there could be significant support sprinkled with concerns about issues like traffic, environmental impacts, budgetary matters and the inconveniences such a large event brings.

The International Olympic Committee is scheduled to award the 2026 Games in 2019. The exploratory committee intends to recommend by Feb. 1 whether Salt Lake City and the wider Olympic region should mount a bid.

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