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Hoberman Arch, Olympic icon, might not fit in Park City

Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD

The Hoberman Arch fits well in Salt Lake City, some Park City leaders said this week, but there are questions whether the iconic structure from the 2002 Winter Olympics would look right in Park City.

Well known in the Olympic region as the backdrop for the medals plaza during the Games, the Hoberman Arch now sits outside Rice-Eccles Stadium at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. An expansion of the stadium someday will necessitate the relocation of the Hoberman Arch, and there is interest in Park City in moving it to the community as another legacy piece from the Olympics.

Mayor Dana Williams and the Park City Council on Thursday night discussed the prospects of locating the Hoberman Arch in the city. There was not a consensus among the elected officials, but City Hall staffers will continue to research potential locations.

But there were several comments about the Hoberman Arch being more a part of Salt Lake City’s Olympic legacy than Park City’s. The Hoberman Arch was highly visible each day as the winning athletes received their medals in Salt Lake City amid a party-like atmosphere.

City Councilor Alex Butwinski mentioned the Hoberman Arch’s role in Salt Lake City as he said he was not inclined to have City Hall pursue the structure for a park City location. Cindy Matsumoto, another City Councilor, said it best fits in Salt Lake City.

City Hall staffers were scouting two locations, the Brew Pub lot on upper Main Street and the land along S.R. 224 where an Olympic sculpture sits, before the meeting.

Matsumoto said the Hoberman Arch seemed to be too large for the Brew Pub lot. It is 36 feet tall and 72 feet wide, a report to the elected officials said.

"I don’t see it on Main Street. It’s just too massive," she said.

City Councilman Dick Peek, meanwhile, said he would consider locating the Hoberman Arch in Park City if a proper place is found. He mentioned the Olympic Welcome Plaza and the Park City Mountain Resort parking lot as he appeared to brainstorm on the spot.

City Councilman Andy Beerman said it would be nice to relocate the Hoberman Arch to Park City, calling it "one of the premier icons of the Olympics."

Some of the upcoming discussions will also likely focus on the price of moving the piece to Park City. Staffers early in the week estimated it could cost $200,000, but Jonathan Weidenhamer, who directs City Hall’s economic development programs, told the elected officials on Thursday the figure was based on the Hoberman Arch being put in the Brew Pub lot. He said the price could be much lower if it was placed somewhere else in Park City.

The university wants to make a decision by the end of the summer. Colin Hilton, the CEO of the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation, said early in the week at least two other locations are being considered. Both are in the Salt Lake Valley.


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