Park City celebration of Olympics not intended to be a ‘proxy’ for a future Games |

Park City celebration of Olympics not intended to be a ‘proxy’ for a future Games

Upcoming 2002 commemorations scheduled amid discussions about 2030 possibility

A sculpture along S.R. 224 in Park City commemorates the community’s role during the 2002 Winter Olympics, one of the visible reminders of the games of that year.
Park Record file photo

Park City is readying to mark the 20th anniversary of the 2002 Winter Olympics in February alongside a celebration of this year’s Games in China.

But a high-ranking City Hall staffer on Thursday indicated the revelry that is planned should not be considered to be formal support for the state’s bid for a second Winter Olympics.

Jonathan Weidenhamer, the economic development manager, addressed Mayor Nann Worel and the Park City Council on Thursday regarding the upcoming commemoration. Weidenhamer in his comments told the elected officials the events are not “intended in any way to commit us to, or be a proxy in any way for, a future Olympic Games in Utah or Salt Lake, or our role in Park City. It’s not that at all.”

He did not provide extensive comments about the topic, and the mayor and City Council did not address that aspect of the presentation by staffers. It was an important statement, though, at a moment when the discussions about the bid for a second Olympics in the state are expected to intensify. It was not clear what spurred the desire by the municipal staff to delineate between the upcoming anniversary commemoration and the bidding for an Olympics.

The Games of 2030 are seen as a possibility, and it seems that the International Olympic Committee will turn its attention to the selection of a host city for that year in the months after the Games close in Beijing. It is almost certain the next Olympics that will be awarded is the event in 2030. Salt Lake City is seen as a strong contender for 2030. The Park City area would have a prominent role in a Games. Park City Mountain Resort, Deer Valley Resort and the Utah Olympic Park are identified as important competition venues while Main Street would be expected to be one of the Games’ top celebration zones.

Park City leaders, though, have not yet launched a broad discussion with the community about the prospects of a second Olympics. It seems that City Hall staffers may be attempting to separate the 20th anniversary of 2002 from the upcoming debates about a future Games out of concern that some Parkites may be worried that the decision making is underway about a second Olympics prior to the local government seeking input.

The mayor and City Council on Thursday also received a briefing about a celebration scheduled on Feb. 12 marking the 20th anniversary. The event is planned at the Bob Wells Plaza on Swede Alley. City Councilor Tana Toly said she anticipates the gathering will be “quite a big event” and questioned whether the crowd would spill onto the Swede Alley road. City Hall staffers responded that a spillover onto the road and traffic impacts are not expected, but a contingency plan will be drafted.

The mayor said members of the Park City area’s Statehouse delegation have signaled they want to have a presence in the community and the celebration would be an opportunity for them to visit.

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