Summit County’s elected leaders seemingly absent from Olympic exploratory committee | ParkRecord.com

Summit County’s elected leaders seemingly absent from Olympic exploratory committee

When the Olympic exploratory committee was announced last month, no Summit County leaders were named. But, officials say the county will play a more significant role in the discussions as smaller subcommittees are formed.

When a committee was formed in October to explore whether Utah should pursue a bid for the 2026 or 2030 Winter Olympics, Summit County's elected leaders were noticeably absent from the group.

Gov. Gary Herbert's office and the Utah Sports Commission created the exploratory committee to determine if it would be economically feasible for Utah to host another Games. A decision about mounting a formal bid is scheduled to be presented Feb. 1, 2018.

The committee is comprised of state leaders and elected officials, including Herbert and Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski. It will be co-chaired by Utah Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, Utah Sports Commission President and CEO Jeff Robbins and Fraser Bullock, a businessman who served as chief operating officer of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Games, according to a news release.

Park City Councilor Andy Beerman is the only elected official in Park City or Summit County named to the committee. He joins a number of private figures with connections to Summit County and Park City: Eric Heiden, Becky Kearns, Chris Waddell, Grant Thomas and Colin Hilton.

Beyond the economic feasibility review, the other angle is really to have a dialogue with community leaders and the citizens at large about the interest,” Colin Hilton, Olympic Legacy Foundation

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"When it gets to a bid phase, that is where you see more broad representation from every region," said Hilton, president and CEO of the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation.

Hilton said he, along with the others from the Park City region, will ensure the interests of the Wasatch Back are well represented.

"Summit County is extremely important to the process of exploring whether another Olympic bid should come from Utah," he said. "But, also, so is Park City, Wasatch County, Heber City, Midway City, Provo City, Utah County and Ogden City, as well as Weber County."

Over the next 90 days, the exploratory committee will discuss the impacts of Utah securing a bid for the Games. Smaller sub-committees will also be formed to closely examine venues, public opinion and impacts on the environment and climate, among other factors.

Hilton said Summit County Council Chair Chris Robinson and County Manager Tom Fisher will likely be members of the committees examining the region's current infrastructure and venues.

"Beyond the economic feasibility review, the other angle is really to have a dialogue with community leaders and the citizens at large about the interest," Hilton said. "No one wants to presume that everyone really wants this. There are good legitimate concerns, but both Park City and Summit County leadership will be a part of that dialogue."

Robinson, who previously served on the committee that helped secure the 2002 Winter Olympics, said more figures from Park City than Summit County were involved during that effort. He admitted it would be beneficial for the county to join the process sooner and take on a more significant role this time around.

Robinson said there will be opportunities for the county to join the discussion in the coming months.

"A lot of the county's involvement happened a little later in the game than maybe it ought to have," he said. "But, I think we will have ample opportunity to be involved. I don't think by not being involved it is a sign that we are being cast over."

Robinson said Beerman, who will be spearheading the exploratory committee's efforts regarding the environment and climate, "brings a lot to the table." He added, "Beerman and the other members' allegiance is not just to the Park City government. They are citizens of the county, as well."

"The county will be involved in the process," he said. "We may not be involved in the main board, but we are not troubled by that."