From gathering place to visitor's center: power, politics, and Salt Lake City's Olympic legacy park.
While it is the Games themselves that first attracts and then sustains our attention, the aftermath--the legacies--reveal much about the planning and preparation for the Games, the communities that host them, and the Olympic organizers' commitment to historical memory. The Salt Lake Bid Committee and its successor, the Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC), understood that it was indefensible, unconscionable really, to expend massive amounts of time, energy and, especially, financial resources simply to host two weeks of athletic frolic on snow and ice while fundamental human needs--housing, education, social services, health care--were chronically underfunded. Hosting the Games must provide the community with a residual pay-off of lasting value, a tradition kept by virtually every Olympics since 1896. (3)
The 2002 Games left residents of greater Salt Lake City with a surfeit of tangible legacies. Some were directly related to the Olympics--the sport venues used by elite athletes for training and competition as well as by the public for recreation, iconic memorabilia such as the ceremonial cauldron in which the Olympic Flame burned during the Games and the innovative Hoberman Arch that curtained the stage where medals were awarded, and various kinds of historical records ranging from documents to photographs. Others were community enhancements such as an improved transportation infrastructure featuring highway renovation and a new light rail system, cultural artifacts ranging from statuary to artwork, and new housing for college students and low-income families. Perhaps most important were the intangible legacies--exciting memories of the Games (bid, skating and doping scandals aside), the civic pride of being in the spotlight of world media, and, especially, the psychic gratification of having hosted a preeminently successful Olympics.
But at Games-end Salt Lake City's paramount legacy objective was yet to be realized: an enduring memorial that would in tangible and intangible ways immortalize the glories of the Games and the host city's unique place in Olympic history. Chief among the numerous ideas for perpetuating memories of Salt Lake 2002 was a "living legacy," a park that would serve both as green space for public gatherings and a memorial sanctuary replete with Olympic memorabilia.
The inspiration for Salt Lake's memorial was Atlanta's Centennial Park, appropriately named in commemoration of the first modern Olympics in 1896. During the 1996 Games the twenty-one acre park, constructed in a formerly run-down section of downtown Atlanta, served largely as a commercial pavilion, but afterwards became a "people's park" featuring landscaped open space as well as small amphitheater, a skating rink, an interactive fountain, playgrounds and a variety of Olympic tributes. Atlanta organizers envisioned the park as the Games' enduring legacy, an Olympic memorial that would also rejuvenate a largely abandoned, crime-ridden urban area by stimulating entertainment and commercial development. William P. "Billy" Payne, CEO of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, reportedly called the park his "proudest achievement." (4)
A former Utahn, Sherman R. Day, managing director of Legacy and Olympic Programs for the Atlanta organizing committee, sparked Salt Lake's interest in a memorial park. Day, who supervised the construction and development of Centennial Park, gave Salt Lake City Mayor Deedee Corradini a personal tour of the facility during the 1996 Games. She came away not only impressed with how the park had transformed a run-down section of the city, but also inspired by Day's characterization of the communal space as an American version of the promenades and plazas of past European host cities. "That's the future of the redevelopment of the inner city, to have people come back downtown," he predicted. (5)
Upon returning to Salt Lake City, Corradini enthusiastically promoted creating a legacy park. The mayor specifically proposed developing a twenty-acre park near the railroad yards on the western edge of downtown to serve during the 2002 Games as the site of the nightly medal awards ceremonies as well as a gathering place for Olympic visitors, then, post-Games, provide much needed green space for the 700-acre Gateway urban renewal project scheduled for the last undeveloped area of the city. SLOC leaders were enthusiastic. "We'll get a gathering place downtown," proclaimed vice president Dave Johnson. " It'll be fantastic." (6) Tom Welch, SLOC president, offered a more grandiose vision, a legacy park in each venue city--Park City, Provo, Ogden, Kearns and Salt Lake with statues of athletes representing the competitions held there. The possibility of terrorist acts such as the pipe bomb attack in Atlanta's Centennial Park during the Games was not a concern. "I love the idea" said Salt Lake County Sheriff Aaron Kennard. (7)
The infamous Olympic bid scandal that broke in December 1998 dashed Salt Lake's dreams of a memorial park. (8) The negative publicity attendant to the scandal had severe financial repercussions for SLOC, producing a $375 million shortfall that prompted deep budget cuts, mostly in non-Games related expenditures. Without hope of obtaining funds for a legacy park from SLOC or private donors, it appeared that Salt Lake City, to its embarrassment, would host the Olympics without an official community commemoration of the Games. Then, in August 1999, the new SLOC president, Mitt Romney, who always insisted the competition venues would be the most important legacies of the 2002 Winter Games, appealed to close friends to build an Olympic shrine in The Gateway, a new outdoor shopping mall then under construction on the western edge of downtown. (9) The project developers were eager to underwrite the project as the Olympic site would produce an economic windfall not only because of city and federal tax breaks for construction, but also because during the Games the mall and its Olympic plaza attraction would be located across the street from the 2002 Medals Plaza, destined to draw 50,000 to 70,000 people nightly to the festivities; long term, the commemorative plaza would be good for business by enticing residents and visitors alike to the shopping center. (10)
While Romney wanted some kind of iconic showcase in place before the Games, he was also eager to reduce SLOC's budgetary shortfall. The Gateway Olympic Plaza served both purposes. By authorizing a privately constructed Olympic plaza, Romney avoided a costly non-Games expenditure and the embarrassment of not having an official Olympic site for visitors. He also regarded the plaza as a fundraiser, launching in July 2000 a Legacy Brick Program similar to Atlanta's wherein for a $50 donation to SLOC, individuals, families, companies and organizations could have their names engraved in bricks to be embedded in the plaza. Income upwards of $1 million from the sale of an anticipated 25,000 to 30,000 bricks would put a substantial dent in SLOC's deficit. (11) The program, Romney claimed, wasn't just about raising money for the Games: "The finances are wonderful, but this is more about linking one's family and one's name with Olympic history." (12)
Gateway's Olympic plaza was officially dedicated in November 2001, less than three months before the opening of the 2002 Games. Located at the north end of the two-block long mall, its centerpiece was the Snowflake Fountain, shaped like SLOC's official 2002 logo and jetted to spout musically synchronized bursts of water. To the east was a Wall of Honor recognizing major financial contributors to SLOC; "gold" level plaques contained the names and faces of people who gave at least $100,000, while "silver" and "bronze" plaques contained only donor names. Surrounding the fountain was a "path to Olympic glory" composed of the personalized bricks. The plaza also included a copper sculpture, "Passion for the Gold," a rendition of a skier schussing down a facsimile of the SLOC's snowflake crystal logo. (13)
Minimal though it was, Romney called the plaza "a poignant reminder" of the Olympics, enabling Utahns and visitors to "experience the excitement of the 2002 Games for many years to come." Not everyone agreed. Referencing Atlanta's largely commercial-free park, Salt Lake City Councilwoman Nancy Saxton condemned the plaza, fittingly if disconcertingly located between a Starbucks coffee shop and a Barnes & Noble bookstore, as "a monument to commercialism, a symbol of all that is wrong with the Olympics. That's what the people will be left with, rather than the real spirit of the Olympics." Even SLOC trustee Fraser Bullock, who in four months would replace Romney as president, was concerned about locating the city's only non-competition legacy in a shopping mall; noting such retail facilities have inherently limited commercial viability, he wondered: "What will happen to this legacy plaza? Are we [eventually] going to bulldoze it?" (14)
The plaza's glow diminished as it became enveloped in heated controversies soon after opening. The major contention was political. In early December 2001 Mitt Romney refused to allow Tom Welch and Dave Johnson, the principals in the bid scandal, to be recognized on the Wall of Honor because "honoring Tom or Dave at this stage would send the wrong message to the citizens of the world about the ethical standards of our community." Others argued that not recognizing Welch and Johnson "could be construed as an attempt to alter the history of the Olympics in Utah. It is difficult to imagine that our state and community will be celebrating a successful hosting of the Olympics without including and crediting Tom and Dave in some meaningful way for their years of service and sacrifice." To end the month-long dispute, Romney in mid-January 2003 announced his plaque would removed from the Wall, explaining: "With the controversy surrounding who would be on the Wall of Honor I wanted to remove myself from any personal consideration. I'd just as soon not have my plaque be part of that discussion." (15) A second controversy involved the "buy a brick" initiative. In addition to very disappointing sales, perhaps because of the shopping mall location, SLOC was besieged by complaints of false advertising for describing ordinary masonry bricks as "century old sandstone" from the city's original street system and faced a $1.2 million breach of contract lawsuit filed by the engraver of the bricks. (16)
The Gateway plaza had seemingly undermined plans for a public memorial park, but responsibility actually lay with the SLOC and the city. In contrast to Atlanta, Salt Lake government officials and Olympic leaders talked about a legacy park but failed to plan for its eventuality. Atlanta's Billy Payne had proposed Centennial Park in November 1993, allowing time to complete the fountain memorial and the expansive lawn prior to the opening of the 1996 Games and to arrange for final construction post-Games. Funding was a cooperative venture involving the Atlanta Organizing Committee, the city's chamber of commerce, private donors and foundations and local and state governments. After the Olympics, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA), a state agency, assumed responsibility for the fundraising, design and development of current configuration of the park, completed in 1998. The GWCCA agreed to contribute annually $1.1 million and solicit donations to provide the $3 million needed for park security and maintenance. (17) But in Salt Lake neither pre-Games fund raising efforts for construction nor negotiations with government agencies or private organizations regarding post-Games maintenance took place. The memorial park was an idea without budgetary or administrative commitment. Mayor Corradini later recalled that Salt Lake lacked major corporations like Coca-Cola to spearhead fundraising, and that, more important, "it seemed inappropriate to try to raise money for a park" when SLOC and city leaders were "madly trying to raise money for the Olympics." (18)
Consequently, at the conclusion of the 2002 Olympics, the Gateway plaza, a shopping mall attraction, was the lone non-competition remnant of the Games, unquestionably the biggest and most momentous event in the history of the city. Salt Lake County Commissioner Randy Horiuchi, lamented the absence of a memorial park: "One of the saddest things about our Olympic legacy is that the host city won't have one. With the excitement of the Olympics coming, you'd have thought we would have had the foresight to take care of this." (19) Councilwoman Saxton concurred: "It really is unfortunate that we don't have a place where residents and tourists can come back to remember their time at the Olympics." (20)
A Legacy Park for Salt Lake
Two months after the conclusion of the Games, Salt Lake's legacy park went from missed opportunity to realistic possibility. On April 25, 2002, Fraser Bullock, who had replaced Mitt Romney as SLOC president, announced a profit of $56 million--eventually $100 million. (21) Given the sizable surplus, SLOC's board of trustees voted to allocate $40 million to support the three main Olympic competition venues and $8.1 million to fund two memorial parks. (22) First, $2.1 million was designated for an Olympic Cauldron Park at the University of Utah's Rice-Eccles Stadium, site of the 2002 Opening and Closing Ceremonies, to provide a permanent home for the 109-foot ceremonial cauldron in which the Olympic Flame burned continuously during the Games. Second, upwards of $6 million was allocated for a memorial park that would take up "an entire block somewhere in Salt Lake City" (As downtown blocks were uniformly tenacres, it would be substantial in size.) Elated by the prospect of obtaining an Olympic memorial park, city officials declared it "would be the "most visible legacy of the Games." (23)
Recognized, but not fully appreciated at the time, were the conditions attached to the gifts. Most important was the implied purpose of the award to Salt Lake City. SLOC did not authorize $6 million to build a legacy park for the host city, but instead allocated funding for the city to build a legacy park for SLOC. In other words, the park was to be a de facto memorial to the organizing committee, not the host city. SLOC was specific about four conditions governing the grant. First, the site had to be "unencumbered," meaning the city had to own or purchase the land with its own resources: SLOC's money could not be used to buy the land. Second, the park must contain an amphitheater capable of accommodating 10,000 people, the 100- foot triangular "Gateway tower" from the entrance to the Olympic Square, and two items from the Medals Plaza, the smaller version of the official Olympic cauldron and the 35-foot tall, 70-foot wide, 5-foot deep 6,000-pound Hoberman Arch used as the medals stage curtain. (24) Third, while the park's actual design was to be determined, the desired location was predetermined: it would be located in downtown Salt Lake City. Fourth, groundbreaking had to occur by late summer so that the project could be completed by the time SLOC disbanded in spring 2003. Bullock emphasized: "We don't want a long gap between the Olympic fervor and building the park." (25)
Salt Lake's dream of an Olympic memorial park was at hand--commodious green space that would serve as a public gathering place and an Olympic Valhalla commemorating the 2002 Games. SLOC had provided both the design components and funding; Salt Lake had only to provide the location. But unlike Atlanta, there were no decaying neighborhoods, no forsaken commercial areas filled with abandoned buildings and boarded up warehouses; thus razing property to create a legacy site was never considered. (26) Moreover, there were only two sizable downtown open space possibilities. Earl Holding, a billionaire oilman and hotelier who had donated substantial cash to support the Olympics as a member of SLOC's board and owner of Snow Basin, a resort that hosted 2002 downhill skiing events, refused to part with the lone undeveloped tract. (27) An infrequently used, block-size parking lot that had served as the Medals Plaza during the 2002 Olympics was historically apt, but the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also declined to part with the property. (28) Several tracts on the west side of town were either unavailable or deemed unacceptable; the Fair Park, home of the Utah State Fair, was too remote and dominated by animal pavilions and exhibition buildings. "We do want it downtown," insisted Bullock. (29)
Following preliminary discussions with Fraser Bullock about the nature of SLOC's award, Mayor Ross C. "Rocky" Anderson proposed what seemed to be the most appropriate and logical solution: the city-owned Pioneer Park. Anderson, whose visit to Centennial Park convinced him of the advantages of a vibrant downtown park, was from the beginning determined to make Pioneer Park a "really magnificent place in the heart of our city that could also serve as an Olympic legacy." (30) His goal was to leverage SLOC funds to obtain simultaneously a much-desired Olympic legacy and create functional public space in a long-troubled historical site. Anderson emphasized that the Olympic legacy was connected to a larger community need: "Whether we have an amphitheater there or do something else at Pioneer Park, there needs to be some major improvement. We want people from all over the city to use the park, to make it not only a safe and secure place, but also to change the perceptions people have of the place." (31)
Site of the initial permanent Mormon settlement, (32) Pioneer Park, a ten-acre parcel at the southwest corner of the downtown district, was large enough to accommodate a sizable grass-banked amphitheater for summer concerts enclosed by a wall depicting athletes and other images from the Games, a fountain, a skating rink, a seventy-foot stage utilizing the Hoberman Arch, various Olympic memorabilia and perhaps flag poles for each of the seventy-eight countries participating in the 2002 Games. And there was an Olympic connection: for seventeen days Pioneer Park served as SLOC's main public transportation hub. (33)
Delighted with the proposal, SLOC promptly hired a landscape architect to develop a design for the facility. (34) Fraser Bullock emphasized the park was big enough to contain SLOC's basic design ambitions and, as "a place you can walk through every day," reflected the organizing committee's awareness "of the importance of green space downtown." Moreover, the location was ideal: Pioneer Park was only one block from the new Gateway mall, two blocks from the Delta Center, the city's premier indoor events arena, and five blocks from the LDS church's Temple Square, the city's principal tourist attraction. The plan also received enthusiastic support from the Downtown Business Alliance as "an economic stimulus" for much needed commercial development in the area. Based on size, location and availability, Bullock enthused: "Pioneer Park is certainly the leading candidate. I don't think there's anything similar to this" in any other host city. (35)
Pioneer Park was a compelling choice for another reason. Once a popular gathering place with a concert pavilion, swimming pool, arts and crafts building, tennis courts and a baseball field, it had long been a blighted, crime ridden, sometimes violent place generally shunned by the community. (36) For many years the park had been "a home away from home" for transients and the homeless; a haven for alcoholics, drug addicts and the mentally ill; and a lucrative business district for petty thieves, drug dealers, pimps and prostitutes. When the park closed in August 1996 for "new sod and a good scrubbing," Mayor Corradini said the city should "use this opportunity for some serious reflection on the future of a park that has historical significance." Although Salt Lake had recently spent hundreds of thousands of dollars installing playground equipment, restrooms, benches and two tennis courts, the Deseret News pointed out the park "remains a den of distress" as the general public stayed away for aesthetic and safety reasons. (37) Proponents of the mayor's proposal thought renovating Pioneer Park as an Olympic memorial would simultaneously make the historic-but-downtrodden park more inviting to residents by eliminating a transient hangout, eradicating a criminal enclave, enhancing the appearance of an historic site, and encouraging commercial development in the area by creating a large-scale entertainment venue. Interviews with "park people' in June 2002 suggest they also favored change promised by the Olympic venue. "Matthew from Montana," a transient with no interest in the Games, was blunt: "This place is a drug-dealer's park. That's what 98 percent of the people are here for." (38)
However, the proposal immediately, and unexpectedly, provoked a torrent of opposition. Urban environmentalists, committed to preserving one of the few remaining green spaces, indeed the only sizable one, in downtown Salt Lake, argued in that devoting three acres, nearly one third of the area, to an amphitheater would dramatically alter the physical appearance of the park and that installing Olympic memorabilia would detract from its historic character. Social service advocates contended Pioneer Park should remain a sanctuary for the homeless because it was located near rail yards and within two blocks of several agencies that provided food, shelter and employment; an Olympic park, they feared, would displace the homeless to a less convenient and commodious location. Others, who saw Pioneer Park as an out-of-sight, out-of-mind refuge for undesirables, feared a remodeled park would scatter the homeless and criminal elements to other parts of the city. (39) Historic preservationists, reluctant to support any modification of the city's historic buildings and sites, noted that the proposal "didn't fit in with the current master plan" and pointedly suggested "there are probably other sites that would be better." (40)
Still other critics worried about losing the park's historic identity. Pioneer Park, home from 1847 to 1849 to some 2,000 Latter-day Saints who followed Brigham Young to Utah, was a sacrosanct historical site. Although a small, solitary marker erected in 1964 at a far corner of the park made historical representation more abstract than actual, descendants of Mormon pioneers, zealous guardians of ancestral tradition, were inexorably opposed to park alterations. (41) For example, when a Greek artist offered a modern sculpture of "Prometheus" for display in Pioneer Park during the 2002 Games, a fitting offer given SLOC's slogan, "Light the Fire Within," Mary Johnson, president of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, was adamant: "We are against having things placed in Pioneer Park that would detract from its historical value and purpose." (42) On the other hand, Rocky Anderson was convinced the park could effectively memorialize the Mormon past and commemorate the Olympic present. Sensitive to the religious connection with the park, he met with the First Presidency of the Mormon Church about the proposal. (43) Although church leaders talked openly about previous user-friendly alterations to the park, including the popular swimming pool, they did not issue a formal endorsement; however, the lack of opposition could be taken as tacit indication of support. (44)
The breadth and determination of the opposition perplexed Pioneer proponents. As mayoral spokesman Joshua Ewing pointed out, "what everybody's getting wrong about this is that this is the beginning of a public process" not the final presentation. Stephen Goldsmith, the city's planning director, concurred, adding: The mayor "has no interest in dividing the community over this issue. If we can find a way not to displace [park] users and history, then it's worth pursuing." (45) Bob Farrington, director of the Downtown Business Alliance counseled: "Let's take this [proposal] into consideration rather than rejecting it out of hand. It was hard even to get a hearing on it before people were giving a million reasons why it couldn't happen." (46) Mayor Anderson took the offensive, dispatching Goldsmith to address the concerns of the city's Historic Landmark Commission and other groups; the planning director had previously dealt with most of them and thus was "optimistic about winning support from even the most fervent naysayers." (47) To address community concerns, the mayor scheduled a series of public meetings throughout June and July to discuss what was now called the Olympic Legacy Cultural Center, a label that focused on purpose rather than place. (48)
The initial public forum on June 3 revealed the confusion and concerns about the still inchoate proposal. Scott Givens, SLOC's creative director, addressed the Pioneer heritage issue by proposing three theme entrances to the park--Olympic, Paralympic and Pioneer. He also emphasized the benefit to the community from hosting concerts and entertainments reminiscent of the 2002 Olympic Arts Festival. Bob Farrington, noting the 2,300 members of the Downtown Business Alliance "wholeheartedly supported" the mayor's proposal for reasons other than its potential as "an economic catalyst" for the area, presented the alliance board's resolution stating "the proposed use of the Park for art and cultural uses is exactly what has been recommended for years." (49) But it was clear that historic preservationists, environmentalists, social welfare activists and Mormon heritage champions remained joined in opposition. Even members of an artist enclave located half a block north of the park worried development would change the "bohemian" character of the neighborhood. Glenn Bailey of the Crossroads Urban Center, snapped: "This is being done quickly with a $4 to $5 million gun to our heads. I'm not sure we need to sacrifice a well-established park to memorialize a two-week event that it took bribery and corruption to get here." At the end of the meeting an exasperated Mayor Anderson explained: "We spent several weeks looking at every possible site. Pioneer Park is the best and only alternative. I don't understand why advocates for the homeless wouldn't want better amenities and a safer place for everyone. Except for ticketed events, it will be open every night and every day." His frustration showed: "I fear that some of these people would like everything to stay the same, with all the drug trades in the park." (50)
Two days later, June 5, Goldsmith and Ray Grant, Artistic Director of the 2002 Cultural Olympiad, presented the Olympic cultural center concept to the city's Historic Landmark Commission. It was a crucial meeting inasmuch as the commission had principal advisory oversight in deciding modifications to historical buildings and sites. It was not a productive meeting for SLOC or the mayor. The commissioners listened "stoned-faced" as Goldsmith explained plans for the center, apologetically noting that "because of the fast track SLOC is on" the city was obligated "to see if we could deliver a meaningful solution to their offer in roughly eight to twelve weeks." Some even frowned when he suggested a subcommittee be formed to discuss the proposal and create "minimum guidelines." When Grant, who was the inspiration for including a performance amphitheater in SLOC's plans, mentioned bringing artists from around the country to commemorate "the magic of the Olympics" commissioner Willi Littig snapped: "I'm insulted. Utah has abundant talent of its own, and downtown already has numerous performances spaces." (Actually, two outdoor venues.) Frustrated, Grant pointedly cautioned the group "not to step beyond its bounds as a landmark commission" and reminded them that time was of the essence. SLOC wanted to book a series of concerts for next summer, but was not interested in "putting its gift in a trust fund while city officials deliberate over what to do with it. If there is no groundbreaking this summer, both the money and the interest in the cultural center will disappear," he warned. Reiterating time was of the essence, spokesperson Caroline Shaw said SLOC wanted a decision by July 1. Chairman Soren Simonsen ended the meeting on a conciliatory note, reminding the commissioners "the history of Salt Lake City has as much to do with the present as it does with the past" and thus it would be "short-sighted of us" to exclude the 2002 Olympics from collective memory." But he was the only commissioner who seemed amenable to even considering an Olympic memorial at Pioneer Park. (51)
City officials were increasingly fearful that without the Legacy Cultural Center the host city would be totally bereft of any tangible reminder of the Olympics. Some city council members, uncertain about the viability of Pioneer Park, quizzed the mayor about alternative sites. What about the four-acre plaza east of the new city library under construction? "It's impossible. It's too small" he replied. The site would save $4 million for design and landscaping, but "it would be a shame to shoehorn it onto that block." What about the Fair Park, home of the state fair or some other block downtown? The response: The Fair Park was too far from downtown and the other sites don't meet SLOC's requirements. (52)
SLOC and the city remained focused on Pioneer Park and counseled patience in formulating a workable solution. Because SLOC's initial concepts for a memorial park were developed without a particular site in mind, Goldsmith considered them "in the trash can" and urged a design be created specifically for Pioneer Park. Caroline Shaw agreed, reiterating that Pioneer Park was SLOC's first choice. "But it's not our decision," she acknowledged. " It's the city's decision. For that we'll have to wait and see what happens in the next two weeks." (53)
On June 19 SLOC announced its architectural plan for Pioneer Park. The design showcased its historical legacy by placing throughout the park a series of obelisks detailing information about the Mormon pioneers as well as ethnic groups who later migrated to the state and even installing a replica of the "Nauvoo bell" from the LDS temple in Nauvoo, Illinois, birthplace of the Utah branch of the Mormon church. (54) To placate environmentalists, SLOC pledged to preserve 220 of the 300 trees in the park and to replace or transplant those removed to build the 7,500-seat concert amphitheater set fifteen feet below ground level. (55) The Hoberman Arch and a series of photographs embedded in the four- to five-foot wall enclosing the amphitheater would represent the 2002 Games. To alleviate concerns about public access, specifically for the homeless, Mayor Anderson stressed the park would remain free and open to the public. Although access to the enclosed area around the amphitheater stage would be open only to ticket holders during fee events, the amphitheater area would be open to the public when no concerts were being held. SLOC agreed to fund the construction of the project, but left the city responsible for the maintenance costs, an obligation to be met by a projected $1 million in annual concert ticket sales. Fraser Bullock emphasized that construction must begin by the end of August for the project to be completed by May 2003, warning: "This is the only place that makes sense to have the facility. If this is turned down, we won't be able to do anything. We won't have a park." (56)
Following SLOC's announcement Goldsmith met informally with several landmark commissioners at a local bakery cafe to review the design. The result was a suggestive "impromptu list" of objectives to give the subcommittee, which included Willi Littig and Vicki Mickelson, "something to work with" in developing construction guidelines. There were three primary conditions: 1) "all work must be reversible"--that is, not leave permanent scaring; 2) should a name change be considered, "the historic significance of the site must be retained the dominant element of the name"--i.e., nothing like Pioneer Park at Olympic Legacy Park; and 3) "at least half of the spaces, features, elements used for interpretation in the park should focus on the historical aspects of the site." The second objective was historically reasonable, but it was unlikely that amphiteater construction would leave no trace and the interpretive demand was unreasonable inasmuch as the park now had but a single historical marker. (57) Subsequently, Ray Grant and SLOC's landscape architect, Jan Stiefel, met with the landmark commission's subcommittee to review plans. (58)
Public opinion on the Pioneer Park proposal is unknown since, surprisingly, no polls were taken and the two daily newspapers took no editorial position on what was obviously a major community issue. But it is evident that opposition to SLOC's latest plan continued unabated. A show of hands at the start of the public meeting on June 21 revealed the majority of the sixty people in attendance opposed locating the Olympic legacy in Pioneer Park. Concerns about Mormon heritage dominated the discussion. The Daughters of Utah Pioneers continued to voice "great concerns about the proposal," fearing that Olympic memorabilia would overshadow Mormon history. Could twenty-first century Olympic memories and nineteenth-century Mormon pioneer memories co-exist in complementary fashion or would the legacies of 2002 obscure the legacies of 1847? That was the question. One attendee proposed an anti-Olympic answer: "Let's have respect for a longer-ago history" by making the park "an enhanced monument to Pioneer history without the Olympics." (59)
Determined to expedite a decision regarding the legacy park, Fraser Bullock, Ray Grant and several other SLOC officials met in early July with members of the city council, the Desert News editorial board, and LDS church officials. (60) The strategy clearly was to solicit religious-based support for the proposal. (The city's largest circulation newspaper, the secular Salt Lake Tribune was not similarly lobbied.) The final decision on SLOC's proposal lay with the city's landmark commission and redevelopment agency, but the Mormon church could, given its stake in the historical issue and position in the community, greatly influence the decision. The Deseret News, a subsidiary of the LDS church, widely regarded by Mormons and non-Mormons as the counseling voice of the church, had considerable influence on public opinion and elected Mormon officials. But neither church leaders nor News editors took a position on Pioneer Park, perhaps because the issue did not directly affect church interests or to avoid needlessly exacerbating the Mormon-anti-Mormon rift in the community always apparent in public policy matters. (61)
SLOC emerged from the drawing board on July 15 with a new design, but the landmark subcommittee, supported by Goldsmith and other city officials, promptly rejected the proposal. Both groups objected strenuously to an eight-foot high wall surrounding the amphitheater. While acoustical engineers thought it essential to block traffic noise on adjacent streets that would severely impact the musical concerts, the conspicuous wall would compromise the visual perception of open park space and prevent effective policing of the amphitheater. Fraser Bullock subsequently met with city council chair Dave Buhler and Mayor Anderson, insisting that the eight-foot wall was needed if the center was to draw top-tier performers. "We'd like to do things at the highest quality possible," he argued. But the city's planning director was emphatic: "That's just not going to be happening," Goldsmith declared. Anderson thought SLOC's original plan was "a real jewel," but he endorsed a revision that would downgrade concert scheduling to much smaller class B and C performances. That was in keeping with his vision for Pioneer Park: "To me, the entertainment and other events there are less important than having a beautiful, welcoming gathering place that will be a great asset for the entire community and for visitors." (62) "What they [SLOC] were trying to do is create the symphony hall experience and [a] gathering space," said Goldsmith. "If we just end up with a gathering space we'll be thrilled. I still remain confident we'll find a terrific solution." (63) But landmark commissioner Mickelson, adamantly opposed to SLOC's efforts to develop the park, with arms folded asserted: "Unless there is a radical change--no walls and minimal landform shaping--I can't see how the commission can approve it." (64) Notwithstanding the reality of numerous previous developments in the park, she spoke to a fundamental principle: once any changes are made to the landscape, it remains forever altered.
Given rejection of yet another SLOC proposal, Caroline Shaw considered the prospect of an Olympic memorial in Pioneer Park "clearly at risk." She affirmed "the organizing committee will certainly have a legacy park for the citizens of Salt Lake and Utah" but noted "it could be" built elsewhere. She added a warning: "It certainly would put the [entire] project in jeopardy if the official site selection and groundbreaking did not occur until October." Bullock, too, was uneasy. "Our focus has been Pioneer Park," he admitted, "but we want to leave great legacies around the city. Whatever hurdles we hit we can be very open-minded about exploring other things." But not too open-minded. An increasingly frustrated city council wanted the Olympic Legacy Cultural Center, but also wanted to wrest control of the project from SLOC. Would SLOC write a $6 million check so the city could take its time deliberating what to build and where to build it? "No," said SLOC officials. Caroline Shaw was emphatic: "It's SLOC's legacy. It's SLOC's money and SLOC's gift." Mayor Anderson agreed "it was never anybody's understanding they'd turn over $6 million and have us go spend it." (65)
By mid-summer 2002 Olympic good will and community solidarity had disappeared. As the Salt Lake City Weekly newspaper put it: "Reality is a bitch. It's all about vision, a gift and this big wooden horse waiting outside the gate." (66) SLOC's motto "Light the Fires Within," intended to represent the competitive spirit of athletes, now brought to the fore the partisan agendas of public officials and community organizers. Planning for a legacy park now involved matching lists containing the interests of SLOC, the city, and influential community interest groups. "SLOC has a list of non-negotiable demands," said landmark commissioner Mickelson. "We also have a list of non-negotiables, and they don't match." Stephen Goldsmith understood the frustration and the irony: "It takes years and years to put the Games on and it lasts two weeks. And all of a sudden, something that's going to be permanent needs to be designed in two weeks." (67)
After a lengthy meeting between SLOC and city officials on July 23, Fraser Bullock acknowledged SLOC's plans would not work at Pioneer Park. The task now was to develop a less grandiose alternative plan that would memorialize the pioneer and Olympic heritages and, while eliminating the "very invasive" 7,500 seat amphitheater, still provide a venue for festivals, plays and concerts. "It's still going to be a marvelous legacy," he predicted. "Rather than having primarily a performance venue and secondarily a park, we're going to focus primarily on a park with water features and different things that can really enhance the area, but also serve as a gathering place. It still will be something that's spectacular for the city. I don't think this is a compromise at all. I think this is a wonderful idea, to make this a world-class park and a world-class legacy." (68) Groundbreaking would now be delayed a month until September.
A meeting between Anderson and Bullock produced agreement on the mayor's less intrusive plan which in addition to including Olympic memorabilia and landscaping featured, as symbolic of the Winter Games, a sizable ice skating rink with warming huts and perhaps a cafe as well as "an exciting water feature." When asked by reporters if SLOC was committed to Pioneer Park, Bullock shook hands with the mayor and said: "Absolutely." Considering the deal done, Anderson hired an external design firm to draw up plans for Pioneer Park by the end of August. He then left for a ten-day vacation in Peru. (69)
Bullock's optimism notwithstanding, all was not well between SLOC and the city. Olympic officials, resentful at the repeated rejections their design and failure to obtain a timely decision, did not attend a city council meeting called to discuss park issues. David Nimkin, Anderson's chief of staff, admitted SLOC was upset its plan was not accepted: "I think they are a little demoralized. They had a lot invested in the design they presented." (70) SLOC officials also viewed the mayor's proposal, which included gardens, playgrounds and a band shell, as unwarranted competition with their plans. Besides, Ray Grant commented: "What's so Olympic about a carousel?" (71) Frustration increased as the landmark commission's subcommittee, which had met frequently from the end of June through July, took "a more proactive role in presenting ideas to SLOC rather than tolerating what SLOC wants to present to the subcommittee." Indeed, there was "some conclusion" among the commissioners that the arch and cauldron would not be allowed in the park. (72) It was now apparent to the city's planning director that the landmark commission was determined to oppose any Olympic intrusion whatsoever onto the sacred historic soil. To Goldsmith there was "not a chance" that the Historic Landmark Commission, which had been "cranky about the Olympics from the moment it was announced they were coming," would accept any Pioneer Park proposal. The commission, to his mind, was "locked in to keeping this green open space functional in the life of the city as a social space that didn't have its identity superseded by the Olympics. This was Pioneer Park, and its role in the life of the city was not to be taken by this private party." (73)
Rumors swirled that SLOC officials were looking at locations without as many restrictions as Pioneer Park. And members of the city council were increasingly concerned that Pioneer Park was not a viable location and that consequently the SLOC grant was in jeopardy. Ray Grant admitted thinking about expanding the cauldron park at the University of Utah, but Bullock insisted that SLOC was committed to a downtown location. But while reiterating that SLOC "definitely wants to put a legacy ... something downtown," he stressed the planning process was "running out of time." (74)
The Gallivan Center
While SLOC reworked its proposal for Pioneer Park, city councilmen Carleton Christensen and Eric Jergensen, staunch political opponents of the mayor, took advantage of Anderson's absence to propose an alternative site to SLOC: the Gallivan Center. Jergensen, fearful that should the plans for Pioneer Park fail, SLOC would withdraw the offer to build a legacy park in downtown Salt Lake and either expand the cauldron park at the University of Utah or build a memorial in Park City, site of several Olympic skiing events, met with Bullock on August 19 assuring him that "if [the gift] is scaled own, it could fit at Gallivan" and that he "could line up the votes" to put it there. The move caught the absent mayor unawares; his office sharply countered that Gallivan was already a summer concert destination and that a memorial at Pioneer Park would attract more people to the underutilized southwestern section of the city. (75)
On August 22 Rocky Anderson and Fraser Bullock made a startling announcement: The Olympic legacy project would be built at the Gallivan Center. (76) Located in the heart of downtown on 200 South street between Main and State, the center, named in memory of John W. "Jack" Gallivan, long time publisher of the Salt Lake Tribune and founding member of city's initial Olympic bid committee in 1965, had served since 1993 as an urban oasis for those seeking respite from the commercial bustle of downtown as well as host to a popular summer evening concert series. The largely concrete 3.65 acre tract, situated in an urban canyon between two twenty-four story granite and glass office buildings, One Utah Center and the Wells Fargo Center, on the west, and a twelve-story Marriott hotel, on the east, contained a performance stage, scattered benches, modest landscaping, an array of unique art works, abstract sculptures including Katsuo Matsubayashi's famous "Astroid Landing Softly" and a small reflecting pool used for ice skating in winter. (77) Besides geographical proximity, a TRAX station and underground parking, the Gallivan Center had political advantages. It was virtually certain that the city would accept SLOC's offer inasmuch the city council also served as the city's Redevelopment Agency Board, which owned and operated the plaza, and several council members had already promised support to Bullock. There was also an Olympic connection. During the 2002 Games the plaza hosted Anheuser Busch's "Bud World," which attracted daily crowds upwards of 12,000 by offering beer, concerts and Olympic coverage on large television screens. (78)
The next day, August 23, Bullock announced SLOC's "preliminary concept" for the Gallivan Center. "We're delighted to be able to give this gift," he enthused. "Nothing exists like this anywhere in the world." There were three points of emphasis. First, there would be a new amphitheater with an expanded performance stage accommodating 7,000 people for concerts. Second, because Bullock believed the Hoberman, SLOC's sine qua non for inclusion in an Olympic memorial, was "really meant to be a kinetic sculpture" the arch would not be installed as a curtain on the stage, but instead would be stationed near the north edge of the plaza along 200 South Street. There, enclosed in a glass at a cost of $2 million as protection from weather or vandalism and raised by steel girders enabling people to walk beneath, it would serve as a dramatic, iconic entrance to the plaza. "It will really be displayed as a dynamic piece of sculpture," Bullock exclaimed. "It will open and close on a pretty frequent basis, and it will be lit at night." Third, a sixty-foot Gateway tower would mark the western entrance to the plaza while glass panels providing videos and textual descriptions of the Games would be interspersed among trees along 200 South. In deference to the future cauldron park, the replica cauldron would not be included. (79)
In contrast to the Pioneer Park plans, the Gallivan proposal met with widespread, enthusiastic support. SLOC was thrilled with the new venue. "I wish we'd started there in the first place," gushed Bullock. "It's right in the heart of downtown. That was probably one of the most important factors in our decision." He stressed the move was not a compromise: "Not at all. I think it's a different vision that's fantastic. It will be very Olympic in showcasing many of the memories of the Games, and the showcasing of the Hoberman arch will be absolutely spectacular." And SLOC's expenditure would be reduced from $6 to $4.5 million. The Salt Lake City Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Merchants Association also enthusiastically endorsed the proposal as stimulus to business development. City council members who feared Pioneer Park would never be approved were delighted. As council chair David Buhler put it: "The key is that we have an Olympic legacy downtown" All things considered, Buhler was "confident the council will embrace this with great enthusiasm." Mayor Anderson considered Gallivan too small and "too cluttered" to be an optimal legacy facility, but agreed it would "go through very quickly," adding: "This is going to be a place where people will always look back on the great success of the 2002 Winter Games." (80)
Not everyone agreed with the ambitious transformation of the urban plaza into an Olympic shrine. A Salt Lake Tribune column entitled "SLOC's $6 Million 'Gift' Is a Lousy Legacy for the Great Gallivan Center" concluded: "Worst of all, at the end of all this, Salt Lake City will not have a new park, a new place to congregate, a new path of genuine open space. We will have a slightly reconfigured cement slab in the middle of a few skyscrapers. Guess that fits our true Olympic legacy: lots of great expectations, but in the end, no big whoop." (81) Because the city had recently spent $6 million in RDA funds remodeling Gallivan, $14 million total for the nine-year old project, councilwoman Nancy Saxton questioned the wisdom of expending additional money on redesigning the facility to accommodate Olympic memorabilia. "It's hard to be as excited as I want to be about this gift," she admitted. "We're having to undo monies that have already been spent. I was hoping to get additional open space rather than reuse and redo." (82) Although the Tribune voiced concerns about Gallivan's "modest size" (it was judged too small for use as the Medals Plaza), the paper reluctantly supported the move because "the city has little else available" and, besides, "downtown needs a place to trigger happy memories of the 2002 Winter games, Salt Lake City's brief and shining fortnight on the world stage. If the design is right, the Gallivan Center is the right place." (83)
On October 8 Bullock unveiled SLOC's "conceptual master plan" for the Gallivan Center. It was a significant upgrade from the initial proposal. Instead of being encased in glass, the Hoberman Arch, supported by a secondary steel arch forty-five feet high and 200 feet long, would rise from a new reflecting pool, open and close hourly accompanied by Olympic music and be illuminated at night. A "Heroes Walk," a semicircle of seventeen large panels with narratives and photographs of both the Olympics and Paralympics, would wind through the plaza from Main Street to the front of the arch. The Gateway tower would now reach one hundred instead of sixty feet. Most significant, because SLOC was allocating most of its $5 million grant to the Hoberman Arch, "an architectural or sculptural icon unique in the world" according to Bullock, a significant financial contribution from the city would be required to complete the project. Specifically, SLOC asked the RDA to allocate $3 million to reconfigure the Gallivan Center into "a new and improved gathering spot that emphasizes the glory of the 2002 games." That entailed, among other things, building a four-tiered amphitheater, expanding the performance stage, removing the artwork and statuary, adding permanent restrooms and relocating the existing skating rink to make room for a new reflecting pool. SLOC would provide $200,000 for maintenance for five years, then the city would be obligated to maintain the Olympic artifacts and the revamped plaza. (84) Despite the radical redesign and unexpected financial obligations to the city, David Buhler said "it looks very promising. I've always felt that if we could land the Hoberman Arch it would be a real coup. This is the best plan I've seen for Gallivan Plaza." RDA director David Oka agreed: "It's a great design." But council vice chair Christensen demurred: "I'm disappointed that our contribution is getting so high. We need some justification." As always, time was a factor: groundbreaking was scheduled for November 1. (85)
With only two days notice from SLOC, the city council in its capacity as the Redevelopment Agency Board hurriedly convened on October 10 to consider spending $3.25 million to redesign the Gallivan Center. "It's a great vision for downtown," proclaimed Fraser Bullock. (86) But the majority of the citizens who commented on the proposal were either opposed or "expressed deep concerns;" current and former city officials as well as architects and artists also spoke against the proposal. Former RDA director Alice Steiner emphasized Gallivan was already successful facility: "If it works, don't mess with it," she reasoned. The Gallivan architect argued the undersized plaza was "the wrong location" for the massive arch. (87) Nancy Saxton tearfully begged "please do not tie our hands with this," imploring SLOC to donate the funds and the arch so the city could develop its own design. Dale Lambert, who joined Saxton in the minority, called the plan "unrealistic," predicting that the city would have to spend more than anticipated because construction costs were certain to exceed $3.25 million and the board had not calculated the additional costs of sound systems, restrooms, or maintenance. (88) In the end, SLOC's pressure took its toll as the board voted 5-2 to fund SLOC's proposal. Jill Remington Love, speaking for the majority, said "we owe it to the community to have an Olympic legacy downtown. We've exhausted our relationship with SLOC. I felt like if we didn't accept the gift that way, that night SLOC would have walked away." (89) Saxton agreed that the decision was based on the desire to retain Olympic memorabilia and secure a legacy park: "I think we feared we would lose the gift to Park City or to the University of Utah which already did get some of the money. We didn't want to embarrass ourselves by losing the gift or insult SLOC." (90)
Predictably, given the negative tone of the RDA meeting and concerns that Gallivan was being fast-tracked with little opportunity for public input, criticisms and "second thoughts" arose. By allocating funds to rework the Gallivan Center and accepting SLOC's plan before a final master design was completed, the city had handed Olympic officials a blank check to do as they wished with a treasured mid-town sanctuary. Gallivan was intended as a park, a downtown green space, but trees and shrubs, benches and floral trellises, and unique rock sculptures-everything that made Gallivan a tranquil, peaceful respite would be sacrificed for Olympic memorabilia. (91) John Pace, the architect who designed the Gallivan Center, was not alone in thinking that the urban oasis would become "a one-note Olympic extravaganza." City officials feared the substantial complaints already lodged by condominium owners and guests at the adjacent Marriott hotel during summer concerts would increase significantly with expanded musical events and larger crowds. (92) "We are getting a serious case of buyer's remorse admitted the Salt Lake Tribune on October 21. The paper contended plans endorsed by the RDA board not only "look far too grandiose" and will cost the city too much money, but also had "too many large elements" that will destroy Gallivan's "current intimacy and versatility as an urban gathering place." "The plans for remaking the Gallivan Center as an Olympic theme park are rushing forward too fast with too little consideration of project scale and cost," thought the Tribune. "The Salt Lake City Council needs to apply the brakes." RDA vice chair Jergensen, who had urged board members to authorize additional funding for SLOC's proposal, believed concerns "could best be resolved after the acceptance of the gift." (93) Famous last words: By mid-November the board considered applying the brakes as the quest for an Olympic legacy park met two formidable concerns.
The first issue involved United States Olympic Committee (USOC) regulations regarding marks and sponsorships. The initial problem was easily solved. In devising a name for Gallilvan that reflected its new purpose, Fraser Bullock avoided the word "Olympic" in christening "The Salt Lake 2002 Plaza at the Gallivan Center." (94) More difficult were sponsorship issues, which should not have been unexpected as SLOC and city officials had to deal with USOC commercial and logo regulations in preparation for the 2002 Games. Bullock initially did not think "there would be any restrictions" because the Olympic memorabilia would be distant from the stage. "If there's an event with a non-Olympic sponsor, we're just fine," he predicted. But he now advised the city that there had to be a "commercial free" zone around the Olympic memorabilia to prevent businesses without Olympic sponsorship contracts to be associated with Olympic marks. As USOC President Sandy Baldwin pithily put it: "We love the idea" of the park, "but you don't start selling Pepsi there." (95)
That meant henceforth the sponsors and concessionaires traditionally involved with the concerts and other Gallivan events would be unable to establish vending or sales venues or even display advertising or logos near the Olympic icons. That seemed impractical, as the icons would occupy the same space normally used by vendors. Bullock felt the Hoberman Arch was not a problem because it bore neither SLOC nor IOC logos. As for the other items, in particular the seventeen glass panels embedded with SLOC's snowflake crystal, he thought the problem could be easily resolved: "The simple solution is to cover up the [Olympic] logos whenever there's a commercial event." But Eric Jergensen thought draping the panels was impractical: "If we have to put shrouds or covers over the panels every time we have an activity ... it doesn't make any sense." (96) He was also uncertain whether the arch was a work of art or an actual Olympic icon. It did not contain any Olympic logos, but was intimately associated with the Games as the curtain for the Medals Ceremony stage.
Lamenting that "nothing's easy anymore" David Oka, director of the Redevelopment Agency, invited USOC attorney Dan Perini to Salt Lake for on-site visits and discussions of sponsorship issues with SLOC and the RDA pursuant to determining if anything at Gallivan would undermine association with the local sponsors. (Sponsorship conflict was not a concern at Olympic Cauldron Park. Although football games and other events at the stadium involved extensive commercial activities, the physical separation between the park and the stadium was sufficient to eliminate USOC sponsorship issues.) (97)
The second Gallivan problem was financial. By mid-November the city's financial obligation for the plaza had increased from $3.25 million to between $5.6 and $7.4 million. While approximately $2 million represented money the city would eventually have to spend on improvements for the facility, the funds were not part of current or projected fiscal planning. Nancy Saxton asked if SLOC would be willing to increase its allocation from $4.5 million to the original $6 million pledged to the city. Bullock declined, claiming that SLOC had plans for the remaining $1.5 million, possibly using some of it for the cauldron park. (98)
Given uncertainties about the Gallivan Center, talk of alternative sites again began to surface. Library Square, a four-acre tract adjacent to the new city library under construction, was simply too small; three-acres were needed for even a modest amphitheater. Washington Square, the ten-acre site where some 50,000 gathered in 1995 to witness the announcement of the 2002 bid announcement, was big enough but largely taken up by the historic 1894 Salt Lake City and County Building. Besides, the venerable landscaping of the grounds made significant modifications a physical and political impossibility. (99) Bullock termed "misguided" talk of moving the park to either location. (100) The Gallivan Center would be the site of the legacy plaza.
On Thursday, November 14, the city's Redevelopment Agency board met to consider additional funding to subsidize SLOC's plan for the Gallivan Center. The proposed budget hike was substantial, nearly double the increase authorized a month earlier. But the board's concerns focused more on the design problems caused by the sheer size of the Hoberman Arch and, especially, the continued involvement of non-Olympic sponsors and vendors for summer concerts. Since sponsorship questions would not be answered until USOC representatives arrived the following Monday, confusion and indecision reigned. No one in city government, it seemed, had a clear idea of what the legacy park should contain, where it should be located or the limits of financial commitment. To complicate matters, RDA'S deputy director Valda Tarbet presented a conceptual drawing placing the Hoberman Arch in the middle of a revamped thoroughfare between the city library and the city and county building. At that, Bullock threw up his hands: "We're not putting the arch in the middle of the street" Emboldened by the uncertainties about Gallivan, Rocky Anderson proposed the RDA reconsider Pioneer Park as home for the legacy center and requested two to three weeks to develop a new plan for the site. A visibly frustrated Fraser Bullock, who left before the meeting ended, again tossed his hands in the air shouting: "We proposed one thing, then another, now you don't know what you want" Much to his chagrin, the RDA board not only adjourned without a decision, but also decided to postpone further talks for "a two to three week period to allow discussions on other sites and the continued efforts to resolve the issues at the Gallivan Center." (101)
"And so the arduous journey toward picking a site for the heftiest Olympic memorabilia continues," mused the Salt Lake Tribune on October 20. "The downtown Gallivan Center, never a great choice, is now facing a slew of advertising restrictions which render it perhaps the worst choice. Clearly the city cannot force this intimate public center into the Olympic museum it envisions without compromises to both. It must consider alternatives." Salt Lake's leading daily then suggested--"in all seriousness"--turning a block-long stretch of a six-lane city street, 200 East between 400 and 500 South into an Olympic legacy plaza. The rationale: bordered on the east by the new city library complex and to the west by the park-like grounds of Washington Square, the street saw limited traffic; it would be easy to build underground parking to serve the library, the city-country building and the memorial plaza; there would be ample green space for the Hoberman Arch and other Olympic memorabilia; there was an adjacent TRAX station; and it would be an exclusively Olympic sanctioned area with no sponsorship restrictions. The haggling, concluded the Tribune, has gone on "far too long;" it was time to "start fresh" with an "integrated city complex" instead of trying to revamp existing facilities. It was an innovative idea, arguably offering the best solution for a downtown legacy park, but it was much too late for SLOC to consider an entirely new vision.
It was time for a decision. Eric Jergensen was adamant: "We want to have a legacy downtown. We're working hard to make it work. If it doesn't at Gallivan, we'll find a different place." (102) Fraser Bullock was thinking the same thing. There were three considerations that tried his patience. First, he was frustrated by dealings with a seemingly inflexible Historic Landmark Commission and an indecisive Redevelopment Agency. Second, the lack of consensus on the RDA board about whether the proposed dramatic changes to Gallivan's character was aesthetically, functionally, or financially desirable combined with the re-introduction of Pioneer as a possibility, convinced him that an expeditious decision about a site would not soon be forthcoming. Third, time was of the essence because the project had to be finalized before SLOC disbanded, a process virtually complete by the end of November. While SLOC would continue as a legal entity until the spring of 2003, as of December 1 the task of completing SLOC projects fell to two SLOC officials licensed as Ceremonial Legacies LLC--CEO Fraser Bullock and creative director Scott Givens, (103) Another timing consideration was personal: Bullock was increasingly anxious to move beyond the Olympics to pursue other interests and opportunities. (104)
Following the indecisive RDA meeting, Anderson and Bullock held a series of talks about the arch which, sponsorship issues aside, posed a problem for any site given its imposing dimensions. There were few realistic alternatives as SLOC had considered nearly every downtown location except the LDS church's Temple Square. (105) The mayor, convinced that Gallivan could not hold the arch, thought "it likely will end up at Rice-Eccles." Bullock would say only that the stadium at the University of Utah was "being considered" Should the arch go to Cauldron Park, Anderson believed Gallivan would still receive other Olympic memorabilia; Bullock agreed only that relocating the arch to the university would not "doom a smaller Olympic legacy project downtown." (106)
Olympic Cauldron Park
On December 5 Fraser Bullock announced the Hoberman Arch was going to the University of Utah. A few days before he had approached university officials about uniting the two primary Olympic icons, the arch and the cauldron, in the legacy park then under construction at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The university quickly accepted, and thus the presumed centerpiece of a large downtown Olympic memorial park, the most valuable piece of the city's legacy gift, the massive, technologically unique mechanical curtain, was destined for a small exhibit intended to memorialize the Olympic cauldron. University President Bernie Machen, who agreed to donate the land for the plaza, boasted: "This is a park that will become an attraction for those visiting our state. It will be a reminder to not only those at the U[niversity] and the members of the community, but also the whole world that we hosted what many have called the most successful Games ever." (107)
The announcement of the Hoberman's move to the university, thereby effectively quashing Olympic legacy plans for Gallivan or any other downtown location, prompted accusatory finger pointing. The Deseret News blamed political infighting between the mayor and city council members for losing a downtown memorial park, an opportunity to revitalize the economically distressed business district, and $6 million in urban development funds. (108) Council chair Dave Buhler, Rocky Anderson's chief antagonist, charged: "It's another opportunity lost really by the mayor" because his "trying to push it to Pioneer Park" had caused some RDA members to question Gallivan and thus postpone a decision. Anderson scoffed: "Mr. Buhler's going to try to blame me for everything in this city. If his toilet backs up, I think he's going to blame me." Angry that "this city lost a fantastic opportunity," the mayor asserted "if the Council would have backed off, we could have done it at Pioneer Park." He pointedly blamed Carleton Christensen and Eric Jergensen for "destructive and incompetent intermeddling--and incredibly poor judgment" in diverting SLOC's attention from Pioneer to Gallivan. "Had it not been for the interference of some council members," he asserted, "we would have had this $6 million investment in some very grand changes to Pioneer Park." Jergensen, who had persuaded Bullock to abandon Pioneer, agreed that Anderson's reintroduction of Pioneer Park had negatively impacted RDA discussions, but thought concerns about the effect of USOC sponsorships restrictions on summer concerts were responsible for undermining the Gallivan proposal. (109) Anderson agreed, but criticized the duo for not anticipating the problem: "They didn't do their homework. It was incredibly reckless." (110)
In a clear slap at SLOC, Anderson said he preferred the arch be located downtown, "but the preferences of city leaders and the business community don't seem to matter to these people making the decisions." Responded Bullock: "We don't want to impose our story on an area where it doesn't work to the satisfaction of all parties." (111) While Bullock admitted that SLOC was "a little disappointed" by not being able to locate the arch downtown, he insisted that the Hoberman's location did not change SLOC's plans for a downtown memorial, albeit likely on a smaller scale. Pledging "we're committed to doing something downtown," he mentioned placing a Gateway tower at the Main Street entrance to the Gallivan Center, but declined to speculate about other amenities or how much money might be available for the project. (112) City officials vowed "to work closely with SLOC to get Olympic representation, something very meaningful, in downtown Salt Lake City." (113) For now, however, SLOC was delighted that the Hoberman Arch had found a home at the University of Utah.
The decision to unite arch and cauldron necessitated expansion of the Olympic Cauldron Park. No longer a memorial to commemorate the school's contributions to the 2002 Games, it was now SLOC's major Olympic legacy, in Bullock's words "the destination that will tell the story of the Games." (114) The principal feature of the park, located in the small 1.35-acre plot between the south end of the stadium and a six-lane arterial street, would be the cauldron, reduced to seventy-two feet high and set back from its original location atop the south stands of the stadium to the front of a seventy-foot reflecting pool with water cascading down walls extending 150 feet to the east and west. (115) The names of the 2002 medalists would be engraved into the perimeter of the pool, while seventeen nine-foot high acrylic panels dubbed "17 Days of Glory," inscribed with descriptions of daily events on the obverse and pictures of Olympic athletes on the reverse, would line the exterior fence bordering 500 South. Because of its size, the Hoberman Arch would be situated just outside the parameters of the plaza and be illuminated nightly with colored lights. An enlarged visitor's center would contain photographs, plasma screens for viewing videos of selected events and a "multi-sensory" theatre boasting a nine-foot tall, thirty-six foot wide curved screen (three adjacent screens) showing "The Fire Within," an eight-minute Olympics highlight film enhanced by artificial fog, clouds and fluctuating temperatures. A Gateway tower would stand west of the visitor's center and, like the arch and the story panels, be lighted at night. (116) After nine frustrating months searching for a home for the arch, Bullock was both pleased and relieved the park would provide "a lasting legacy of the Games." Indeed, he predicted Olympic Cauldron Park would "be a mandatory stop for tourist buses and for Utahns looking to rekindle Olympic memories." (117)
Construction was far from complete on February 8, 2003, when despite freezing temperatures an estimated 12,000 to 15,000 celebrants gathered in the vicinity of the plaza to observe the first anniversary of the opening of the 2002 Winter Olympics. They were treated to an elaborate ceremony featuring Olympic medalists, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, a Native American drum circle and a twenty-two minute fireworks spectacular. The title of the celebration, "The Fire Still Burns," was apt as the cauldron burned for seventeen days, just as it had during the Games. (118) SLOC spent $700,000 on the celebration, prompting Fraser Bullock to confess: "We blew our budget this year. We don't have any money left." (119) The magnitude of the spectacular observance affirmed Olympic Cauldron Park as the official memorial legacy of the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.
Two days prior to the anniversary celebration, Bullock, perhaps with unintended irony, had presented preliminary plans for a downtown memorial to Mayor Anderson. The proposal called for the 100-foot Gateway tower from the Medals Plaza to be installed near the Main Street entrance to the Gallivan Center and a somewhat smaller tower along with thirteen story panels similar to those previously planned for Gallivan to be placed variously downtown. It was a marked departure from SLOC's initial insistence on a single memorial site, but as Bullock pointed out: "The focus has shifted." Anderson, ever determined to upgrade Pioneer Park, asked SLOC's help in building an ice skating rink at the park, but Bullock refused. Mayoral aide Josh Ewing tried to put a positive face on the minimalist proposal: "We'll have several real good reminders of the Games that visitors will be running into and residents can have pride about it for a long time." (120)
Bullock's final proposal came on April 15. The $1 million grant, far less than the original $6 allocated for a downtown memorial, provided for a 100-foot Gateway tower at the Main Street entrance of Gallivan Center wrapped in fabric with two images of generic athletes holding the Olympic flag and a sixty foot tower wrapped with a picture of a figure skater at the Delta Center, site of figure skating competitions. The base of each tower would be encircled by a concrete bench with two story panels as well as an unmarked ten-foot wide "no commercial" zone to avoid conflict with Olympic sponsorship rules. (121) (The Gallivan tower would stand near the Wells Fargo building that had housed SLOC headquarters.) Three, not thirteen, nine-foot acrylic story panels would be erected: one panel located near the ticket office and rear entrance to Abravanel Hall, home to the Utah symphony and host to several 2002 downtown cultural events, would identify Cultural Olympiad activities; two panels, around the corner near entrances to the Salt Palace convention center, would commemorate the main Olympic media center located there. (122)
It was a far cry from what SLOC and the city had envisioned twelve months earlier. Councilman Dave Buhler conceded the gift was " not at the grand sale that we once imagined, but it will still be a good remembrance of the Olympics." He waxed philosophically: "Sure, if I focus on the past I can feel disappointed. There were things that could've been better for downtown. I'd rather say the glass is half full than half empty." Ray Grant, former SLOC artistic director, disagreed. "We began with a willingness to spend between $4.5 and $6 million to help bring people together and help animate downtown. It's hard to imagine some photo panels animating downtown." (123) Mayor Anderson, no doubt thinking the glass was half empty as it once was filled with excellent possibilities, was also disappointed: "This city lost a fantastic opportunity." The Tribune concurred, suggesting the "real loser" in the legacy park fiasco would be the taxpayers; "public money," not SLOC's, would be needed to refurbish and modernize Pioneer Park and the Gallivan Center. (124)
An April 18 Deseret News editorial, "A Missed Chance for a Legacy" provided context for the denouement of Salt Lake's quest for a legacy park. "The Winter Olympics was a defining moment for Salt Lake City--a chance to permanently remake the city's identify. But the city has, to a large extent, squandered that opportunity." Conceding that the Hoberman Arch "is no Space Needle," the News argued that had it remained downtown in a facility that included an amphitheater and other Olympic memorabilia, "it could have been a lasting and impressive reminder of the largest, and most public and positive event ever staged in the area." Granting that the proposed downtown icons "will be important reminders of the Games" and that the city "will indeed retain some of the identity it gained during those three weeks in 2002," the paper concluded: "But it could have had so much more" The Salt Lake Tribune's editorial assessment three days later was blunt: "Because host city leaders balked at cramming the Hoberman Arch and other Olympic flotsam into Pioneer Park or Gallivan Plaza, Salt Lake City residents will have to make do with a $1 million package of picture panels at the Salt Palace, Gallivan Plaza, Abravanel Hall and the Delta Center." (125) Because the towers and story panels would be located on city property, they were the first and only Olympic items to come under the jurisdiction of the mayor and city council.
In contrast to Salt Lake's disappointment for failing to obtain a downtown legacy park, Ceremonies Legacies LLC hosted a three-day gala open house, August 21-23, to mark the official opening of Olympic Cauldron Park. Mitt Romney, who called the park "a remarkable legacy," returned from Massachusetts to light the cauldron, which burned for all three days. In keeping with International Olympic Committee restrictions, the cauldron was to burn in the future to commemorate the 2002 Olympics and celebrate the opening of subsequent Games, but because burning eight million BTUs per hour cost a prohibitive $5,000 per day, the famous icon was refitted so it could not be reignited. Similarly, the storied Hoberman Arch, which spectacularly opened and closed like the iris of an eye or lens of a camera, was welded shut. (126) Unlike the 2002 Opening Ceremony, the inauguration of Cauldron Park did not conclude with a bang; there were no fireworks as SLOC's funds were depleted in underwriting the elaborate, expensive display at the anniversary celebration. Following a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Bullock handed President Bernie Machen a $750,000 check to help with operating costs. Olympic Cauldron Park now belonged to the University of Utah. (127)
Upon conclusion of the festivities, Fraser Bullock declared the dedication of the park had completed SLOC's "vision to leave a lasting legacy of the Games." And Scott Givens, assessing the $12 million project, boasted: "Atlanta has its Olympic Park but [former host cities] haven't built something like this. This is probably the most elaborate single site a city has done. This is one of a kind, to our knowledge, in the world" With a sense of relief mixed with pride at the completion of his last Olympic assignment, he announced: ""I'm turning out the lights." (128)
Salt Lake's Memorial Park Redivivus
Salt Lake City at last had its Olympic memorial park. But instead of a spacious downtown commons featuring Olympic memorabilia, the host city got a visitor's center located in a compact, concrete plaza next to a football stadium. With the two primary Olympic icons, the cauldron and the arch, along with seventeen story panels, photo gallery and highlight film, Olympic Cauldron Park offered an iconically impressive and modestly informative representation of the 2002 Games. While conveniently adjacent to a TRAX line, the park was not located near downtown hotels, tourist attractions and retail areas. Consequently, it has not realized the expected attention or exposure. Attendance has never approached SLOC's predicted 100,000 annual visitors; indeed no effort is made to calculate patronage. (129) With an annual operating deficit of some $70,000, it has been financially burdensome for the university. (130) And absent the capacity to stage concerts, devoid of park-like greenery, and open to the public for only stipulated hours--never on Sunday--Olympic Cauldron Park was a far cry from the pastoral refuge and community gathering place envisioned as the memorial for the 2002 Games.
As for downtown Salt Lake, the few Olympic memorabilia--two towers and three story panels--are virtually invisible to residents and tourists alike. Indeed, the Olympic plaza at Gateway, containing no Olympic memorabilia or descriptive markers to convey the history of the Games, is the most recognizable and frequented legacy site as the Snowflake fountain attracts parents with children who delight in trying--or not trying--to dodge bursts of water. With a shopping mall playground as its most visible and visited Games-related remnant instead of a centrally-located, multifunctional memorial park, in terms of Olympic identification the 2002 host city is a veritable ghost city.
What had happened to the grandiose plans SLOC and the city had for an expansive downtown memorial park? Talk of a legacy park that began in 1996 amid the initial enthusiasm generated from having obtained the 2002 Games and the excitement of the just completed Atlanta Olympics failed to produce any planning, however preliminary, for what was to be Salt Lake's major noncompetition venue legacy. The financial ramifications of the bid scandal that diverted attention from a public facility to a private commercial project exacerbated the lack of foresight in making preparations. Once the prospect of obtaining a memorial park became a reality, persistent opposition from special interests groups, USOC regulations, and in-fighting between the mayor and members of the city council doomed the various proposals.
As in all historical studies, context is crucial in understanding Salt Lake's abortive quest for a legacy park. In the first instance, the city faced a major obstacle: there was no readily available space downtown for building a memorial park. Unlike Atlanta, Salt Lake City had no dilapidated, blighted, or abandoned areas eligible for eminent domain acquisition and urban renewal. Neither Earl Holding, ranked by Forbes in 2006 as the fifty-ninth richest person in America, nor the enormously wealthy Mormon church were willing to sell or donate their respective vacant blocks for an Olympic memorial park. (131) (Both parcels remain undeveloped in 2010.) Pioneer Park, the leading candidate, was heavily encumbered by special interests, and it was difficult to justify filling the city's oldest and largest downtown open space with sizable Olympic representations or cordoning off a large portion with high walls. Development of the historic park was a particularly sensitive issue as there frequently had been proposals for substantial alteration, including building a professional baseball stadium on site. (132) The Gallivan Center, an established urban oasis and summer concert destination, was too small, over accessorized and vulnerable to USOC sponsorship restrictions. Other potential sites, such as Library Square, Washington Square, or the Fair Park, were unacceptable. However, in the final analysis, none of the complications, individually or collectively, were sufficiently serious to prevent the 2002 host city from creating a downtown memorial park. Why, then, did the plans so fervently embraced by SLOC and city leaders fail to materialize?
SLOC was primarily responsible for the abortive park ventures. The conditions of the grant to Salt Lake made it clear from the beginning that it was not a matter of SLOC creating a legacy for the host city, but rather the city creating a memorial for SLOC. Thus, from the outset SLOC controlled both the planning and the funding. Olympic officials rejected the notion of providing the city with funds to build a memorial park that would meet SLOC's legacy desires, the city's needs and urban planning variables. From SLOC's perspective, it was unreasonable to relinquish funds to the city, even to an independent commission or foundation, without firm agreement on a master plan. But the insistence that it, not the city, would determine the content and configuration of a legacy park needlessly complicated difficulties inherent in trying to attach new purpose to existing facilities. Opposition from various community groups notwithstanding, the Historic Landmark Commission, supported by city officials, killed the Pioneer Park proposal because SLOC insisted on a large amphitheater. When SLOC finally realized its design limitations for Pioneer Park, it immediately repeated the same kinds of planning mistakes at the already cluttered Gallivan Center and at the ill-designed Olympic Cauldron Park. Visionary proposals such as turning the street between the new city library and the City and County Building into dedicated Olympic sanctuary were never on the table because SLOC's planners never thought beyond reconfiguring existing sites.
SLOC's intentions were laudable, but the execution was flawed. "The Organizing Committee wants to provide the city a turnkey cultural center" said Caroline Shaw. "We will construct it, develop it and program it for the first season. It's like building a house, then turning the key over to someone else." (133) But the blue prints for Pioneer Park and the Gallivan Center were drawn without due attention to the needs and requirements of the city. If the city wanted a legacy park, it would have to conform to SLOC's intentions and desires. When the city planner and SLOC's architect found a way to place the Hoberman Arch in the southwest corner of the park as a backdrop to an amphitheater, Bullock and Grant rejected the idea, insisting on a more prominent presence for the icon. (134) Other problems stemmed from the determination of Olympic organizers to close up shop as quickly as possible according to an arbitrary schedule that did not necessarily reflect their ongoing responsibilities. SLOC's self-imposed deadlines were responsible for the perceived inadequacy of public input regarding the Pioneer and Gallivan proposals as well as the decision-making process. SLOC's proposals were quickly revised to meet ever-changing design objections. "They're basically thinking on their feet," said Nancy Saxton. Because funding was contingent on SLOC's desires and deadlines, city officials were pressured, worried that the money and memorial might go elsewhere. As Saxton observed: "A public entity does not work its best results when we're trying to meet someone else's deadlines and standards." (135)
The Deseret News described sending the arch to the university, an act that effectively negated a substantial downtown memorial, as "an unfortunate legacy to squabbling among our elected city leaders." (136) The contentious dispute as to whether Pioneer Park or the Gallivan Center was the better choice for a legacy park was in part an expression of the ongoing antagonism between conservative, Republican, mostly Mormon members of the city council and the liberal, Democrat, ex-Mormon, former ACLU Board member mayor, whose effort to liberalize state's restrictive liquor laws for the 2002 Games included organizing bar hopping jaunts with journalists accompanied by the Utah Bikini team. In any event, city leaders were unable to set aside political and personality differences to create a consensus about the best way to create an Olympic legacy that would serve generations of Salt Lake and Utah citizens as well as visitors. The Deseret News was correct in arguing that democratic governments were "by nature inefficient," but at some point "real leadership has to take over and guide the process. In this case, it didn't happen." (137) It was much to ask: grudges between the mayor and council members continued unabated despite Anderson's landslide reelection to a second four-year term in 2003.
There was blame enough to go around. Fraser Bullock's frustration and desire to complete SLOC's work are understandable, but his petulance and impatience were unfortunate; time should not be an essential consideration when planning a legacy project that would serve the best interests of the city for generations. The words of those who criticized development of Pioneer Park, by far the best option, spoke to current apprehensions, not future possibilities. Descendants of Mormon pioneers and historic landmark commissioners objected to any modification of a run-down facility that lacked even the semblance of an historic site. Although nothing had been done for many years, not even by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, to convey the park's Mormon heritage, memory of what the park had been trumped its current reality--and future. Historic preservation of the site had not been protected or furthered; indeed periodic multiple use activities that included bocce and tennis courts, swimming pools and playgrounds compromised the park's aesthetic and conceptual integrity. The homeless and vagrants continued to inhabit the park without benefit of enhanced social services or adequate protection from robbery, assault, rape, even murder. Despite increased police patrols and surveillance cameras, it continued to be a hangout for those trafficking in drugs and prostitution. (138) Subsequent efforts to increase utilization of the park, such as Saturday's Farmer's Market, were successful only in terms of attendance at specific events. The Gallivan Center, while continuing as a popular urban oasis and summer activities destination, remained in need of upgrading and amenities. Controversies over Pioneer and Gallivan as the site of an Olympic legacy brought attention to, but not resolution of, the shortcomings of each facility. And perhaps some of the indecisiveness of government leaders and community organizations stemmed from the failure of the city's newspapers to take a clear editorial position on Pioneer Park or the Gallivan Center. Perhaps the organs of opinion might have created public support for a downtown location that would have made it less easy for SLOC to opt for Rice-Eccles stadium. And, in contrast to government leaders' willingness to seek public funding for Olympic venues, when plans for a major downtown memorial fell through no effort was made to obtain funding from city, county or state government to build a public monument to the most important event in Utah history. (139)
Shortly after the end of the 2002 Olympics, Mayor Rocky Anderson gave a speech entitled "How to host a fabulous Olympics" to a group in Baltimore that was contemplating a bid for the 2012 Summer Games. By year's end he was well equipped to advise Olympic hopefuls on how not to plan for large-scale community legacies. How the memorial park intended for downtown Salt Lake City wound up as a visitor's center distant from the city center at the University of Utah affords a case study of promises and pitfalls of creating an Olympic legacy. On one level the operative factors are obvious: Intransigency by civic groups, political infighting by city officials, the obduracy of Olympic officials and the realities, physical and practical, of the urban landscape.
But there is an underlying, intangible factor. Atlanta's Centennial Park was planned and partially completed before the 1996 Olympics, but efforts to create a park for Salt Lake City came only after the 2002 Games. That is a critical point. From the beginning, when Mayor Corradini proposed the idea of a memorial park in 1996, there was enthusiastic consensus about a legacy memorial park. Such accord was typical in preparing for the Games as community leaders, government officials and Olympic organizers readily put aside differences, joining together to produce one of the finest Olympics, summer or winter, in history. In February 2002 the Salt Lake Games were over; so, too, was the spirit of goodwill and cooperation that had marked the previous six years. It was soon business as usual. Quibbling and quarreling, protecting special interests, political infighting, advancing personal priorities and preferences combined to prevent creating the hoped-for commemorative legacy of the Games. The contrast between the cooperation and purposefulness exhibited in hosting the Games and the conflict and indecisiveness in seeking a memorial park is striking. Perhaps there was an Olympic backlash. Though Fraser Bullock assumed a continuation of unbridled enthusiasm for the Games, other members of the community tired of the Olympics and the effort that went into staging the great festival.
There was, perhaps, an even more fundamental factor. There was absolutely nothing in SLOC's job description regarding legacies. Indeed, Olympic organizers have no fiduciary interest in providing legacies for the host community; their concerns are the financial, logistical, and tangible requirements for staging the Games. That is why, like Mitt Romney, they typically regard competition venues and athlete housing as the primary Olympic legacies. If, as in Atlanta, the organizing committee joins forces early on with other entities, legacy planning can be effective, but if, as in the case of Salt Lake, the Olympic committee assumes sole responsibility after the Games are over, it likely will find itself working against rather than with the community in planning a memorial. Imagining an Olympic legacy as large and multifaceted as an Olympic park was deceptively easy in the abstract; the devil, as always was in the detail. Planning brought to the fore the passions, politics, preferences, prejudices, and partisanships that made up the political fabric of the community. Perhaps the principal lesson of the Salt Lake experience is this: Games-related facilities notwithstanding, Olympic organizing committees are generally not in the business of building community legacy memorials. (140)
Still, in the end, Salt Lake City got a legacy memorial, albeit considerably less than had been envisioned. Instead of a large park that would attract residents and visitors to the downtown Salt Lake City by providing expansive green space, a gathering place for concerts and other activities, and Olympic memorabilia that would perpetuate the memory of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, the host city got a poorly designed, infrequently visited out of the way plaza. However, considering the complications with Pioneer and Gallivan, not to mention the paucity of downtown alternatives, perhaps a memorial facility containing the iconic cauldron and arch located adjacent to the stadium that hosted the 2002 Opening and Closing Ceremonies was the most eligible place to relive the glory of the Games. Fraser Bullock was wrong in predicting Olympic Cauldron Park would "be a mandatory stop for tourist buses and for Utahns looking to rekindle Olympic memories," but he was right in calling it "the destination that will tell the story of the Games." (141)
Since 2002 Salt Lake's quest for a downtown Olympic legacy has continued without success. In August 2005 it was proposed to include an Olympic Spirit Center, replete with interactive sport simulations, similar to the one that opened in Toronto in 2004 in the downtown City Creek shopping mall then under construction. Nothing came of the proposal, which was probably just as well as the Toronto facility closed the following year. (142) In 2006 Fred Ball, who was president of the Salt Lake City Chamber of Commerce in 2002, proposed relocating Olympic Cauldron Park to an unspecified downtown location, enumerating the various benefits including accessibility and aesthetic enhancement. (143) It was a bald admission that SLOC and the city had blown a golden opportunity, but the notion of an Olympic memorial park in downtown Salt Lake City was an idea whose time had passed. More recently, discussions between Deedee Corradini and H. David Burton, presiding bishop of the LDS church, have resulted in an agreement to install some kind of Olympic memorial in the City Creek project, owned by the Mormon church, upon completion in 2012. And talks are underway with the director of the Salt Lake City international airport to place some kind of Olympic memorial in that facility. (144)
What of the two failed locations? In April 2010 the RDA authorized an $8 million wholesale redesign of the Gallivan Center, necessitating relocation of the popular Twilight Concert Series for the summer of 2010, and perhaps beyond, to Pioneer Park. On Wednesdays and Thursdays during July and August, portable fencing enclosed the perimeter of the park; a semi-permanent stage was situated in the northwest corner of the park so as to avoid traffic noise. On concert days police surveillance teams cleared the area of "daytime sleepers and campers." A Tribune reporter wondered "if Mormon settlers ever imagined caterwauling guitars or crowds of 16,000 people" in the historic park. DUP officials made no comment. Mayor Ralph Becker said hosting the concerts contributed to making the park "a jewel in the middle of our city" and the owner of an adjacent restaurant said it helped "make this neighborhood feel more friendly and approachable." (145) Indeed, moving the summer concert series has been seen as nothing short of a "renaissance" heralding a new era for the venerable park as a community gathering place. (146) The passage of time does make a difference.
(1) For a brief overview of the Salt Lake Games, see Lex Hemphill, "Salt Lake City 2002: XIXth Olympic Winter Games," in Larry R. Gerlach, The Winter Olympics: From Chamonix to Salt Lake (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2004), 304-315. Salt Lake hosted the Paralympics March 7 to 16, but there were no plans to create a legacy memorial to the Games. However, Salt Lake's city council and the Rotary Club funded a playground in Liberty Park to celebrate the Paralympics and its athletes. The unique "Play Park" featured equipment that allowed children with and without physical disabilities to play together. Atlanta's Centennial Park has a similar playground facility.
(2) This essay draws substantially from government records and personal interviews, but rests primarily on Salt Lake's two daily newspapers, the Deseret News and the Salt Lake Tribune. Both papers covered major events, but due to a significance difference in content, I have cited only the News because of its vastly superior online archive. The papers of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee in the University of Utah library have not yet been processed. To date, they are uninventoried and uncatalogued, thus unavailable to researchers. Though SLOC donated its papers to the University of Utah, it gave no funds for processing. Somewhat in the same vogue is the fact that although SLOC gave major competition venues to the city and established a very modest endowment to support their annual operation, no funds were advanced for maintenance, repairs, replacements, or upgrades. The small endowmenet will soon run out-what then?
(3) See Richard Cashman, "Olympic Legacy in an Olympic City: Monuments, Museums and Memory," in: Global and Cultural Critique: Problematizing the Olympic Games, eds. Robert K. Barney et al., (London, ON: International Centre for Olympic Studies, 1998), 107-113.
(4) C. Richard Yarborough, And They Call Them Games: An Inside View of the 1996 Olympics (Atlanta, GA: Mercer University, 2000), 5-6; Mark Banta, general manager of Centennial Olympic Park, interview by Larry R. Gerlach, Atlanta, Georgia, August 4, 2010; http://www.centennialpark.com/ about/park_history.html.
(5) Deseret News, 2 August 1996. Day joined George State University in 1969 as a professor of Counseling and Psychological Services; he resigned in 1992 to join the Atlanta Olympic Committee; http://www.gsu.edu/president/31055.html.
(6) Deedee Corradini, interview with Larry R. Gerlach, Salt Lake City, 16 July 2010; Deseret News, 17 July 1996.
(7) Ibid., and 30 July 1996; Salt Lake Tribune, 21 January 2002.
(8) Andrew Jennings, The Great Olympic Swindle: When the World Wanted Its Games Back (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000). In addition, city leaders were increasingly wary of financial issues because of concerns about the legal shortcomings of the contract with the state that was to provide indemnification to the host city for cost associated with the Olympics. Ross C. "Rocky" Anderson, interview by Larry R. Gerlach, Salt Lake City, 14 July 2010. Hereafter Rocky Anderson interview.
(9) Deseret News, 12 and 14 December 1999; ibid., 28 October 2001.
(10) The Boyer Company, Kem Gardner and Roger Boyer, developers of The Gateway, provided the estimated $5 million cost of the memorial. Gardner, Romney's close friend, helped him acquire property and money from the LDS Church to construct the downtown Medals Plaza. Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News, 20 August and 11 November 2001; Salt Lake Tribune, 21 January 2002.
(11) Brick sales fell far short of SLOC's anticipated $1.25 to $1.50 million. By August 2001 only 11,500 bricks had been purchased; sales topped in May 2002 at 18,000 ($90,000), far fewer than Atlanta's 486,000 which generated some $10 million. Deseret News, 20 July 2000, 16 June and 11 November 2001, and 10 May 2002; Salt Lake Tribune, 21 January and 20 August 2001; http://www.centennialpark.com.
(12) Deseret News, 20 August 2001.
(13) Ibid., 11 November 2001 and Salt Lake Tribune, 21 January 2002. A "Wall of Honor" containing more than 30,000 names of 2002 Olympic and Paralympic volunteers, staff members and ceremony participants etched onto nearly three dozen stone panels at Gateway's Olympic plaza was added in February 2003. Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune, 8 February 2003.
(14) Salt Lake Tribune, 21 January 2002.
(15) Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News, December 8 and 11, 2001and January 17, 2002; New York Times, 25 February 2002.
(16) The sandstone bricks proved highly erodible, so masonry bricks were substituted. Deseret News, 16 June and 20 August 2001 and 10 May 2002.
(17) Mark Banta email to Larry R. Gerlach, August 16, 2010; Yarborough, And They Call Them Games, 5; Salt Lake Tribune 21 January 2002.
(18) Corradini interview.
(19) Deseret News, 6 August 1996.
(20) Salt Lake Tribune, 21 January 2002.
(21) Kate Zernike, "Olympics: The Man in Charge: Romney's Future After Salt Lake A Guessing Game," New York Times, 12 February 2002. For details, see his memoir as SLOC president, Mitt Romney with Timothy Robinson, Turnaround: Crisis, Leadership, and the Olympic Games (Washington, D. C.: Regnery Publishing, 2004). Romney stepped down after the Paralympics to run for governor of Massachusetts. Deseret News, 20 and 29 March 2002.
(22) The primary competition venues were the Olympic Oval, ice skating; Utah Olympic Park, ski jumping and sledding; and Soldier Hollow, cross country and biathlon. The Delta Center, an existing facility, hosted figure skating and hockey.
(23) Ibid., 26 April 2002.
(24) Designed by Chuck Hoberman, world renowned for his transformative sphere toys, the semi-circular aluminum arch was made up of ninety-six translucent acrylic panels edged in metal that opened and closed like the iris of an eye or camera lens. Two thirty-horsepower engines controlling eight cables operate the arch; http://www.alunet.net/shownews.asp?ID =809&type=3.
(25) Deseret News, 26 March 2002.
(26) Rocky Anderson interview.
(27) For Holding's controversial acquisition of land for his ski resort from the U.S. Forest Service, see Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele, "Snow Job," Sports Illustrated, 10 December 2001, 80ff.
(28) Deseret News, 31 May 2002.
(29) Historic Landmark Commission Minutes, 5 June 2002, 13-14. Case No. 015-02, Box 13710, Salt Lake City Planning and Zoning Department, City and County Building, Salt Lake City, Utah. Hereafter Case No. 015-02, SLC Planning Department. Deseret News, 26 April 2002.
(30) Rocky Anderson interview.
(31) Salt Lake Tribune, 25 May 2002.
(32) Pioneer Park was not, as is usually stated, the first Mormon encampment. There were two previous camps established by the initial parties into the valley; the main group led by Brigham Young followed and set up camp at what is now 300 South and 300 West.
(33) Salt Lake Tribune, 25 May 2002; Deseret News, 26 April and 31 May 2002. The mayor's office posted answers to frequently asked questions in an online document, "Proposed Olympic Legacy Cultural Center at Pioneer Park," http://www.slcgov.com/mayor/oly_cultural_center.htm.
(34) Jan Striefel of Landmark Design in Salt Lake City.
(35) Deseret News, 31 May and 22 June 2002.
(36) On the park's multiuse heyday, see John Florez, "Pioneer Park has history of bringing people together," ibid., 19 July 2010.
(37) Ibid., 22 and 28 August, 1996.
(38) Ibid., 19 June 2002.
(39) Salt Lake Tribune, 25 May 2002; Deseret News, 22 June 2002.
(40) Salt Lake Tribune 25 May 2002.
(41) The marker, 7 feet tall and 4 feet by 6 inches wide, contains three descriptive plaques; the larger one describes the settlement and the smaller ones respectively pay homage to the women and children in Brigham Young's company.
(42) Salt Lake Tribune 25 May 2002.
(43) The three-person First Presidency is the highest governing body in the LDS Church. In 2002 the First Presidency was composed of President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor Thomas B. Monson, who became president in 2008, and Second Counselor James E. Faust.
(44) Rocky Anderson interview.
(45) Deseret News, 6 June 2002.
(46) Deseret News, 7 July 2002.
(47) Ibid., 17 June 2002.
(48) Office of the Mayor, Press Release, May 31, 2002 and undated flyer announcing opening houses to discuss the Pioneer Park proposal, Case No. 015-02, SLC Planning Department.
(49) Salt Lake Tribune, 2 June 2002; Downtown Alliance Board of Trustees to Mayor Anderson, June 28, 2002, Case No. 015-02, SLC Planning Department.
(50) Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune, 4 June 2002.
(51) Historic Landmark Commission Agenda and Minutes, 5 June 2002, 12-17, Case No. 015-02, SLC Planning Department; Deseret News, 6 June 2002. The two outdoor summer concert venues were the Gallivan Center, located in center city, and Red Butte Garden, an arboretum and botanical garden at the University of Utah with lawn seating for 3,000
(52) Ibid, 31 May 2002; Salt Lake Tribune 6 July 2002.
(53) Deseret News, 17 June 2002.
(54) Upon the death of founder Joseph Smith in 1844, the Mormon church split over electoral or hereditary leadership succession. One group headed by Brigham Young, eventually established headquarters in Utah as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; the other group, headed by Joseph Smith, Jr., son of the founder, established headquarters in Independence, Missouri, and was known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints until changing its name to the Community of Christ in 2001.
(55) Goldsmith and the landscape architect had their crews count and identify every tree in the park to determine their value. Stephen Goldsmith, interview by Larry R. Gerlach, Salt Lake City, July 14, 2010.; Salt Lake Tribune, 5 June 2002.
(56) Ibid., 20 and 22 June 2002.
(57) Memo from Stephen Goldsmith to Elizabeth Giraud, 20 June 2002 and "Pioneer Park Olympic Legacy Proposal," 21 June 2002, Case No. 015-02, SLC Planning Department.
(58) Landmark Commission Meeting Minutes, 3 July 2002, ibid.
(59) Deseret News, 22 June 2002.
(60) Ibid., 7 July 2002.
(61) Larry R. Gerlach, "The 'Mormon Games:' Religion, Media, Cultural Politics, and the Salt Lake Winter Olympics," Olympika: The International Journal of Olympic Studies, XI (2002), 4-5, 20-22l.
(62) Salt Lake City Weekly, 18 July 2002. Hereafter City Weekly.
(63) Salt Lake Tribune, 16 July 2002; Deseret News, 20 July 2002.
(64) Ibid., 16 July 2002.
(65) Ibid., 12 and16 July 2002; City Weekly, 18 July 2002; Salt Lake Tribune, 20 July 2002.
(66) City Weekly, 18 July 2002.
(68) Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News, 23 July 2002.
(69) Rocky Anderson interview; Deseret News, 23 August 2002.
(70) City Weekly, 15 August 2002.
(71) Ibid., 23 August 2002. The stage of the band-shell in the park conformed to city zoning ordinances. Undated memo from Larry Butcher, Zoning Administration, to Stephen Goldsmith, Case No. 015-02, SLC Planning Department.
(72) Historic Landmark Commission Minutes, 7 August 2002, 17-18, Case No. 015-02, SLC Planning Department.
(73) Goldsmith interview.
(74) City Weekly, 15 August 2002; Salt Lake Tribune, 16 August 2002.
(75) Deseret News, 16 and 23 August 2002.
(76) Ibid., 23 August 2002.
(77) For the Gallivan Center, officially known as the John W. Gallivan Utah Center Plaza, see Salt Lake Tribune, 23 August 2002 and Deseret News, 13 September 2002; http://www.slcrda.com/Third/CBD_Case_Studies/Gallivan _Center_Final.htm
(78) Deseret News, 24 January and 25 February 2002.
(79) Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News, 24 August 2002.
(80) Ibid; Anderson interview.
(81) Dan Nailen, Salt Lake Tribune, 27 August 2002.
(82) Deseret News, 23 August 2002; Salt Lake Tribune, 15 September 2002. Initial construction cost was $8,061,651; the remodel completed in 1998 cost $5,628,064 for a total expenditure of $13,689,645.
(83) Salt Lake Tribune, 1 September 2002.
(84) Ibid., 13 September 2002.
(85) Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune, 9 October 2002; Deseret News, 11 October 2002; Salt Lake Tribune, 21 October 2002.
(86) Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune, 9 October 2002.
(87) Salt Lake Tribune, 23 October 2002.
(88) Redevelopment Agency Board minutes, October 10, 2002, 5-14; http:// www.slcrda.com/Second/2002_Minutes_and_Agendas.htm; Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News, 11 October 2002.
(89) Deseret News, 11 October 2002.
(90) City Weekly, 24 October 2002.
(91) Salt Lake Tribune, 21 October 2002.
(92) Ibid., 11 October 2002; City Weekly, 24 October 2002.
(93) Redevelopment Agency board minutes, November 14, 2002, http:// www.slcrda.com/Second/2002_Minutes_and_Agendas.htm; 13.
(94) Deseret News, 24 August and 15 September 2002.
(95) Deseret News., 20 June 2002; Daily Utah Chronicle, 21 August 2002.
(96) Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News, 14 November 2002.
(97) Deseret News, 14 November 2002.
(98) Salt Lake Tribune 13 September and 14 November 2002.
(99) Ibid. For the City and County Building, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Salt_Lake_City_and_County_Building; for the city library, see http:// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salt_Lake_City_Public_Library
(100) Deseret News, 14 November 2002.
(101) Redevelopment Agency Board minutes, November 14, 2002, http:// www.slcrda.com/Second/2002_Minutes_and_Agendas.htm, 5-10; Desert News, 14 and 15 November 2002.
(102) Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune, 14 November 2002.
(103) LLC is the acronym for a Limited Liability Corporation. Although Creative Legacies after December 1 legally replaced SLOC as the agency responsible for the Olympic memorials, I have continued to use "SLOC" in order to avoid confusion and because Creative Legacies was acting on behalf of SLOC.
(104) Rocky Anderson interview.
(105) SLOC initially offered the Hoberman Arch to the Mormon Church, ostensibly because the Medals Plaza had been located on a church-owned parking lot. Church officials gave some attention to designing a cover for the arch, but declined interest after reviewing the facility (Deseret News, 31 July 2002; Salt Lake Tribune, 1 August 2002).
(106) Deseret News, 4 December 2002; Salt Lake Tribune 5 December 2002.
(107) Daily Utah Chronicle, 21 August and 19 September 2002; Salt Lake Tribune, 3 October 2002.
(108) Deseret News, 6 December 2002.
(109) Eric Jergensen, interview by Larry R. Gerlach, Salt Lake City, 15 May 2010.
(110) Rocky Anderson, email to Larry R. Gerlach, 12 July 2010; Deseret News, 6 December 2002; Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News, 19 April 2002.
(111) Ibid., 5 and 6 December 2002.
(112) Deseret News, 4 December 2002.
(113) Salt Lake Tribune, 6 December 2002.
(114) In addition to hosting the Opening and Closing Ceremonies at Rice-Eccles, the university was the site of the athlete's village, several cultural events and athlete training facilities. Deseret News, 16 December 2002; Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News, 21 January 2003.
(115) Salt Lake Tribune, March 21, 2002. The 37,000-pound steel frame tower is made up of 738 ceramic double-paned glass panels and interlaced with twenty-three water, gas, air and electrical pipes. For the cauldron, see Stephanie Smith, Creating the Cauldron: Salt Lake 200 Olympic Winter Games (Universal City, CA: WET Design, 2003).
(116) Daily Utah Chronicle, 21 August and 19 September 2002; Salt Lake Tribune, 3 October 2002.
(117) Salt Lake Tribune, 6 December 2002 and 5 May 2003; Deseret News, 16 December 2002 and 21 August 2003.
(118) Salt Lake Tribune, 21 January 2003; Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune 2 and 9 February 2003.
(119) Deseret News, 9 and 23 February 2003.
(120) Ibid., 7 February 2003.
(121) The gift included $20,000 to maintain the towers for seven years at which time the city could either continue to fund or dismantle the icon. Redevelopment Agency Board minutes, 17 April 2002, 3-4; http://www.slcrda.com /Second/2002_Minutes_and_Agendas.htm; Deseret News, 18 April 2003.
(122) Salt Lake Tribune, 18 April 2003.
(123) Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune, 16 and 18 April 2003.
(124) Ibid., 19 April 2003.
(125) Ibid., 21 April 2003.
(126) Ibid., 9 January and 6 December 2002, 15 May and 21 and 23 August 2003; Deseret News, 18 and 21 August 2003.
(127) In addition to donating the land, the University of Utah accepted responsibility for operating and maintaining the facility on the assumption that ticket sales and interest from a $1 million endowment forthcoming from SLOC would cover the costs.
(128) Deseret News, 31 July and 18 August 2003; Salt Lake Tribune, 18 August 2003. The unexpectedly high cost of the project included expensive film production and a $1 million maintenance grant to the university.
(129) Deseret News, 18 August and 21 September 2003. Given steadily declining patronage over the years, park officials eliminated attendance tabulations and fees for viewing the highlight film.
(130) Kristine Holt, University of Utah Stadium and Event Services, email to Larry R. Gerlach, 21 June 2010. The annual deficit of cost figures to the University are as follows: 2004 ($1,503); 2005 ($22,375); 2006 ($51,955); 2007 ($62,015); 2008 ($50,194); 2009 ($49,306). In effect, the Park has has lost money every year and faces even greater deficits soon as maintenance costs increase.
(131) For R. Earl Holding, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Holding; Church assets were an estimated $30 billion in 1997. See David Van Biema, "Kingdom Come," Time Magazine, August 4, 1997; http://www .time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,986794,00.html
(132) Salt Lake Tribune, 6 January 1993.
(133) City Weekly, 18 July 2002.
(134) Goldsmith interview.
(135) Ibid., 24 October 2002.
(136) Deseret News, 18 April 2003.
(138) Salt Lake Tribune, 2 February, 2 and 12 September 2009; Deseret News, 19 March and 27 April 2010.
(139) In 1989, six years before Salt Lake won the 2002 bid, taxpayers authorized the legislature to appropriate $59 million to build three primary competition venues. Countless millions more of public money was contributed as cash and services. Although public funding for historic sites is commonplace, no effort was made to memorialize the Olympics. However, the state legislature was all too eager in 2007 to channel $35 million in tax money toward building a professional sport soccer stadium.
(140) For example, the Calgary 1988, Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Olympic Parks are collections of sports venues. See http://www.winsportcanada.ca; http://www.sydneyolympicpark.com.au; http://www.athens-today.com/ e-olimpica_marussi.htm.
(141) Deseret News, 16 December 2002.
(142) Ibid., 29 August 2005; Salt Lake Tribune, 30 August 2005; http://www.cbc.ca/ canada/toronto/story/2006/07/20/olympic-spirit-closure.html.
(143) Deseret News, 3 December 2006.
(144) Corradini interview. Inclusion of an Olympic memorial stemmed from discussions between Corradini and H. David Burton, presiding bishop of the LDS church.
(145) Ibid., 26 April and 2 May 2010; Salt Lake Tribune, 28 and 30 April 2010.
(146) Deseret News, 19 July 2010.
Larry R. Gerlach *
* Larry R. Gerlach is professor of history at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Title Annotation:||Salt Lake City, Utah|
|Author:||Gerlach, Larry R.|
|Publication:||Olympika: The International Journal of Olympic Studies|
|Article Type:||Case study|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2010|
|Previous Article:||International Centre for Olympic Studies: by-laws.|
|Next Article:||'A virtual world government unto itself': uncovering the rational-legal authority of the IOC in world politics.|