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Ice Sheet Authority putting grand opening plans on ice Seven Peaks gala postponed due to SLOC scandal

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 12 1999 12:00 a.m. MST

PROVO -- Interested in putting some distance between the troubled Salt Lake Olympic Committee and the local venue, the Provo/Utah County Ice Sheet Authority has decided to slide back the grand opening of the ice sheets at Seven Peaks a few months. Members of the authority voted Monday to hold a grand opening April 29 instead of the originally planned Feb. 24. Utah County Commissioner David Gardner, the authority member in charge of the grand opening activities, said in lieu of all of the problems the Salt Lake committee is experiencing, "the more distance the better. "I don't think we want to have our venue associated with all of the garbage in Salt Lake." Fellow commissioner and authority member Gary Herbert agreed that it makes sense to wait if only until new members of SLOC are appointed who can then attend the festivities. Also, Herbert said he believes a grand opening is more appropriate for a facility when it's fully completed. Only the south ice sheet is finished at the Seven Peaks facility and construction has slowed for a number of reasons on the north ice sheet. "Let's have it completely punched up (for the grand opening)," Gardner said. "No construction barriers out and the landscaping in." "We could keep the pressure on to finish and then have another event in the fall," Provo Mayor Lewis Billings said. Authority member Jane Carlisle said she thinks it will be strange to hold a grand opening for an ice sheet with the sounds of a busy water park behind the scene. Other board members argued that since the ice sheet is open to the public, it's counterproductive to wait for the official grand opening. Gardner and Carlisle said it's critical that a date be selected so the committee can move ahead with securing exhibition teams, individual performers and caterers. The motion to rescheduled the opening to April 29 passed unanimously. The celebration will go from 10 a.m. to noon. "Hopefully, there'll be no slipping and sliding on this one," Gardner said. He said he expects it will cost about $25,000 to host the grand opening, which will include give-a-way Games pins, catered refreshment, exhibition ice dancing, ice hockey and figure skating, an appearance from Gov. Mike Leavitt and the unveiling of Olympic flags.

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