Trustees divvy up new SLOC surplus

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 18 2002 12:17 p.m. MDT

The Salt Lake Organizing Committee will go out of business at the end of October after posting more than $100 million in profits from the 2002 Winter Games.

Members of the SLOC Board of Trustees met for the last time Wednesday and divvied up the most recent surplus, reported at $16 million.

That's on top of the $56 million surplus in the $1.3 billion Games budget announced by organizers in April. It comes from not having to tap the $6 million contingency fund set aside after the Games as well as from other savings and favorable settlements.

Add in the value of the furniture, food, equipment and other contributions made to charities and Olympic venues, plus the sponsor-supplied goods that will be turned over to the U.S. Olympic Committee, and the total profit reaches slightly more than $100 million, SLOC said.

"Some people might say I'm stretching things a little bit," SLOC President Fraser Bullock told trustees. "But this is a magic number."

Plans for the latest surplus approved Wednesday include expanding the Olympic caldron park set to be built outside Rice-Eccles Stadium at the University of Utah and setting up a $1 million endowment to fund annual community parties.

The bulk of the money — $6.5 million — will go to the Utah Athletic Foundation. The foundation, which took over Olympic facilities after the Games, already is expecting $70 million from SLOC.

The foundation was expected to agree later Wednesday to also assume responsibility for Soldier Hollow, the cross-country skiing and biathlon venue located in Wasatch Mountain State Park near Midway.

"We want no white elephants," Bullock said.

The foundation was also to pick up the organizing committee's remaining duties, including work on what will be the most visible legacy from the Games, a pair of parks planned for Salt Lake City.

Only nine employees should be on the SLOC payroll by the end of October. They will continue to work on the legacy projects, wrapping up SLOC business as foundation employees.

That business includes making the final $5.7 million payment to the U. for the use of student housing for athletes and Rice-Eccles Stadium for the opening and closing ceremonies. The payment wasn't due until mid-2005 but will now be made before Jan. 31, 2003.

SLOC had been aiming to go out of business by the end of the year, much sooner than organizing committees from previous Games had been able to do. Bullock said organizers will make their final report on the Games to the International Olympic Committee in November.

The Olympic caldron park at the U., already funded by a $2.1 million donation from the George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation, would grow considerably under SLOC's plan.

The park, originally planned for a small area southwest of Rice-Eccles Stadium, will now take up the entire south side of the stadium. The 72-foot steel and glass tower that held the Olympic flame in the stadium will be its centerpiece.

A section of the park is scheduled to be completed in time for a celebration next Feb. 8 that will include the lighting of the caldron for the time since it was extinguished after the Paralympic Games for disabled athletes ended in March.

The rest of the park, which will also feature a visitors center, gift shop and restaurant as well as walkways and landscaping to block traffic noise from 500 South, is supposed to be completed by August 2003.

SLOC trustees also heard the latest plans for a legacy park in downtown Salt Lake City.

Some $4.5 million will be spent to upgrade the plaza's existing stage and install the Hoberman Arch, a mechanical curtain that was used at the temporary Medals Plaza stage during the Games.

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