The head of the Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce has taken over fund-raising duties for Utah's Olympic effort and is trying to come up with another $1 million before the site of the 1998 Winter Games is named next spring.
"We're going to get very, very involved," Fred Ball, the chamber's president and chief executive officer, promised about 100 members gathered Tuesday for a breakfast program on the Olympics.The Salt Lake Olympic Bid Committee plans to announce the details of Ball's appointment as vice chairman of community relations before the end of the year. Ball was named to the organization's executive committee last Friday.
Ball replaces Pat Shea, a former state Democratic Party chairman, on the executive committee. Shea resigned earlier this month, complaining that he had not been kept up-to-date on the bid committee's finances.
Those concerns are apparently shared by others involved in the Olympic effort, including Gov. Norm Bangerter and Salt Lake Mayor Palmer DePaulis, who have met privately to discuss the situation.
But Tom Welch, executive director of the bid committee, said after the breakfast the decision to turn over some of his duties to Ball was "not specifically" in response to those concerns.
"There are no differences between me and the governor and the mayor in what we're trying to accomplish," Welch said. "It's an effort we're all in, and we're trying to find the best way to do this.
"This is a step in the right direction," Welch said of Ball's new position. "We have continually looked for opportunity to spread the involvement."
Welch said Ball is responsible for developing programs to encourage community participation in winning the support of the International Olympic Committee.
Right now, participation means money. Welch said the bid committee has just taken out a $75,000 short-term loan to help cover the expenses of bringing IOC members to visit Salt Lake City.
All but $90,000 of a $400,000 loan taken out earlier by the bid committee has been paid off, Welch said, and there is about $300,000 in outstanding pledges yet to be collected.
Kem Gardner, chairman of the bid committee's fund-raising committee, told the breakfast that the $2.7 million already collected from the community is not enough.
Gardner said the bid committee needs to bring as many of the 94 members of the IOC as possible to Salt Lake City before they meet in Birmingham, England, next June to choose the site of the 1998 Winter Games.
"That's the secret of this thing and we missed it in the budget," Gardner said. "What we don't have and what we didn't plan for was to bring so many to Salt Lake."It costs as much as $20,000 to bring an IOC member to Utah for a few days of sightseeing in Salt Lake, Park City and surrounding areas that would be used for Olympic events, Gardner said.
Without an additional $1 million, he said some of the invitations extended to IOC members would have to be canceled. "That's going to be embarrassing, if we have to start dropping people off," Gardner said.
An East Coast fund-raiser hosted by Utah Sens. Jake Garn and Orrin Hatch scheduled for next March is expected to bring in $500,000 of the $1 million goal.
Breakfast attendees got an opportunity to do their part in coming up with the remaining $500,000 when Alan Barnes pitched skis, commemorative coins, sweat shirts, bid books and other Olympic memorabilia.