Four small yard signs protesting the proposed site of a speed-skating oval appeared Monday on the first full day that members of the International Olympic Committee's site evaluation team spent in Salt Lake City.
The eight I0C officials scheduled to be here through Wednesday to determine whether the city is capable of hosting the 1998 Winter Games weren't expected to pass by the homemade signs along 1300 East near 800 South.Don Gren, a member of the group formed to protest putting the speed-skating oval on Guardsman's Way next to the Veterans Administration Medical Center, said the signs weren't intended to hurt Utah's chances of getting the Olympics.
"We want the International Olympic Committee to know we support the Olympics. But we want them to know not all is well in the planning for the Olympics," Gren said on behalf of the Committee to Save Our Neighborhood.
The four signs, which went up overnight across the street from Gren's house, read: "Horace Greeley said it best! `Go west, young speedskaters. Go west!' "
Citing concerns over property values, additional costs and the way the massive speed-skating oval would look next to other University of Utah facilities, the committee has asked that it be moved to 1900 West between 500 and 700 South.
However, Salt Lake Mayor Palmer DePaulis has recommended the Guardsman's Way site and the Utah Sports Authority, which is responsible for determing where Olympic facilities should be located, has agreed.
A large sign complete with Olympic flags has been erected at the site, designating it as the location of the speed-skating oval just in time for the evaluation team's visit.
The evaluation team was being kept busy Monday by the Salt Lake City Bid Committee for the Olympic Winter Games, starting with breakfast at the home of University of Utah President Chase Peterson.
Topics scheduled to be discussed with the evaluation team at the breakfast, which was closed to the media, included proposed Olympic venues and community support for the Winter Games.
A dozen community leaders were available to answer questions about security, communications, air and ground transportation, culture and youth programs and hotel accommodations, as well as budget and legal issues.
Later in the day, they were scheduled to tour the university to see what kinds of facilities would be available to athletes, who would be housed there during the Winter Games.
Other plans included tours of the Salt Palace and other sites in the city, a ski trip to Deer Valley and Snow Basin, an ice skating exhibition and dinner with the mayor.
Utah Olympic supporters have called the evaluation team's visit the most important event so far in Salt Lake City's effort to be selected by the IOC next spring as the site of the 1998 Winter Games.
Salt Lake City, the United States Olympic Committee's choice to host the Winter Games, is competing with cities in Japan, Sweden, Italy, the Soviet Union and Spain.