State and Salt Lake City officials hope to persuade lawmakers to lend a hand in bringing the 1998 Winter Olympics to Utah.
The big question, however, is when and how public money will be used in the effort.Salt Lake City Mayor Palmer DePaulis discussed strategy Tuesday with Gov. Norm Bangerter and Lt. Gov. Val Oveson.
DePaulis said he wants to avoid using tax money until after the United States Olympic Committee has granted its bid to Salt Lake City. In the meantime, he wants the Legislature to pass a resolution supporting the bid.
Oveson said that may be a mistake. The city needs money to make a quality presentation to the USOC at its meeting in June. He said in addition to a resolution, the Legislature and all cities and counties along the Wasatch Front should commit money to the effort.
"The opposition will be there regardless," Oveson said. "We need to do it the right way now. That will let us know where we have weaknesses. If the state comes out (in support) now without local governments doing a thing - I'm against that."
DePaulis said the city needs about $150,000 to $200,000 to finance its bid. If successful, DePaulis said, the USOC will require the city to build several Olympic facilities during the next 18 months. To host the Games, Salt Lake would need to build a speed skating rink, a luge and bobsled run and a ski jump.
Oveson said Salt Lake City should strive to become the nation's winter sports capital regardless of whether it wins the bid to host the Olympics. If the facilities are built, they can be used as a training site for the nation's winter-sports athletes. "We shouldn't be afraid to build these facilities," he said.
The only other U.S. city with Olympic training facilities, Lake Placid, N.Y., is too remote, said David Adams, director of the state's Department of Economic Development.
If Salt Lake wins the bid in June, Utahns are likely to go to the polls in November to vote on whether they want the Olympics.