Salt Lake area business and civic leaders are hoping to add another player to the Olympic prep team.
Stan Parrish of the Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce asked the Salt Lake County Commission on Monday to fund a new Olympic coordinator position.The coordinator would act as a liaison between the Salt Lake Organizing Committee and the Chamber of Commerce, Salt Lake County and the county's non-venue cities.
Proposed annual cost of the coordinator position would be $150,000.
Parrish estimates between $50,000 to $70,000 would pay the yearly salary of the coordinator, with an additional $20,000 or so for an assistant. The remaining dollars would be spent on employee benefits, administrative costs and travel expenses.
Appointing a coordinator would allow SLOC "to deal with one person representing the communities," said Parrish.
The coordinator would attend SLOC board meetings, then report back to the chamber, county and non-venue cities and facilitate dialogue between the entities.
Almost every country expected to participate in the 2002 Winter Games does some sort of business with Utah, Parrish said. The Olympic coordinator, working closely with the SLACC's International Trade Council, would help develop and enhance budding business opportunities with visiting coun-tries.
The proposed position would also be pivotal in helping Salt Lake area residents enjoy their Olympic experience, said Sandy City Mayor Tom Dolan.
The coordinator would create, coordinate and implement cultural events for Salt Lake County and non-venue cities - in part by establishing sister city/county ties with participating Olympic countries.
If a city chooses to form a relationship with, say, Germany, the coordinator could formalize relationships with that country and help in planning cultural events and festivities prior to the Games, Dolan said.
Hopefully, "city sister" ties would also spark economic opportunities for the county and non-venue cities, Dolan added.
The chamber's involvement in that area would be invaluable to the county and non-venue cities because of their existing resources in international trade, business development and communications, Parrish said.
Commissioner Randy Horiuchi said the proposed coordinator would be a step in ensuring all county residents can enjoy the Olympic experience.
Still, the commission agreed any funding would be subject to upcoming mid-year budget decisions.
Commissioner Brent Overson said he was interested in the economic benefits that could be gleaned through the new position, but wondered if the chamber should be dabbling in cultural programs.
Parrish said the cultural events directed by the would-be coordinator would only augment SLOC-sponsored community activities.
"We would welcome the opportunity to have an Olympic coordinator for non-venue cities," said SLOC spokeswoman Shelley Thomas.