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Parkites share excitement, concerns over hosting Olympics again

People attending the Mountain Mediation Center Olympic Community Conversations enter the Park City Library Thursday, October 6, 2022
People attending the Mountain Mediation Center Olympic Community Conversations enter the Park City Library Thursday, October 6, 2022

While Thursday night's meeting was the final in-person event of the listening tour, there are still two virtual meetings to come.

A long list of rules greeted guests as they walked into the meeting room at the Park City Library Thursday evening for the Mountain Meditation Center’s Olympic Community Conversation. Some of these rules included requests such as respect your neighbor, listen without judgment, no arguing and no solutions.

Organizers with the Mountain Mediation Center explained that the point of their listening tour was to bring the community together to hear their thoughts and fears surrounding another Olympic Winter Games. There were six in-person meetings at different locations in Summit County from September 13th to October 6th.

Overall, for most in attendance, the pros of Utah hosting the 2030 or 2034 Winter Olympic Games outweighed the cons. Concerns mostly focused on housing, transportation, and the environmental impacts of another Winter Games.

Jackie Perron attended and said afterward that sustainability was her top priority.

“Whether it’s infrastructure and building things that we have the ability to upkeep over time. Is it the impact it’s going to have on the climate? Is it the impact that it’s going to have on the people in the community as a whole?,” explained Perron. “Everything that would potentially come with the Olympics…is it truly sustainable for us as a town as a community?”

Several in the room had lived in Utah during the 2002 Olympics and said they see another Winter Games as a huge win for Utah, and Park City in particular.

Douglas Griffen is a part-time resident and a huge fan of the Games.

“We’ve got such an opportunity here,” said Griffen. “The fact that you’ve got the infrastructure and the opportunity to do a twofer nobody gets to do that in these days and times, and so it’s almost from a fiduciary standpoint it’s almost like an obligation to do it.”

The majority of attendees agreed that because Utah already has the facilities in place, the Olympics should be seen as an asset in solving the region's pressing issues like traffic, affordable housing, and meeting the city’s 2030 climate goals.

Perron said she was pleased to have the chance to weigh in on the issue.

“I just really appreciated being in the conversation with people about what could be and how we could have basically a round two of Utah hosting the Olympics and making it more intentional, whether it’s through sustainability or equitable practices and really creating that sense of community through inclusion,” Perron said. “I appreciated that the majority of the room was on board with those two sentiments being a priority.”

While Thursday was the last in-person discussion, two lunch-time virtual meetings have been scheduled for October 27th and November 1st.

Once those meetings wrap up, organizers from the Mountain Mediation Center will compile the anonymous feedback and present it to city and county officials.

It’s likely additional community meetings will be held should Utah be selected. A decision on the 2030 Games could be announced in May of next year.