Nearly a week after the International Olympic Committee doused Salt Lake City's hopes of hosting the 1998 Winter Games, members of Salt Lake's bid committee are tying up loose ends and determining what to do next.
Most of the bid committee's paid employees lost their jobs June 15 when the city lost the bid to Nagano, Japan. A skeleton crew has been answering phones and attending to financial matters since, bid committee Chairman Tom Welch said."We're in the process of wrapping things up, paying our bills and closing it (the bid committee office). We hope to have that done by the end of July," Welch said Thursday.
But first, Welch is going fishing.
"I'm tired. I'm leaving tomorrow (Friday). I'll be doing some catching up with my family, spending time with them and looking at our priorities."
Welch, who was executive vice president and corporate counsel of Smith's Food and Drug Centers before becoming bid committee chairman on Jan. 1, 1990, said he is not certain in what capacity he would work next. He worked at Smith's for 19 years."I haven't looked at that yet. All of my focus has been on June 15," he said.
Welch said that after his vacation he and other bid committee members plan to meet with the U.S. Olympic Committee to ascertain the "viability of 2002."
The Utah Sports Authority meeting on June 26 also will shed light on whether Utahns will support another bid for the Winter Games. The sports authority was created by the Legislature to spend $56 million in tax money to build winter sports facilities, Olympics or not. Voters in a 1989 referendum approved setting aside sales-tax money for the projects.
But some lawmakers question whether the state should build the facilities if there is no guarantee it will host the 2002 Winter Games.
Welch, on the other hand, has said the state should build the facilities to maintain "credibility" among Utahns and the Olympic community.
Welch said he expects that sports authority and bid committee members will make some tentative decisions later this summer about whether Salt Lake Lake City will seek the 2002 Winter Games.