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BROWNING HAILED FOR HELPING WEBER, OGDEN GET ICE RINK

SHARE BROWNING HAILED FOR HELPING WEBER, OGDEN GET ICE RINK

Weber County and Ogden officials can thank Val Browning for an Olympic ice-skating facility ready to be built on the Weber State University campus, says Allan Lipman Jr. of the Utah Sports Authority.

The committee running Salt Lake's bid for the Olympic Winter Games wanted to build at least one auxiliary ice rink in either Ogden, Provo or Salt Lake as an overflow practice and competition backup to the Delta Center.That's when Browning, now in his 90s, stepped forward to back Ogden as the site, Lipman said after the Sports Authority ratified design contracts for the $5.9 million ice sheet.

The project will be put out for construction bids next week.

In the late summer of 1990, Lipman said he went to Browning seeking the retired businessman's help for the project. He said Browning pledged "a significant amount" that Salt Lake City and Provo could not or would not match.

"He triggered it. He was the catalyst," Lipman said of Browning.

In additional to clearing the way for the construction bidding process Monday, the Sports Authority voted unanimously to give the 2,000-seat Ogden ice sheet an extra $250,000.

Two years ago, the Authority had set aside $3 million for the facility.

The Sports Authority controls about $56 million in sales tax revenues being spent to help Salt Lake's bid for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. The money is being used to build competition facilities, such as ski jumps, a bobsled and luge run, and skating facilities.

If Salt Lake is successful in obtaining the 2002 Winter Games, the Ogden ice rink just to the northwest of WSU's Dee Events Center would stage some preliminary Olympic skating and hockey events.