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OVAL INTERESTS 4 CITIES AND S.L. COUNTY

At least four cities and Salt Lake County say they are interested in bidding for an Olympic speed-skating oval.

Randy Dryer, chairman of the Utah Sports Authority, told the Salt Lake Olympic Bid Committee Board on Tuesday that West Jordan, West Valley City, Salt Lake City, South Salt Lake and Salt Lake County have expressed interest in locating the oval in their areas.All of the governments confirmed interest in letters due to the Sports Authority on March 13. Other towns, like Bountiful and South Jordan, have rejected the idea.

The new bidding comes after Salt Lake City lost a bid for the 1998 Winter Olympics to Nagano, Japan. After the loss, the Utah Sports Authority opened the bidding process again for the speed-skating oval. In the earlier bid, the oval was to be adjacent to the University of Utah.

In a request for proposals, the Utah Sports Authority has asked that an oval be less than a 20-minute drive from a proposed athletes village at the University of Utah. The authority, through the state Division of Facilities Construction and Management, has requested 15 acres for the project. The oval itself would cover 1.8 acres.

The Utah Sports Authority is offering $4.9 million in construction and maintenance funds. The funding would build only an uncovered speed-skating oval. If Salt Lake City gets the 2002 Winter Games, television revenue would cover the oval.

Cities must respond by May 27 with written proposals to the state. A state facilities committee will make recommendations to the 15-member Sports Authority board, which will announce the final decision on July 8.

Salt Lake City

Mayor Deedee Corradini said Wednesday that the Guardsman Way site for the oval is out because of neighborhood opposition. The site, adjacent to the Steiner Aquatics Center and University of Utah campus, was part of the bid for the 1998 Winter Games. Corradini said the city is examining other possible sites. The mayor favors a west-side location.

"We think it is important that it be part of a total-use complex," she said. She likes the White Field site, near the city Recreation Department complex, 1965 W. 500 South. However, there may be problem with ground stability in the area because it is a reclaimed landfill.

Corradini said she will be briefed on the possible oval sites next week and then submit a proposal to the City Council.

Salt Lake County

County officials said they are considering options for an oval. Representatives of the county Parks and Recreation Department attended a luncheon about the oval earlier this month.

West Valley City

City Manager John Patterson said the city is considering a proposal to build the oval on privately owned land.

"If we can get the numbers to work, we are proposing that particular site," Patterson said. "It's something we are looking into."

He will meet with a representative of the state to get more information about building an oval.

West Jordan

Mayor Ken Miller said the city's economic development director is following the issue and keeping an eye on potential possibilities, but members of the City Council aren't terribly excited about the issue.

They primarily are concerned about the long-term implications of maintaining the facility after the event.

South Jordan

The City Council decided that even if the city participated and donated land, the community couldn't afford to maintain such a large building, according to Anthony Murphy, city administrator.

Murphy said the city has a recreational site available.

"We couldn't see how we could convert that into something useful for the community. That large of a building would be expensive to renovate and maintain," Murphy said.

If the criteria change, however, South Jordan might consider it again.