Not a moment too soon, Salt Lake City has reached a compromise with Olympic organizers on how much to tell visitors about the 2002 host city.
Last fall, the city was ready to produce a large full-color map of downtown's attractions but ran into objections from the Salt Lake Organizing Committee. Fiercely protective of Games sponsors, SLOC officials worried that if the map showed local retailers' names, it could upstage Olympic brands such as McDonald's.
Local business people and city leaders, naturally, were perplexed about the prospect of a map with no other names. But this month, Salt Lake City Olympic planner John Sittner and his staff figured out a way to please just about everybody.
The map, they decided, will name names of local businesses. The freshly minted document is replete with 296 icons showing people where to eat, drink, shop, dance and participate in downtown festivities. It is color-coded to show restaurants' price ranges and styles of cuisine, and it indicates where to find rest rooms and ATMs. But it will contain no Olympic logos whatsoever.
The Salt Lake Games logos will instead be on a 26-by-40-inch commemorative poster of the very same downtown.
Producing the map "has been such a saga," said Dave Bartosiewicz, its designer. But it's finally printed on snowproof, tearproof paper, and it will be mailed this week to Salt Lake City households and to more than 55,000 Olympic ticket holders across the United States.
This map could, Bartosiewicz said, debunk some lingering misconceptions about Utah's capital.
"I hope people go back home and say, 'Salt Lake is a lot more exciting than I first anticipated.' We need to continue to bring a lot more fun to Salt Lake, so we can have (a greater) diversity of people coming in," he said. "I hope people see that this is not only a beautiful state, but also that they say, 'I had the best time of my life there.' "
Both the map ($5.95) and poster ($9.95) will be on sale all over Salt Lake City during the Games, so they could help the city recoup some of the money it's been frantically spending in recent weeks. The two pieces cost the city $250,000 to produce and mail.
Sittner recently updated the City Council about the downtown festival. Local entertainers, "from single performers on Main Street to hundred-person choirs on Washington Square" will put on free shows every night of the Olympics; the Greek American community and the Hibernian Society are among the ethnic organizations that will serve up food and culture in tents on the square. Enormous video screens will broadcast Olympic competition and medals ceremonies to crowds at the City-County Building, and 24-foot-high kiosks "will create beacons of light and entertainment up and down Main Street."
All this is to give festival-goers reasons to roam around before and after the events in and around Olympic Square and the medals plaza, thus spreading out the passenger load on shuttle buses and TRAX. "Our mantra" for visitors and Salt Lakers, Sittner said, "is sleep in, come early, stay late."