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Gallivan parties mark 10 years

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The Gallivan Center celebrates 10 years with a black-tie gala on Friday. The festivities continue today.

The Gallivan Center celebrates 10 years with a black-tie gala on Friday. The festivities continue today.

Amanda Lucidon, Deseret Morning News

Gosh, where did the time go? It seems like yesterday when people in downtown Salt Lake City pointed to the mirrored, sandstone sundial at the Gallivan Center and said, "What the heck is that?" Now, 10 years later, some people still do.

Michael Gallivan, son of Jack Gallivan, for whom the downtown plaza is named, said his father, a well-known businessman, envisioned the once-dilapidated Block 57 becoming the "living room" of downtown Salt Lake City. Ten years later the center has become a focal point of downtown life, said Rick Graham, public service director for the city.

Last year alone, the Gallivan Center was host to more than 200 events that attracted half a million people — 15,000 more than last year. Among those events were the popular lunchtime concert series.

The center also received attention during the 2002 Winter Games when it was transformed into Bud World and soon became a popular spot for Olympic nightlife. The center was the venue for a disturbance during the Games after people were turned away from Bud World due to overcrowding.

During the winter months, the center is an attraction for outdoor ice skating.

In commemoration of the center's 10th anniversary, officials have scheduled a weekend celebration, which began with a black-tie gala Friday evening and will continue with a six-hour celebration today.

Today's celebration will begin at 2 p.m. and feature kids' sidewalk chalk competitions and "arts and crafts zones."

Gallivan Center gardeners will give tours and gardening tips and food vendors will be available. Later in the evening live music will begin, ending with the nationally known pop music group the Gin Blossoms. Other groups featured will include Zion Tribe, Jibe Project, Disco Drippers and Royal Bliss.

Attendance is $5 at the gate with children under 12 free.

During a press conference Friday afternoon, city officials also talked about the center's future, including more year-round activities.

Salt Lake City Councilman Van Turner, who also serves as chairman for the city's Redevelopment Agency board, said events have been scheduled for the remainder of 2003 and into 2004 that will cater to all four seasons, starting with a financial planning fair for children and adults in November. Other events will also focus on more youth-oriented activities, Turner said. One new offering will be remote wireless Internet access at the center for lunchtime patrons who may want to access the Web on their laptop computers. Turner said the wireless access will also be a benefit to travelers visiting Salt Lake City.

During the holiday season, Turner said holiday lights will become a major event at the center, complete with a lighting ceremony "unmatched by any other in the city."

E-mail: gfattah@desnews.com