FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 9, 2019
CONTACT: Katie Matheson | Better Utah Institute
firstname.lastname@example.org | 845.775.7901
Salt Lake City, UT – Today, a coalition including labor, environmental groups, and local community advocates presented a vision statement for the 2030 Olympics at a press conference. The vision statement, which can be found here, outlines a new, positive standard for how an Olympic Games is run and show the world that embracing the values of inclusion, fairness, and sustainability can enhance the popularity and impact of a major sporting event.
Lauren Simpson, policy director for Better Utah Institute, said, “With the bid for the 2030 Olympics in Salt Lake City underway, we are excited at the opportunity this presents for Utah. We can help make the Games the best they can be by talking now about what a truly inclusive and sustainable event should look like. We believe that, in the true spirit of Olympic unity, the Games can benefit Utahns across the socioeconomic spectrum and not just those at the top. The Utah Community Benefit Coalition and the vision statement is a first step in that direction.”
Bill Tibbitts, associate director of Crossroads Urban Center, said, “We’re very pleased to be a part of this coalition. One of the first things I did when coming to Crossroads was helping to document how the 2002 Olympics affected our ability to serve homeless populations. I talked to people who had been evicted during the games because hostels were charging $200-300 a night. We had an overflow homeless shelter where hundreds of people spent the games. My memories involved people who hadn’t been homeless before who spent the Games in a homeless shelter so rich tourists could have a room.
“We would like to challenge the bid committee moving forward–we did a good job in 2002, and we can do even better in 2030,” Tibbits continued. “We can have an overflow shelter, but we can also work proactively to make sure people aren’t dislocated. We can make sure these Games have a lasting legacy that everyone can be proud of.”
Leading up to the 2002 Olympics, a coalition of community groups and individuals advocated for policies that would equitably benefit Utahns and served as a watchdog group after the bid scandal broke. However, because the coalition organized after Salt Lake City had already received the Olympic bid, some of the momentum toward community benefits was lost. Today, the Utah Community Benefit Coalition announced its intention to start early to organize around clear priorities with the goal of partnering with the Salt Lake Organizing Committee throughout the bid process.
Richard Holman, chair of the Westside Coalition, said, “This Olympics is an opportunity to bring our greater community together while seeking to also benefit the underserved communities of our city. Sustaining our Olympic legacy includes not only showcasing the fantastic venues that have been in such excellent condition and are in daily use by our communities. Sustaining the Olympic legacy also means continuing to integrate regional needs like affordable housing, public transit, and infrastructure in the overall Olympic picture,” stated Holman. “We believe the proposed Vision Statement does exactly this to the advantage of all involved. As such, the Westside Coalition heartily endorses SLC’s pursuit of the 2030 Olympic Games in hopes that our global neighbors will have the opportunity to enjoy Westside hospitality.”
Noah Miterko, policy associate at HEAL Utah, said, “Should Salt Lake City be successful in our bid to host the Winter Olympic Games once again, and we hope we are, we have the opportunity to become not just a national leader, but an international leader on sustainability.
“While the promise of an economic boom is enticing to many, the likelihood of significant environmental externalities is real and if not explicitly considered and planned for, could cause undue harm to the citizens of the Salt Lake Valley and surrounding areas,” Miterko continued. “We hope the Games strive to achieve net-zero emissions and zero waste, prioritizing the use of already-existing infrastructure and venues and holding new buildings to the highest reasonable efficiency standards. We believe that the Olympics can be developed in an environmentally sustainable way. To do so, addressing air quality, carbon emissions, energy, infrastructure, waste, land use, and other environmental concerns should be a priority from the very beginning.”
Brandt Goble, speaking on behalf of IUPAT DC5 Painters Local 77, the Utah Building & Construction Trade Council, and the AFL-CIO stated, “Our goal with this Community Agreement is to extend that drive for excellence beyond the Games themselves and to set a standard of excellence from the moment the Games are awarded again to our community and state. It is our desire that from day one, every new project built, every existing facility that is rejuvenated and refurbished, and every job big or small needed to put on the best Olympic Games ever is done to the highest standards. We want to see contractors and employers that appreciate, value, and adequately compensate the talented and hardworking Utahns who will be needed to ensure we are again prepared to welcome the world.”
The Utah Community Benefit Coalition vision statement has been endorsed by the following groups:
- Better Utah
- Citizens Education Project
- Crossroads Urban Center
- HEAL Utah
- Impact Hub
- League of Women Voters of Salt Lake
- Save Our Canyons
- Utah Building Trades
- Utah Clean Energy
- Utah Coalition of La Raza
- Utahns Against Hunger
- Voices for Utah Children
- Westside Coalition
The Better Utah Institute, formerly the ABU Education Fund, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to providing a strong, educational voice by creating resources that advance civic engagement and good governance. For more information, visit their website here.