Olympic dream: New affordable housing, jobs, environmental standards sought

FILE – Fireworks explode during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games closing ceremony Sunday, Feb 24, 2002 at Rice-Eccles Stadium. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Utah Community Benefit Coalition lays out standards for bringing Games back

SALT LAKE CITY — When Bill Tibbitts started work at the Crossroads Urban Center shortly before the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, he had to scramble to deal with Utahns being kicked out of the cheap downtown rooms they rented to make way for Olympic visitors willing to pay exorbitant rates.

With Salt Lake City bidding to host another Winter Games as soon as 2030, Tibbitts wants to avoid sending struggling locals to a temporary homeless shelter “so that rich tourists could have a really unpleasant room by their standards that could have been home to somebody else.”

So he, along with a broad-based coalition of groups ranging from union labor to environmental activists to advocates for good government, the poor and west-side communities, have joined together to come up with a new set of standards for holding an Olympics they hope to see adopted by backers of the bid.

The Utah Community Benefit Coalition held a news conference Wednesday to lay out standards they said embrace “the values of inclusion, fairness and sustainability,” including ensuring affordable housing, jobs that pay a living wage, better public transportation, additional homeless services, accessibility and environmental safeguards.

The coalition’s vision for the Salt Lake Olympic bid also calls for adopting a code of conduct for both government and private security and oversight of surveillance technology used for security purposes, as well as creating a community advisory board to monitor progress on all of the standards.

“We know that hosting another Games has tremendous potential to be the catalyst Utah needs to invest in critical infrastructure as we continue to grow,” said …read more

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