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Editorial: Hoberman Arch still deserves its place in the sun

Olympic icon deserves a good home.

First Published Aug 05 2014 03:46 pm • Last Updated Aug 05 2014 04:33 pm

Anybody else have the image of the Olympic Hoberman Arch, which was being disassembled for storage the other day at its University of Utah home, being packed away in a crate in a giant warehouse, never to be seen again?

You know, like the last scene in "Raiders of the Lost Ark"?

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It would really be too bad if something like that actually happened. But, right now, nobody has a firm plan for where the arch, which should be treated as a prized heirloom of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, should go next.

The network of bent aluminium, 36 feet high by 72 feet wide, was the backdrop for the awards ceremonies and other festivities at the Medals Plaza at 300 West and South Temple. After the games, the dynamic sculpture joined the Olympic Cauldron at the south end of the U.’s Rice-Eccles Stadium, scene of the opening and closing ceremonies.

There has long been talk of the arch rising again somewhere more central and more visible. Perhaps Gallivan Center. Perhaps Pioneer Park. But Gallivan is pretty crowded already, and Pioneer Park has little connection to the Olympics.

So the arch continued to sit at the U., not commanding the attention it is worth and standing in the way of expanding either the game-day festivities at the stadium or, though they say there are no immediate plans to do so, enlarging the stadium itself to PAC-12 standards.

Now ownership of the arch, and the responsibility of figuring out what to do with it, has been handed to Salt Lake City — to the surprise of many city officials who aren’t yet prepared to do anything with it.

But this should not be the end for the Hoberman.

The city, backed by some of the same private-sector fund-raising muscle that brought the Games to Salt Lake in the first place, should quickly be about the job of creating a permanent home for the arch.

The point would be to remember those heady days and to help attract, if not another full-blown Olympics, then many lesser events that could include the X-Games, national and world championships in individual sports and other things that would, again, have the world beating a path to our door.

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The Wasatch Front is still a great place to play, especially at winter sports, and a proper display for the Hoberman Arch would help cement that in the public mind.

If only we could remember which box we put it in.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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