Preparing for general conference: employees work to make Church sites sparkle

Church employees have spent months preparing Temple Square and other downtown Church sites for conference visitors - some who will be seeing the area for the first time.

Peter Lassig, Church landscape architect, said a few visitors may have planned their trip to Salt Lake City some years in advance. Many, he said, may want to stand in front of famous Church buildings and have their pictures taken near beautiful flowers. It is his job, he explained, to make sure they are not disappointed.He began preparing the flower beds on Temple Square and the adjacent Church Office Building plaza more than a year ago, when he studied the 1995 grounds and searched for improvements.

Brother Lassig wrote a garden "script or score" and created a combination of flowers he believes make beautiful harmonies. Most the bulbs - more than 75 different varieties of flowers - were planted last October by hundreds of volunteers.

Elaine Naylor, coordinator of Interior Displays Ground Services, also started preparing for conference weekend months in advance.

She created flower arraignments for the Tabernacle, the Relief Society Building and the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. She and Church green house manager Jerry Wanberg began growing hydrangea flowers for the arrangements in January.

Sister Naylor's and Brother Lassig's efforts are not uncommon.

Brent Shinglton, Joseph Smith Memorial Building manager, said although the building staff keeps things looking good year around, they do "intense" cleaning just before conference. This includes lowering and shining the chandelier in the lobby, cleaning carpets and washing marble.

The staff at the historic Beehive House also completes their spring cleaning just in time for the conference weekend.

"We take all the curtains and drapes down, treat the wood and clean the carpet," Margaret Adams, house manager said.

Her staff must prepare for visitors from different parts of the world, who may not speak English. They use tour books written in different languages so guests can read along, while hostesses explain the historic site in English.

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