July 09, 2016

West Side Community Councils Report

West Side Community Councils Report
By The West View

Each of Salt Lake City's seven city council districts includes multiple neighborhood community council areas. Neighborhood community councils are run by elected volunteer boards that hold monthly meetings about ten months of the year. Community Council meetings enable the exchange of information and ideas between residents and various city government liaisons. Local representatives for the Utah House and Senate are often present.

Community councils stimulate interest in community projects such as Jordan River Cleanups or public mural projects. Community Council participation can also be a link to involvement in the city's many volunteer citizen boards such as the Human Rights Commission or the Police Civilian Review Board.

Although all residents are welcome, attendance at the six community councils serving the roughly 20,000 households in west Salt Lake City varies.

In January, over 100 people attended the Glendale Community Council because of controversy related to the terms of office and election scheduling for board member positions. Attendance remained strong in the months of February, March and April since a new board was elected. Problems related to the Fortitude Treatment Center and the contradictions between that center's actual function and the model that was initially presented to the Glendale community is a recurrent topic at the GCC.

By contrast, the Jordan Meadows Community Council meeting has had very low attendance this year – only three people attended the January meeting. Attendance improved dramatically in February when Mayor Biskupski, the police and fire chiefs and other city officials made appearances. Biskupski said in regards to city housing policy that they will create a community “where people can live anywhere in the city.” “This won’t be the dumping ground that you’ve felt it was. I just won’t allow that to happen,” she said. The Jordan Meadows Community Council elected Jim Goostrey as its new chairman in April and held elections for vice chair and treasurer in May. (Treasurer Roger Gridley recently passed away following a long illness, and longtime Vice Chair Cal Noyce will not seek re-election.)

Also preparing to hold elections this year is the Westpointe Community Council. The current board is encouraging residents to get involved with the council and to join the board. Attendance has not been as high as the board has wanted, but an average of 15 people has allowed for some worthwhile discussions and for council participation in an Arbor Day tree planting project.

Recent discussions have included zoning rules for the northern part of the neighborhood that allow for an increase in “light industrial” construction projects – primarily warehouses.

The Poplar Grove Community Council maintains a strong average attendance of thirty people per meeting, although a possible city zoning change that would allow expansion of The Inn Between (a homeless hospice center) boosted those numbers in April. This council has made recommendations for CDBG expenditures on the 9-Line trail, including benches and waste cans, and participates in Jordan River cleanups. It is proud of five successful years turning its Night Out Against Crime into a community festival known as “Groove in the Grove.”

The Fairpark Community Council has a steady attendance of about 40 residents this year, partly because it has maintained a momentum of focusing on local planning and economic development initiated last year when Fairpark Community Council members successfully gained support from state and city officials for the Utah State Fair Park. Resulting legislation is intended to ensure that the Utah State Fair Park will remain the home of the Utah State Fair and also reserves one State Fair Park Board position for a local resident. More recently, council discussions have focused on the concentration of high-density, low-income housing projects along North Temple. They also recently organized a successful, fundraising Plant Sale.

City master plans and neighborhood improvement are important to residents of any part of the city, but big changes will happen on the West Side in the near future. Salt Lake City uses Redevelopment Agency (RDA) funding to integrate business, housing and transit improvements in the city after considering the priorities of residents, local businesses and other community partners. Improving west side neighborhoods is a stated goal of both the Salt Lake City Council, sitting as the Redevelopment Agency Board, and of Mayor Biskupski.

The City has committed to at least part of a bike/pedestrian linear park project known as the 9-Line by purchasing an abandoned rail corridor. Linking 900 East and 600 West with a bike trail along 900 south is the heart of the plan, but improvements will stretch further west as the 9-Line intersects with the Jordan River Trail and connection points for TRAX transfers. Other possible RDA targets are housing and business developments along 900 West in the Poplar Grove/Glendale areas, the Granary district around 200 West, and parts of North Temple.

District Two Councilman Andrew Johnston told the Glendale Community Council that high-density housing RDA projects are essential to accommodate population growth and the need for affordable housing at a range of income levels. Smaller, neighborhood-specific projects could be funded with separate grants. An example is uncovering the three creeks that feed the Jordan River around 900 West and 1300 South. The effect would be similar to the stretch of City Creek that has been “daylighted” near North Temple and State Street. For more information about RDA planning projects visit www.slcrda.com.

At a well-attended Rose Park Community Council meeting in May, City Councilman James Rogers stressed the importance of developing the Northwest quadrant master plan to encourage good economic growth and development in the area. He reiterated the City Council’s 3 priorities this year: economic development, improving infrastructure, and promoting affordable housing throughout the city.

Rose Park Community Council recently organized a “Jane Jacobs” Walk, where community members toured the neighborhood and talked about assets and new developments they would like to see. They also organize regular cleanups of the 600 North overpass, and their popular, annual Rose Park Community Festival in May. They are pushing for pedestrian safety improvements on 600 North. More info at www.SlowDown6thNorth.com. RP council meetings are live-streamed and archived on YouTube at

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAoBejiOYa88tDTMBRdAr4g/live