The west side of Salt Lake City is represented by six community councils. Located in the heart of the city, within its most ethnically diverse neighborhoods, they are neighborhood democracy in its purest form. The council boards are made up of community leaders who were elected by local residents. They meet with residents monthly to hear their concerns, initiate community improvement projects, and enhance the identity, image, and visibility of the neighborhoods. The community councils are nonprofit organizations and are recognized by the city government allowing them to disseminate information and take in public comment.
The community councils located on the west side include Fairpark, Poplar Grove, Jordan Meadows, Rose Park, Glendale, and Westpointe. University Neighborhood Partners connects with all six of these groups through a “Neighborhood Democracy” partnership, which provides support, training, and research.
You can learn more about all of Salt Lake City’s community councils, their boundaries and more on their website at www.slcgov.com/commcouncils.
This article was originally published in UNP’s Partnership Newsletter in March of 2018
“I like to see myself as a community hostess,” says Mary Anne Heider, manager of the Chapman Branch of the Salt Lake City Library. “I like to welcome people into the ‘house’ of the library, and to host events that we think a broad spectrum of people will enjoy.”
The Chapman Branch is celebrating 100 years in the same Carnegie Library building at 700 South and 900 West, with a series of events relating to the historical period of its construction, plus every decade since then. Central to this celebration are Chapman Chats held on various Saturdays at 2 p.m. Some are in English and some are in Spanish, but there are generally two Chats per month.
The centennial series began in January with a slide show by Nan Weber about the namesake of the branch, Annie Chapman, who was at the center of Salt Lake City’s first free libraries, including locations at the Ladies Literary Club on South Temple and on the top floor of the City-County Building, before cancer took her life in 1903.
A temporary west-side branch, named for Annie Chapman, opened in 1913, but John D. Spencer of the city’s Library Board sought help from the Carnegie Foundation in 1916 to build a permanent structure, and the present Chapman Branch began operating on May 27, 1918. The Carnegie Foundation helped fund over 2,509 libraries around the globe between 1898 and 1929. Out of 27 Carnegie libraries built in Utah, only Mt. Pleasant and the Chapman Branch are still functioning as libraries.
Annie Chapman’s new branch library was deliberately built next to the old Riverside Elementary School to bolster public education, and the J.D. Spencer Branch was constructed next to Jackson School in 1920 for the same reason. Heider has managed the Chapman Branch since 2011 and asserts, “I specifically wanted this job to lead this branch through its centennial.”
One very special Chapman Chat will be part of a birthday celebration and ceremony on June 2 with cupcakes and ice cream, plus a “Hollywood Canteen” style Big Band Concert in the parking lot at 7:30 p.m., celebrating the 1940s. It is also the day when signups begin for the popular Summer Reading Program, so the library will be extremely active between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m.
A Chapman Chat in July involves a square dance and Laurel & Hardy comedies. The ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s all have movies and events scheduled to evoke the looks and happenings of those decades. All year long there are book collections that highlight each decade from 1918–2018. Ms. Heider has recruited many Chapman Chat presenters from the immediate neighborhood because she wanted the folks nearby “sharing their passions.”
The month of April commemorates 1918 — the founding year of the library — with a series of films focused on World War I. Two Chapman Chats by Chip Guarente of the Fort Douglas Military History Museum and Connor McManus will cover this grim conflict.
On any given day when it is open, the Chapman Branch provides air conditioned comfort and a studious atmosphere to patrons inside its simple, but elegant, Neoclassical interior. It offers access to the entire world via printed books, e-books, movies and music via electronic media, a wireless hotspot, plus computers linked to the Internet for job seekers and scholastic research. There is also a section with governmental publications meant to help immigrants, and guides to naturalization for new U.S. citizens. Family films are shown on the last weekend of every month, with English language movies playing the last Friday, and Spanish language movies featured on the last Saturday.
“Nowadays, libraries are a conduit for people who do not have access to technology and information,” said Heider.
“Libraries are constantly evolving. Now they are gathering places. They are not just where people come to check out a book. One of the greatest community-supported endeavors in the history of the United States is public libraries — long may they wave,” said Heider.
To find out more information about the Chapman Centennial, visit www.slcpl.org/chapman100.
For the past 17 years, Dominion Energy’s Energizing Our Communities initiative has been completing environmental restoration projects. Two recent projects – a split-rail fence and a pedestrian bridge – were completed in May 2017 and January 2018 near a section of the Jordan River stretching from 200 South to 800 South in Salt Lake City.
Energizing Our Communities is a volunteer effort led by Dominion Energy employees from across the locations that Dominion Energy services. Utah is part of Dominion Energy’s Western Region Footprint, which also encompasses parts of Colorado, Idaho, and Wyoming. This year, around 40 Dominion Energy volunteers from Utah teamed up to build the split-rail fence near the Jordan River.
Nationwide, there were 500 participants in Energizing Our Communities in 18 states. In 2017, local volunteers donated more than 6,000 hours of community service to projects in Utah, said Darren Shepherd, Dominion Energy Corporate Communications Coordinator.
According to Steve Weight, Dominion Energy’s Environmental Specialist, the idea of adopting a section of the Jordan River came about after employees at Dominion’s D.N. Rose Building at 1140 W and 200 S began picking up trash near the building and contacted Salt Lake City Parks and Public Lands, volunteering to adopt a section of the river.
Energizing Our Communities’ Jordan River efforts have included projects such as painting bridges, weeding, fence building, and trash cleanup.
“We have actually been out on the river in canoes, cleaning up. We have done some weeding along there,” said Shepherd.
The split-rail fence was a joint effort funded by the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation, the Jordan River Commission, and Salt Lake City Parks and Public Lands, said Debra Hoyt, Senior Philanthropy Coordinator at Dominion Energy. Using wood fencing materials and cement, volunteers from Energizing Our Communities erected around 2 miles of fencing.
The materials for the project were provided by the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation. The fence will protect native plant life along the Jordan River from traffic.
In January, a pedestrian bridge on the Jordan River near 200 South was opened for public access. Dominion Energy sold a small piece of property 18 months ago to allow for the construction of this bridge, said Shepherd.
If Dominion Energy employees want to volunteer through Energizing Our Communities, they can log on to an employee platform, where they can fill out details about themselves, including their hobbies and interests and wait for notification of upcoming events.
“This is an opportunity for employees to recommend a project that has to do with the environment and after they submit their ideas, a few in each area are selected to support and fund through the Dominion Charitable Foundation,” said Hoyt. Restoration projects are managed by regional volunteer coordinators and will be held throughout the entire year.
KRCL is a nonprofit, community radio station that broadcasts throughout Northern Utah at 90.9 FM on the radio dial, and online at www.krcl.org. With a local heart and a global presence, most people here in Salt Lake City might not realize that KRCL’s studios are on the west side of the city.
What you hear on KRCL is different than other radio stations. It’s non-commercial, totally local, and is not afraid to blend both talk and music programming. The sound of KRCL changes throughout the day, depending on which DJ is in the studio. Most of the time you’ll hear a mix of music, including local musicians and bands that are touring locally. DJs also announce tidbits about the music they play that bring listeners into a closer relationship with the artists they love. DJs on KRCL are like a trusted friend who always makes sure you don’t miss any great new music.
On weeknights from 6 to 7 p.m., RadioActive is on air. Listeners are encouraged to be part of the conversations that are important to the community but may not get discussed in most mainstream media. Led by Lara Jones, RadioActive features a variety of grassroots activists and community builders each night, with a different community co-host helping to expand the conversation.
Here’s what you can expect to hear discussed weekday evenings at 6:00:
Mondays: “The radical middle” with Dr. David Derezotes
Tuesdays: Conversations with and about marginalized communities like immigrants and refugees with community activist Ma Black
Wednesdays: Conversations about health and the environment with Nick Burns
Thursdays: Discussions about social justice with community activist Billy Palmer
Fridays: Discussions about urban farming, gardening, and local music with Aldine, KRCL's Punk Rock Farmer
If you have an idea – guest, topic, something new – for RadioActive, send an email to . They’re always looking for a good conversation, so please reach out and tell them what's on your mind.
RadioActive also hosts open mics at the City Library many Saturdays throughout the year. You can find the schedule on their website at krcl.org/events. The next ones will be May 5 and June 2, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
You can also get involved with KRCL in other ways. You can sign up to volunteer at www.krcl.org/about/volunteer and you can submit community events on their event calendar for free at www.krcl.org/events.
RadioActive’s Executive Producer Lara Jones is a Salt Lake native and west side resident. When asked about RadioActive, she says, “We want the show to be a megaphone for people and organizations working to make positive social change in our community. I hope that when people tune in, above all else, they know they're not alone. That there are people out there who give a damn and are working to make things better. That there are people willing to share their stories -- from artists and musicians to people going through rough times – and people willing to listen.”
When asked about living and working on the west side, she says, “I'm just barely a west-sider, having moved to the Marmalade neighborhood more than 20 years ago. Since I'm west of 300 West, Billy tells me I qualify. Given KRCL's location on the west end of North Temple, I spend most of my workdays on the west side. My favorite coffee shop is, of course, Mestizo, and Red Iguana is a regular stop, too.”
In fact, much of the staff at KRCL live on the west side. Billy Palmer, Assistant Producer of RadioActive, says, “I grew up mostly in Glendale, and I came to really love it because it’s accepting, laid back, and people tend to get to know each other really well. I know more than just the people on my little block, and there is a sense of connection and taking care of each other here that makes it feel like home on the west side.” When asked about what got him involved with KRCL, he said, “Community radio is so grassroots. It’s special that it’s not connected to any corporation or special interest. It’s constantly changing the way the world is constantly changing, and it’s like a living organism that is bigger than just the people involved. It’s truly a community.”
Afternoon DJ and Program Director Ebay Jamil Hamilton grew up on the west side in Poplar Grove and Glendale. (He also grew up partially at the KRCL studios, starting to volunteer there when he was just 14 years old.) He bought his first home in Glendale and loves living just minutes away from work in the most diverse area of Salt Lake City. He says, “I enjoy walking my dog on the Jordan River Parkway and through the Peace Gardens, which are both hidden gems here on the west side.” His afternoon program airs weekdays from 2-6 p.m., featuring a mix of music, starting with “New Music Mondays” and closing up the week with a “Friday Soul Party” featuring a music mix of vintage, retro soul.
Even the new General Manager of KRCL, Tristin Tabish, lives on the west side and said, “I bought a home with my partner in the Fairpark neighborhood three years ago. My neighbors are wonderful and we all look out for each other. Kids ride their scooters and bikes on the street, I can walk to the corner taco stand or the recreation center. I don’t have to fight traffic and there’s always a park or restaurant to explore and a lot of different events to attend. I love the feeling of community here. And now that I work on the west side as well, I feel like I can be a better advocate for this area. I have a stronger understanding of the challenges and needs of the west side and how I can help enact positive change for my community through my role at KRCL.”
About her new role, she said, “I’m so proud to be a part of an organization that is inclusive of people who aren’t always represented in mainstream media. KRCL’s staff, volunteers and board are committed to amplifying the voices of grassroots activists, advocates, musicians and everyday folks who seek to make a positive difference in our community.”
KRCL welcomes exploring partnerships with non-profits, schools, organizations and local businesses in the neighborhood. They understand that building relationships is a vital step in creating a strong community. Find more information on air at 90.9 FM and online at www.krcl.org.
Amy May has lived in Glendale for over 15 years and is a former employee of KRCL. She's currently the Executive Director of TreeUtah.
Workers inside a warehouse are busy forklifting slabs of clothes and then using other machines to turn them into perfect, gigantic blocks. The blocks are labeled for men, women, or children. Everyone else sorts according to size and style. Thuds, beeps, sirens, and chatter are part of the soundtrack inside the warehouse.
Meanwhile, upstairs, volunteers participate in a quilt-making group. These clothing items and quilts will be distributed throughout the globe.
All of this work is occuring at the LDS Humanitarian Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on the west side of Salt Lake City. This facility, located at 1665 Bennett Road, was established in 1991 to provide temporary employment and teach job skills to new Americans who are learning to become self-sufficient, whether they are LDS adherents or not.
Self-sufficiency training at the Humanitarian Center is 18 months long, and includes English lessons provided by a nonprofit partner, the English Skills Learning Center. The ultimate goal is to help individuals in securing long-term employment, but most importantly to help individuals help themselves. The importance of attendance, punctuality, good hygiene practices, and other basic life skills are taught. Many of the individuals helped are west Salt Lake City residents.
Internationally, the humanitarian services provided include neonatal training, vision help, clean water, better food production practices in developing countries. Other humanitarian supplies include hygiene products, school kits, and emergency medical models.
President Donald Trump, like many other U.S. presidents, have made stops at properties and facilities of the church. Last December, he saluted the humanitarian efforts of the church, saying, “The job you’ve done is beyond anything you could think of – taking care of people the way you take care of people and the respect that you have all over the world.”
Both facilities are part of the entire welfare and humanitarian efforts of the LDS Church. Welfare Square originated during the Great Depression. The facility, located at 780 West 800 South, is well-known for its 178-foot grain silo landmark. Fruit orchards, a cannery, a milk-processing operation section, a thrift store, The Bishops’ Storehouse, and an employment center all operate under Welfare Square. All of this to provide assistance to the needy. The church operates its farms throughout the nation, and surplus food is given to local food banks.
The silo has some impressive statistics. According to a 2001 Deseret News article the silo was the biggest concrete project to be undertaken in the state when it was built in 1940. The project took 15,000 bags of cement, 12,000 pounds of reinforced steel, 640 men and boys working 70,151 hours of labor. Today 2,500 loaves of bread are baked daily and the silo elevator can also hold 318,000 bushels of wheat.
To obtain assistance, each recipient meets with a Welfare Square representative who assigns them tasks in exchange for supplies, whether it be stocking, cleaning or painting. The center also stocks tons of assembled furniture with the objective of aiding people in an emergency and catastrophic situation that can range from natural disasters to political upheavals.
Although Welfare Square primarily aids LDS members, no one is turned down for food assistance as long as they opt for a quick interview and agree that they will perform work in the plant. Overall, the church’s entire welfare and humanitarian program emphasizes helping others to help themselves, to teach people the value of work.
Established in 1966, Crossroads Urban Center is a multi-faith, community-based nonprofit that addresses poverty and social injustice in Utah. Crossroads is well known for initiating and developing new service organizations, such as Utahns Against Hunger and Wasatch Community Gardens, with the intent of giving Utahns “new eyes” to have the vision to recognize that as neighbors, in each other’s welfare we find our own.
As a full-time community organizer for Crossroads Urban Center, I have been tasked with the responsibility to assist residents living within the boundaries of Poplar Grove (900 South to North Temple, west of I-15), to organize and build the capacity needed to work towards breaking cycles of poverty and address social justice disparities that impact the west side of Salt Lake City.
“Community Organizing” is an umbrella term for a field of practice in which residents collaboratively investigate and take action regarding social issues of mutual concern. My role as a community organizer precludes me from acting as an advocate, activist or mobilizer. The success of this endeavor will be measured by how many more residents have taken citizen ownership of the politics that shape the space that we all share.
In an effort to better facilitate participation in the public square, neighbors recently organized under the banner of the Poplar Grove Neighborhood Alliance which includes individual residents as well as churches and other nonprofits.
Over the past several months, those participating in the alliance have learned that involvement in politics through the “community organizing” process is bonded together by common elements which include: research, action and evaluation. Moreover, they have discovered that generating public “action” is no easy matter and throws up many difficult situations that must be navigated and negotiated. These range from questions of how best to deploy strategic incivility to managing tensions generated by the “action” itself. The final step is to evaluate the benefits of provocation in the public square. Then repeat the process for the next issue.
One example is how neighbors successfully worked with Senator Escamilla, Representative Hollins and Representative Romero to secure funding from the legislature and commitment from UDOT to complete the sound wall along I-80 (between Redwood Rd. and the Jordan River). This was a yearlong process that included neighbors staging an “action” designed to generate “tension” in order to make their point. One Saturday morning in February, residents gathered and began to build the unfinished sound-wall themselves, using substandard material. They posted this unique form of protest on social media.
Other issues that residents have organized around: SLC civic engagement methods, SLC allowing the installation of a cell tower in violation of zoning ordinances, unsafe 900 West/Road-Diet, unsafe school crosswalk, impacts of Operation Rio Grande, missing sidewalks, missing railroad quiet zones, trains blocking intersections and blaring horns and a spike in gang violence, etc. We hold monthly “accountability sessions” with officials. To get involved, look us up on Facebook: Poplar Grove Neighborhood Alliance.
Crossroads recently opened a new Westside Food Pantry on 1358 West Indiana Avenue, across the street from its long-established thrift store. The pantry offers free food and is open on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Call 801-935-4079 for more information.
People in need (with a voucher) may obtain clothing and small household items for free or very low cost at Crossroads Thrift Store, located at 1385 West Indiana Avenue. The Thrift Store is open from Tuesday-Friday between 10 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Call 801-359-8837 for more information.
Emma J. McVicker was a Presbyterian teacher who lived in Salt Lake City in the late 1800s. She was troubled by the disparity of resources between families living on the west and east sides of the city. She decided to alleviate the problem by starting an inexpensive child care center that would serve the working immigrant community on the west side of the city.
McVicker founded the “Free Kindergarten Association” in 1894, two years before Utah gained statehood. It was later renamed Neighborhood House. In 1978, the first-ever adult day care program in Utah was added.
Today, just as then, 90 percent of Neighborhood House’s clients live below the median income level. The average client is a single mother with 3 children and an annual income of about $26,000.
Neighborhood House’s mission is to provide quality, affordable day care and support services for children and adults. It operates on a sliding fee scale, where fees vary based on clients’ ability to pay.
Neighborhood House has been involved in a large capital campaign to raise money for construction of a new facility on their current site in Poplar Grove at 1050 West 500 South. This $15 million, 57,000-square-foot project is expected to be completed in 2020. The new facility could serve 100 more families, an increase from the current 236 children to 325, and 40 adults to 60.
Recently, Rep. Sandra Hollins of House District 23 secured an appropriation of $800,000 from the state legislature for the expansion of the facility. The total amount raised so far is $13.5 million, and the organization is gratefully accepting donations to raise the last $1.5 million.
The new building will offer a cyber center, classes, and activities provided through partnerships, which will be open to the public. “This expansion is to let the community know that people can come in and that you don’t need to be a client to utilize all of our services,” says Executive Director Jennifer Nuttall.
The facility has always been and will continue to be responsive to the needs of families. “We are always committed to the west side – and we have been for 124 years.” Nuttall said. Children can count on a complete preschool and academic curriculum that teaches them how to play well with others.
There are strong intergenerational connections between youths and the adults. Some youths refer to other adults as “grandpa” or “grandma” even if they are not related. These connections will only grow stronger once the adult and youth centers are housed under the same roof in the future.
One of the largest employers in our community is Rocky Mountain Power. With over 5,600 employees within the company, many of them work at the headquarters in Salt Lake City. Rocky Mountain Power has 875,000 customers in Utah, the largest amount of any state it serves.
Rocky Mountain Power has a flexible volunteer program and encourages employees to volunteer with nonprofits near where they work and live. The company actually matches employee volunteer time with a monetary contribution based on the hours volunteered.
In 2016-17, 46 employees volunteered 4,614 hours to 28 different nonprofits. Besides the man hours received by the nonprofit, the Rocky Mountain Power Foundation donated $30,500 to the charities. That’s a little over $300 per hour donated.
When asked about which nonprofits on the west side of Salt Lake are supported, Alene Bentley, Regional Business Manager for Rocky Mountain Power, provided a long list of neighborhood charities including:
University Neighborhood Partners, Salt Lake NeighborWorks, Guadalupe School, The Road Home, Salt Lake Donated Dental, Salvation Army, Volunteers of America, Poplar Grove Community Council, Fairpark Community Council, Neighborhood House Association, The INN Between, Art Space, Pete Suazo Business Center, Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salt Lake, and West View Media.
In addition to supporting those organizations financially, RMP employees serve or have served on the boards of directors of University Neighborhood Partners, Salt Lake NeighborWorks, Guadalupe School, The Road Home, and Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salt Lake. As you can see, RMP supports a variety of organizations with a variety of missions that all serve the communities they operate in.
Bentley is most proud of the company’s support of University Neighborhood Partners, which was spotlighted in the January issue of The West View.
“I had the privilege to serve on the board of directors for two terms in the early years after UNP was formed,” she explained. “Rocky Mountain Power has been the headline sponsor of ‘Partners in the Park’ (https://partners.utah.edu/partners-in-the-park) for many years. It’s been extremely gratifying to watch the organization grow in reach, impact and effectiveness.”
NeighborWorks Salt Lake is a local nonprofit organization that has served the community for over 40 years with a mission to revitalize neighborhoods, house by house, block by block, neighbor by neighbor.
One of the many ways NeighborWorks has brought its mission to life is through the annual Paint Your Heart Out event. Every August over 150 volunteers from local businesses, community organizations and corporations come together to paint the homes of the elderly, individuals with disabilities, veterans and limited-income homeowners on Salt Lake City’s west side.
Since the event’s inception in 1985, NeighborWorks has painted over 810 homes in the community. The goal of helping homeowners who cannot physically or financially paint their home themselves has many positive impacts, not just for the house itself, but for everyone involved.
Bob Lund, construction manager and employee of 14 years for Neighborworks, has seen the ripple effects year after year.
“By helping beautify just one home, the homeowners feel like a valued part of their community, the neighbors get inspired to spruce up their homes, too, and the volunteers know they can truly make a difference for others,” Lund said.
It takes a lot of time, resources and labor for the PYHO event to come to fruition. Thanks to NeighborWorks’s dedicated sponsors, staff, and volunteers such as the Rose Park Lions Club, it is possible to provide this service for free to homeowners. Surprisingly, one of the biggest challenges is getting homeowners to sign up as a free paint job can sound too good to be true. NeighborWorks works closely with partners and volunteers to assist with the home recruiting process so residents learn about the opportunity from a trusted friend like a homeowner’s neighbor.
This year, the 33rd Annual Paint Your Heart Out event is happening on Saturday, August 11. NeighborWorks Salt Lake is already gearing up for the event with a goal of painting 15 homes. To suggest a home that needs to be painted on the west side, please visit
There’s a new residential bulk cleanup program in town, and it’s called “Call 2 Haul.” Replacing the old Neighborhood Cleanup program, the new effort addresses the challenges many residents had with the old program such as environmental impacts and illegal dumping.
The new bulk item program has been designed to meet the challenges of an increasingly populated city that fulfills water quality and environmental protections guidelines set for by various agencies from the local to federal level. In addition to meeting these standards, the city has taken great care to canvas opinions on the program in an effort to be fair, accessible and convenient for all Salt Lake City residents.
The new Call 2 Haul program will offer city residents more options compared to the Neighborhood Cleanup, including proper disposal of electronic waste and tires, greater scheduling flexibility, yard waste that cannot fit into your brown compost bin, and perhaps most importantly, a reduction in illegal dumping.
What do you need to know about the new program?
Call 2 Haul, first and foremost, replaces the old way of creating piles in front of your home and along our streets. It’s for disposing of large and bulky items that can’t fit into your bins. You simply call (801) 535-6999 Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to schedule a pickup. It’s that easy. For details on the Call 2 Haul program, like what materials are accepted by the city, you can go to www.slcgreen.com/c2h-how-to and review the new guidelines.
These changes come on the heels of a recent effort to inform residents to recycle their plastic bags and film apart from the contents they place in their blue bins. Plastic bags and film damage (and in some cases destroy) the separating equipment at recycling facilities. To find a plastic bag and film drop-off location you simply go to www.plasticfilmrecycling.org/recycling-bags-and-wraps/find-drop-off-location/, type in your zip code, and a list of businesses that accept this material is made available. Additionally, you’re urged to bring your own reusable bags when shopping, or you choose biodegradable paper bags.
The city also asks you to separate your glass items for recycling rather than using the limited space we have for landfills. You can go to http://www.slcgreen.com/glass-recycling to find locations near your home for drop-off points, or to order a grey recycle bin for $7 a month.
The new and existing programs are an effort by the city to meet the health and environmental challenges of an increasingly dynamic and industrious Salt Lake City. Let’s all pitch in together so we can make the west side a clean and welcoming place for all!