Tracy Aviary seeks $19.6M bond for improvement. Goes to ballot.
The Leonardo seeks $10.2M bond for opening. Goes to ballot.
Salt Lake needs a new $125M Public Safety Building. Goes to ballot. Controversy erupts over Mayor Becker’s proposed location on Library Square, and it gets moved to a more appropriate location across the street.
A controversial Utah Performing Arts Center, that will demolish several historic contributing buildings on Main Street, costing over $100M, responds to no public concerns regarding location or impact to local groups, plows forward without vote. In conversations with an unnamed Salt Lake County councilperson, they admitted that the parking lot north of the Salt Palace would make a better location than Main Street. Tracy Aviary got pummeled for losing accreditation and had to work hard to convince the public $19.6M was worth it. The Leonardo got repeatedly raked over the coals for $10.2M by the City Council and the public. The Public Safety Building failed on the first ballot and had to regroup and try again before it was approved. Why is the UPAC not being treated with similar scrutiny? When I attended early meetings about the UPAC setup by the Mayor’s office, I asked why this project hadn’t been subjected to public approval, and I was given the response that it was moving forward so I better get on board.
Many arts groups who I have spoken to in private about this project are afraid to speak out against it in fear of city retribution. This kind of steamrolling and lack of public consent is disappointing for Mayor Becker who I endorsed and supported in his first election. I don’t know if UPAC is necessary or not, but the public should have a say when this kind of financial commitment is made, along with the amount of destruction required for its installation in the heart of downtown.