‘This plan is ambitious’: Salt Lake County Mayor Wilson talks about the revitalization of Salt Lake City

Jun 20, 2024, 10:15 PM | Updated: 10:38 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson has been involved in meetings and plans to revitalize downtown Salt Lake City.

“Oh, my goodness, what a pressure cooker! I think we were all surprised that the Phoenix team moved so quickly to Utah,” Wilson said in an interview with KSL TV.

She said she and other elected officials were “taken off guard” by the need to move quickly as they consider plans to revitalize downtown.

Ryan Smith Calls Acquiring NHL Team ‘As Aggressive, Crazy As Anything’ In Career

The Smith Entertainment Group has proposed a master plan of redevelopment east of the Delta Center, which includes county-owned property – The Salt Palace, Abravanel Hall and the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art.

Wilson said the county is just one major voice with a say on what happens downtown.

“I think there are four primary partners: SEG, Salt Lake County, Salt Lake City, and the State of Utah,” Wilson said.

She talked of other invested voices, such as arts organizations, downtown businesses, and churches that own land on either side.

“We’re excited about hockey, but we also love arts and culture. So, you know, I really do think everyone has a voice in this process and should use it,” she said.

Wilson talking to KSL TV's Carole Mikita about the changes happening in Salt Lake City.

Wilson talking to KSL TV’s Carole Mikita about the changes happening in Salt Lake City. (KSL TV)

In May, Utah Symphony players created a petition to save Abravanel Hall that gathered nearly 44,000 signatures, and last week, the Salt Lake City Planning Commission recommended the hall be preserved.

For Wilson, she said all these voices will contribute to her decision on Abravanel Hall’s future.

“I think working on at least any decision that I make,” she said, “ I want all of the information that I can get, including public input. So I think it’s a vital part of this.”

Wilson said cost weighs into this, particularly for Abravanel Hall, which needs a new sprinkler system, HVAC, which is now connected to both the museum and the Salt Lake, and greater ADA compliance.

“I don’t know what that call will ultimately be, but I’m working on options and I made a commitment to the public that we would look at and weigh in and do our best to preserve the hall,” she said. “Everyone loves to emphasize the acoustics. No matter what we do, the acoustics should be better, not worse.”

‘No amount of money’ could convince symphony musicians to give up their home in Abravanel Hall

Another worry is that Salt Lake County residents will have to pay more taxes for all the new buildings and remodels. Wilson is hoping Salt Lake City will help cover the costs.

“Salt Lake City right now is looking at a sales tax increase to cover much of the cost. Just the county needs to look at resources and work with the state to generate additional resources to adjust to the Salt Palace,” Wilson said. “And then, of course, we have multiple partners to address the needs of Abravanel Hall, UMOCA, Japantown, etc,”

The Master Plan calls for a plaza or walkway from the Delta Center to City Creek, with all entities opening onto that area.

“If you leave the Delta Center, you hit a wall. You hit a section of the Salt Palace that is underutilized,” she said. “This is a generational opportunity to activate a dead zone.”

Restaurants in Delta Center revitalization zone hopeful about more customers

Abravanel Hall’s doors face east, not south, as in the new plan.

“If you look at that vision that many are excited about, including me, of that openness that’s been compromised by the preservation of the hall. So, that’s really what this is about,” Wilson said.

Ultimately, Wilson said she is optimistic about the future of Salt Lake County and downtown Salt Lake City.

“You know, I think that this plan is ambitious, but this plan is necessary, and I couldn’t be more excited than the upside of what we could be doing here. I walked the area this morning, I really believe we’re going to benefit financially, culturally, and we’re all going to have a lot of fun and love being downtown again if we can get this done.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

The Olympic rings and cauldron from the 2002 Winter Games are pictured at Rice-Eccles Stadium at th...

Hannah Schoenbaum

Winter Olympians will compete at these 13 venues when the Games return to SLC in 2034

Continued use and upkeep of Olympic facilities not only boosted Salt Lake City's reputation as a winter sports destination but became the main selling point in its pitch to bring back the Games.

59 minutes ago

2002 Olympics...

Daniel Woodruff

How Utah has changed since hosting the 2002 Olympics

The last time Utah hosted the Winter Olympics, things were a little different — and not just fashion trends or hairstyle —but a growth in population.

1 hour ago

Confetti shoots from the Salt Lake City and County Building after Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenh...

Josh Ellis

Utahns react as Olympics set to return to SLC in 2034

SALT LAKE CITY — It’s official. Utah will welcome the world again after the International Olympic Committee selected Salt Lake City to host the 2034 Olympics. “Salt Lake City and Utah are long-time friends of the Olympic Movement, and we are confident that they will organize exceptional Olympic and Paralympic Games, just as they did […]

3 hours ago

A Utah Transit Authority Blue Line TRAX train in Midvale, Utah. (KSL TV)...

Dan Spindle

UTA lays track for 2034 Games and beyond

Now, 25 years after UTA first unveiled the TRAX system for public transportation on the light rail, transit in the Beehive State could get a big boost leading to the 2034 games.

5 hours ago

The 2002 Olympic cauldron is pictured at the Olympic and Paralympic Cauldron Plaza at the Universit...

Lisa Riley Roche

Inside the last-minute drama that brought changes to Utah’s Olympics bid

Concerns raised about U.S. response to doping allegations caused concern award might not happen on Pioneer Day.

6 hours ago

Attendees cheer during a live watch party for the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee’s 2034 Winter Oly...

Larry D. Curtis

Salt Lake City is officially the place for the 2034 Winter Olympics

It's finally official, Salt Lake City and Utah have been selected to host the 2034 Olympics.

6 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

young male technician is repairing a printer at office...

Les Olson

Unraveling the dilemma between leasing and buying office technology

Carefully weigh these pros and cons to make an informed decision that best suits your business growth and day-to-day operation. 

A kitchen in a modern farmhouse....

Lighting Design

A room-by-room lighting guide for your home

Bookmark this room-by-room lighting guide whenever you decide to upgrade your lighting or style a new home.

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

‘This plan is ambitious’: Salt Lake County Mayor Wilson talks about the revitalization of Salt Lake City