Jan 25, 2023 - News

Salt Lake City mayor announces $100M investment in Ballpark

Illustration of the Salt Lake City & County Building with lines radiating from it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall announced at the annual State of the City address on Tuesday that the Larry H. and Gail Miller Family Foundation will lead a $100 million private-public fundraising campaign to help revitalize the Ballpark neighborhood.

Why it matters: As Salt Lake City's downtown population experiences rapid growth, the city is working to revitalize the Ballpark neighborhood.

  • The planned departure of the Salt Lake Bees, owned by the Miller family, from Smith's Ballpark to South Jordan in the next two years is spurring questions about what leaders will do with the 13 ½ acres of newly available space.
  • That's why leaders recently launched the Ballpark Next Design Competition for the public to submit ideas for what the baseball stadium should become.
  • The neighborhood's revitalization has been a priority for Mendenhall, who first proposed to add a library, revamped TRAX station and "festival street" to the area in 2021, per KSL.com. That was approved by the City Council last month.

What she's saying: "We're going to keep building out the Ballpark Station Area Plan, seeing it through and making the area safer and stronger even without the Bees," Mendenhall said.

Zoom out: 2023 is off to a promising start for Salt Lake City, with the return of Outdoor Retailer and the NBA All-Star Game next month expected to generate about $40 million.

Between the lines: Mendenhall made her remarks at Woodbine Food Hall in the Granary District — a nod to the city's transformation fueled by housing developments and businesses.

  • "The last time we held State of the City in person, Woodbine Food Hall didn't yet exist. In fact, in February of 2020, so much of the Granary District, where we're gathered tonight, was still waiting to be reimagined," she said.

Details: The mayor also celebrated 2022 accomplishments like the "Free Fare February" initiative and the city's partnership with Delta Air Lines to make the Salt Lake City International Airport its West Coast hub through 2044.

  • She addressed some of the city's largest challenges, including the Great Salt Lake and housing affordability.
  • Mendenhall shared three water conservation measures she'll propose to the City Council, like a temporary surge charge for the highest water consumers.

The other side: Amy Hawkins, chair of the Ballpark Community Council, said she is concerned about redeveloping the downtown space with housing.

  • "Given that we have so little public space in Ballpark, I'm really worried about ... turning it into housing. I know we need housing, but the denser the downtown core gets, the more we need that public land as well," she said.

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