Committees working on recommendations made by the Regional/Urban Design Assistance Team are trying to strike a balance between moving ahead quickly and moving ahead prudently, Salt Lake City Mayor Palmer DePaulis said.
"We're trying to build momentum, so we're anxious to keep things . . . in the public eye" DePaulis said of the recommendations, published in a 61-page report released June 6."At the same time we're doing that, we'll be being very careful to organize it correctly," he told reporters Thursday.
"I don't think we want to launch into something regarding implementation when we're not totally tied together with all the committees that are looking at this,' he added.
One such committee, the R/UDAT Steering Committee, met earlier this week to discuss agendas from various subcommittees to identify objectives in areas addressed by the R/UDAT team.
It is one of several committees organized to spearhead implementation of the R/UDAT study, which both the public and private sectors see as the possible salvation for a downtown beset with decay.
The steering committee was responsible for bringing in the R/UDAT team in June to study what it termed a "stagnant" downtown and bring about changes to revitalize the city's center - epitomized by dilapidated areas like Block 57.
The steering committee on Wednesday heard reports from six subcommittees in an effort to arrive at the most important goals the city should have in implementing the R/UDAT plan.
Although the committee voted to postpone debate over how to implement the recommendations, members noted a sense of urgency.
"I think everyone senses that we need to get moving as quickly as possible," said local architect and committee member Ray Kingston.
While the steering committee hashed out concerns about which of dozens of recommendations were most important, some committee members warned the task of implementing the proposals might become clouded by excessive detail.
"When you start getting too many agendas, you're going to get in trouble," said Gary Birdsall, a member of the committee's Economic Development Task Force.
Birdsall's comment underscores the enormity of the task faced by the city as it carries out the R/UDAT plan, which seeks to better define the downtown area and preserve historic districts and neighborhoods while juggling business, civic and church interests.
City officials have identified the R/UDAT plan as a cornerstone for new concern over the revitalization of the downtown area, which many feel can only be thwarted by division and apathy.
"The basic obstacle has always been ourselves," DePaulis said. "We're our own worst enemies . . .," he warned.
DePaulis did identify some "early wins" in the effort to implement R/UDAT proposals. Recent moves to expand the Salt Palace by building a larger sports arena to attract bigger conventions and big-ticket sporting events has been the hallmark accomplishment thus far, DePaulis said.
The city has also relaxed guidelines so that restaurants can move dining tables onto sidewalks. The R/UDAT team suggested the city "lighten up" such restrictions.