Five years ago, Salt Lake residents were more worried about a decaying downtown than anything else.
But today, with the skeletons of future skyscrapers replacing crumbling old buildings on the skyline, people mostly are concerned about making their neighborhoods livable, Mayor Palmer DePaulis said.In his annual state of the city address Tuesday, DePaulis said surveys sent to more than 72,000 households and interviews with 40 community leaders late last year revealed concerns about police and fire protection, garbage pickup, park maintenance and a shrinking supply of houses.
DePaulis said the list is evidence of a much-improved local economy.
"Citizens are also telling us that they want to focus on Salt Lake City as a people-oriented place, as an exciting city in which to live," DePaulis said. "This last area is surely the result of an improved economic climate. When the more serious issues are being handled, people's attention can turn to rounding out their community life."
The survey was conducted as part of the city's Salt Lake City Tomorrow Program, started in 1986 to chart the city's goals.
In an upbeat speech filled with reports of successes during 1990, DePaulis also said the city should not be disappointed if the International Olympic Committee does not choose Salt Lake City to host the 1998 Winter Games when it meets in Birmingham, England, in June. The city still will have a chance at the 2002 Games, he said.
"Win or lose in Birmingham this June, we surely have won something," DePaulis said. "We have gained that much more ground toward becoming the nation's winter sports capital. We have proven to ourselves that we can compete on a world-class level.
"In this process, we confirmed for ourselves once again that our greatest resource is our people; warm, generous, open, willing to work hard to make things better."
DePaulis praised the city's many construction projects, particularly those in the city's main redevelopment district, an area known as Block 57, bordered by 300 South and 200 South and by Main and State streets.
He also praised the city's efforts to provide decent housing for its residents, noting that the city hired a housing coordinator last summer. He talked of starting a private non-profit trust to buy and fix the more than 300 boarded, vacant buildings that dot the city.
DePaulis said the city is working on revising its zoning ordinance to provide clear development regulations. He also said the city, which has steadily been losing population to the suburbs for more than 30 years, must continue to look for ways to generate more money.
"While Salt Lake City does not face as severe a financial crisis as many of the nation's cities, it is trying to deal with the persistent trend of stagnation in its revenue sources," he said. "Cutting budgets midway through the year has become a common and frustrating experience over the past decade."
Residents' concerns\ A survey of Salt Lake residents revealed their most common concerns about the city:
- Police and fire protection
- Garbage pickup
- Park maintenance
- Shrinking supply of houses.
Mayor Palmer DePaulis says that a list showing community lifestyles as major concerns means more serious problems have been taken care of.