Investors have come from as far away as the East Coast to tell Gov. Norm Bangerter the so-called "Skier Connect" road that will route traffic away from Sandy's main shopping district is a threat to economic development.
"This is a state issue. This is not one short road in Sandy," Robert Gerard, managing director of the New York City investment firm of Morgan Stanley & Co., told a reporter after a closed-door meeting held late Wednesday afternoon in the governor's office."Utah needs outside investment and outside involvement if it is going to continue to grow. If every attempt is going to be stopped by petty, local considerations, it's not going to happen," said Gerard, whose company has underwritten industrial revenue bonds for the expansion of the Sandy Mall.
Bangerter's chief of staff, Reed Searle, attended the meeting and said afterward that the governor would see that the coalition got a chance to air their views before the Utah Transportation Commission.
But that is where the governor's involvement will end, Searle said. "He probably shouldn't do anything more than that. He's not going to take a position in favor or against that road. That's a community issue."
Searle said although Bangerter was sympathetic to the concerns raised about the impact of the road on area businesses, the governor did not believe it would affect the state's economic development efforts.
The Sandy Mall has been the most vocal opponent of the $1.4 million road, which would connect 90th South and Seventh East with 94th South at about 1150 East, bypassing the mall and other businesses located at the intersection of Seventh East and 94th South.
Sandy City leaders, including the Sandy Chamber of Commerce, have supported building the road, saying it will help tourists find their way from I-15 to the ski resorts as well as ease commuter congestion.
Mall officials organized the Coalition For a Better Sandy, which succeeded in stopping construction of the road last month. In issuing the injunction stopping construction, 3rd District Judge Scott Daniels found that the Utah Department of Transportation did not hold a public hearing required under the agency's own regulations.
The public hearing on the road has been set for Sept. 20, at 7:30 p.m. in the Mt. Jordan Middle School Auditorium, 9360 S. Third East. The coalition has also been given a place on the transportation commission's Sept. 16 agenda.
Cheryl Perrin, vice president for public affairs for Fred Meyer, based in Portland, Ore., said she attended the meeting out of concern over the way the decision to build the road was made, even though the store chain has not joined the coalition.
Other participants in the meeting also included the head of the company that owns the Sandy Mall, the Mariemont Corporation based in Waterford, Conn. and the local company that operates the Sandy Mall, Millford Managers.