The Sorenson Unity Center in Glendale opened its doors and its heart in a formal ribbon and dedication ceremony this past week.
We use the word "heart" because of the devotion of donors, religious leaders, political leaders and volunteers who labored six years to make the center a reality. The Sorenson Unity Center is named after the late James LeVoy Sorenson, who contributed $500,000 and 3.3 acres of land to the project. Sorenson, who died of cancer earlier this year, was a renowned philanthropist who was a successful entrepreneur in the fields of medical devices and real estate.
The center features a health and fitness center, educational programs, computer labs and a free dental clinic for people with low incomes. Salt Lake Community College will offer career counseling, English as a Second Language classes, basic adult education instruction and developmental math and English courses at the center.
Although it has been several years since the Salt Lake City Council made the controversial decision to vacate the city's easement of the Main Street Plaza, the Sorenson Unity Center has already achieved one of its important aims bringing together various factions in that discussion to develop a center that has the potential to enrich the lives of Utahns for generations to come.
Along with Sorenson's contributions, the Alliance for Unity raised $4.2 million for the center. Another $2 million came from U.S. Bank using federal tax credits that foster projects in low-income urban or rural communities. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which owns this newspaper, was another partner, contributing 2.2 acres of property under the land-swap agreement tied to the Main Street Plaza.
Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, speaking at the dedication ceremony, noted that "the mission of the center is to provide community resources and a gathering place where all cultures can be celebrated and welcomed."
May the Sorenson Unity Center be precisely that, a place where people can come together in the spirit of community and fellowship.