Salt Lake County Regional Development News
October 10, 2020
Around 170,000 Utah residents were impacted by the September windstorm with loss of power – most of those in Salt Lake County. The County mobilized quickly to provide residents and municipalities with emergency protective measures, like warming centers, and repairing traffic signals as more than $4 million in damage from the hurricane-force winds was assessed
Each of our 103 parks saw damage and debris from the wind event. The loss of trees in parks and green spaces, which stood witness to generations of Salt Lake County families, was heartbreaking.
Nearly $400,000 has been spent to remove fallen trees and debris from public streets, parks, as well as storm drains, canals and streams to mitigate against flooding. Salt Lake County Public Works crews have taken nearly 700 loads of debris to the landfill – with Salt Lake County and Millcreek debris alone totaling 2.5 tons.
This hasn’t been our first challenge or emergency of the year, though; and the community has responded with a resiliency that mirrors Mother Nature.
On Saturday, Oct. 10 Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson joined Salt Lake City Mayor Mendenhall, Clark and Christine Ivory, and TreeUtah to plant 29 new trees at West Point Park. The occasion marked Ivory Home's 10,000th tree planted in Utah.
"We appreciate the outreach from Ivory Homes to find tree projects outside of SLC as well as their $10,000 contribution," Mayor Wilson said.
Southridge Park and Oquirrh Park in Kearns are two westside locations where new tree planting plans are in place, in addition to those underway in Millcreek and West Valley City.
Salt Lake County will continue to restore these green spaces into next year with the help of municipalities and great partners like the ones gathered together on Oct. 10.
September 25, 2020
Rides and Concessions at Liberty Park
Utah has many hidden and beloved gems.
One of those is the Rides and Concessions at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City.
Liberty Park was created and opened in the 1880s, the decade before the first Ferris Wheel was invented and showcased at the World’s Fair. It is among the oldest and most popular parks in the state.
Liberty Park has held many attractions and features in its 100-year history, but it has consistently included amusement rides and concessions.
The Ferris Wheel.
Boats – rowboats, a riverboat, now paddle boats.
And a whole lot of joy.
“Visitors come all the time and say, ‘Oh, I used to come as a kid and walk here on 13th South,’” owner Craig Silverstein said.
While ownership of the rides varied over the decades, Craig has owned and operated the business for the past nine years. Amusement and carnivals are a nostalgic and cherished part of his life. At the age of 15, Craig got a job working at the Buddies Amusement Park in his Brooklyn neighborhood. (He ended up calling Utah home after he and a bunch of buddies graduated from amusement parks to skiing.)
It takes commitment and time to own and operate rides that emanate nostalgia and the feeling of decades past. It requires constant attention, upkeep, and maintenance to minimize risk and provide safe experiences.
“You don’t see these parks anymore,” Craig said.
While it’s something Salt Lakers might take for granted, visitors are constantly suggesting the operation set up something similar in their own hometowns.
The Ferris Wheel that operates right now in Liberty Park was fully restored and is from 1956. The carousel, while not the original, is thought to date from the 1930s. Craig says it’s hard to find parts for it these days. Old chairs were purchased and restored. New bearings were installed in the past seven years.
One of Craig’s goals is to raise money to restore the carousel to its glory – fresh, vibrant paint and the works. Once restoration would be complete, he’d make it free to ride.
While Liberty Park in yesteryears past featured a set of train tracks, and train to go with it, Craig now has an electric train to pull kids along, in addition to swings, cars and the popular paddle boats.
In normal years, staff begin dusting off and setting up rides in early spring and operate on weekends until schools let out for the summer. Then, it operates fully through the last weekend of September with 40-45 part-time staff (usually high school teens) until it gets packed up for the winter again.
In 2020, that hasn’t been the case. While staff began setting up rides in February 2020, news and restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic in March stopped the operation in its tracks.
Rides and concessions didn’t open until June, and even then, only on the weekends with increased safety measures and precautions suggested by public health.
Craig saw a 70% decrease for Liberty Park Rides & Concessions in July 2020 compared to July 2019.
To sustain the operations through a part of the pandemic, Craig applied to Salt Lake County’s Small Business Impact Grant and received funds to mitigate the losses.
“The grant is great. … It’s a lifeline, without it we might have even closed,” he said.
Craig voiced that there have been many great programs for struggling business owners like himself, from the Paycheck Protection Program to Tip Your Server.
“The game is to survive. I feel lucky. Think about restaurants. If you do half the volume, you can’t do it,” he said. “You have to improvise and do what you can.”
For now, Craig continues to coach his staff on sanitizing until its last weekend. He hopes Liberty Park Rides will be back to normal in 2021.
“It was good to hear and see people come out,” he said. “They’re craving it more.”
September 24, 2020
Housing is health care.
And housing is essential during COVID-19, as we attempt to limit the spread of the coronovirus, work from home, do school from home, as well as worship and recreate at home.
The State of Utah, as well as Salt Lake County and Salt Lake City, have contributed funds in 2020 for COVID-19 housing relief.
What that means is, right now, millions of dollars are sitting and ready to be given to SLCo residents that are having a hard time paying rent.
Maybe you lost your job? Or your hours were cut? Or you've had a loss in revenue or clients? Or you had to quarantine and stay home without pay?
With more than 45,000 renters in SLCo, we know thousands are in need of help.
The good news is there is help. Right now.
If you, a neighbor, friend, or relative have been unable to pay rent because of COVID-19, call 801-359-2444.
The Utah Community Action hotline is open Monday-Thursday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and has language assistance.
Calling this number will setup an appointment to assess how much assistance you can receive, with up to $2,000 per month between March-December 2020.
If you live outside Salt Lake County, visit rentrelief.utah.gov.