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SALT LAKE CITY -- Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker wants to build a new Public Safety Building across the street from Library Square on 300 East.
He has asked the City Council to place an initiative on the November 2009 ballot authorizing a $125 million bond for the new Public Safety Building and Emergency Operations Center.
The recommended area is known as the Barnes Bank block, which sits between Blair Street and 300 East.
"Salt Lake City has a critical and urgent need for an Emergency Operations Center and a new Public Safety Building, explained Becker. "As leaders in Salt Lake City, I believe we have a moral obligation to keep our community safe and to be prepared in advance of a catastrophic emergency."
The city says the existing Public Safety Building is an aging and overcrowded with more than 500 employees occupying space intended for 300 employees.
The building is not rated as functionally survivable should Salt Lake experience a major disaster, such as a large earthquake. Salt Lake does not currently have an Emergency Operations Center.
The Barnes Bank block was recommended by David Hart, the architect of the State Capitol renovation, after reviewing 10 different location options. Becker backed Hart's recommendation.
Former City Council member Deeda Seed, who opposed Becker's Library Square proposal said, "We truly cannot afford to wait any longer to address this problem, thus I support Mayor Becker's recommendation to locate the new Public Safety Building complex on the Barnes Bank block. I am confident the Mayor and his planning team will work with the community to ensure the project is carried out in a cost-effective manner, with an emphasis on mixed-use compatibility."
In a statement the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce commended Mayor Becker on the proposal. It says Salt Lake City taxpayers will save $5 million to $10 million if the state of Utah co-locates their emergency operations center with Salt Lake.
"We urge Salt Lake City and the state of Utah to work collaboratively to reach an agreement before the November election on a plan for a joint emergency operations center," the statement said. "Such a facility will best serve the emergency needs of the capital city and the state and will be the wisest use of taxpayer dollars."
The City Council will review the proposal over the next two weeks before making a final decision.