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Carole Mikita ReportingPresident Gordon B. Hinckley of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke out about the church's downtown redevelopment plans for the first time. President Hinckley addressed a group of business leaders at last night's Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce dinner; he defended the plan and explained his vision.
President Hinckley: "We believe that renewed vitality at the head of Main Street will result in increased vitality throughout the city."
The idea, he says, has made it appear that the church development is in direct competition with the Gateway.
President Hinckley: "I do not wish them to fail. I want them to succeed and will do all possible to assist in this."
Pres. Hinckley says it is for that reason that the church has decided to build a BYU-Salt Lake Center and an LDS Business College campus just east of the Triad Center. He calls it costly but believes this will attract thousands to the downtown. He says the good feeling goes beyond buildings
President Hinckley: "It grieves me deeply when I hear mean and bitter words that bring about divisiveness. We must constantly cultivate a spirit of trust, friendship, appreciation and respect for one another."
President Hinckley said he and other church leaders want to keep the city youthful and attractive so that millions of visitors will still come here for two reasons: to tour church properties and to spend money at local businesses.