Anderson Looks to Future, Barely Mentions Main Street

Anderson Looks to Future, Barely Mentions Main Street

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Government Specialist Richard Piatt reporting (Salt Lake City, KSL-TV News) -- Mayor Rocky Anderson unveiled a list of accomplishments and goals tonight in his annual State of the City Speech.

In this speech, the mayor's look ahead sounded very much like a man running for office -- and, in fact he is.

You could tell the mayor very much wants to put issues like the Main Street plaza behind him; he barely referred to it in a speech that lasted more than two hours.

"The last year has not been easy, not for me personally and probably not for any of you," he says.

That pretty much sums up how Mayor Rocky Anderson sums up the Main Street Plaza issue, one that continues to plague him politically.

These days, the mayor instead prefers to focus on a wide range of things he's done that don't get a lot of attention.

According to the mayor, crime was down 7.5 percent last year. Aggressive new programs to enforce pedestrian safety have reduced accidents 16 percent. Security at the airport is ahead of the curve and running smoothly. Downtown, middle-of-the-street parking on 300 South is about to become permanent.

And as eager as everyone is for a Main Street of the 1940s and 1950s, the mayor says progress here is coming along, too.

"All the indicators are that downtown is on the upswing," Anderson says. "Seven new businesses opened during the past year or are scheduled to open in the next month in Main Street storefront locations."

The mayor says haze and smog, which are so often part of the scenery, is inspiring more environment-friendly programs that include recycling and a harder look at transportation.

Other suggested future plans include encouraging water conservation by changing water rates, keeping up the many changes to downtown to encourage development, finsihing the airport expansion and the installation of citywide high speed interenet.

City council members applaud the mayor's multi-dementional approach, but with caution.

"Clearly the initiatives that are yet to be done or that are currently in the process are his initiatives, and his review of them would be typical of someone running for re-election," says council chairman Carlton Christensen.

The mayor also wants the city to know he hasn't forgotton the west side of the city. In his speech tonight he says behind the scenes, his administration has spent more time on issues on the west side, like the 900 South rail line, than on Legacy highway and Main Street plaza combined.

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