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Another Viewpoint – A Line in the Sand

Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes

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KSL recently commented on the escalating border dispute between Salt Lake City and North Salt Lake. We said “the land in question ought to be preserved in its pristine state, not developed.”

North Salt Lake Mayor Kay W. Briggs responded with another viewpoint.

Kay W. Briggs
Mayor North Salt Lake

As Mayor of North Salt Lake, I would like to respond to your editorial comment of June 27, 2005, “A Line in the Sand.” For the past 30 plus years, I have been one of the editorials greatest fans. Rarely have we disagreed; however, your comments about the “border battle” between Salt Lake and North Salt Lake lead me to believe that you don’t have all of the facts. Let me try to clarify the real issues:

1. North Salt Lake is not anti-open space. No large developer has us in his back pocket. North Salt Lake administration and citizens love open space. More than three years ago, we started working to preserve the privately held property on the foothills above North Salt Lake from development. Our plan was to preserve as permanent open space the more visible mountain side properties covered with trees and wildlife. We envisioned East/ West connections from the Jordan River, Highway 89, the Bonneville Shoreline Trail and the Great Western Trail connector which runs from Canada to Mexico. We’ve had open houses and public forums to discuss parks, trails, facilities, etc., none of which come free. We have also committed to provide police and fire protection, sanitation clean-up and trail maintenance similar to what Salt Lake does at City Creek Canyon and Salt Lake County has done along the Jordan River Parkway. Our answer on how to fund this ambitious project was to develop approximately 20 acres (two square city blocks) of flat land on the back of the Beck Street gravel pits. We have been successful by generous donations and purchases to preserve approximately 120 acres of park and open space land on the foothills plus we have agreed to preserve 50 of the 80 acres in Salt Lake as permanent open space plus build a 10 acre cemetery/park as requested by our citizens which is within Salt Lake City’s open space zoning rules. In total during the last few years, NSL has taken off the tax roles almost 1000 acres for permanent open space.

2. North Salt Lake is the only city which can provide the required municipal service of fire and police protection, sanitation, maintenance, etc. to the acreage in question. Salt Lake City municipal service providers, police, fire, etc., did not object to the requested disconnect of property.

3. North Salt Lake has for three years tried to negotiate peacefully. Salt Lake Administration and Councils have always been cordial until this latest blast of resolutions and threats of taking by condemnation and eminent domain which has forced North Salt Lake to appeal to the courts for protection.

4. The mountain side between North Salt Lake, City Creek Canyon, Ensign Peak, Mueller Park and Farmington Peak contains over 100,000 acres of open space. NSL is anxious to build trailheads and trails for dedicated hikers, ADA users, equestrians, bikers, joggers and families with strollers and tricycles. North Salt Lake supports access to open space that can be used to promote a more healthy and educated America, but reasonable development is necessary to fund and support the long term vitality of this dream.

5. The land in question cannot be seen from Salt Lake. Few Salt Lake citizens will ever see or use the land because it is a long hard hike (over two hours for most people). It is North Salt Lake’s backyard. Please let us take care of it.

6. The 80 acres is about the same level on the foothills as the Bountiful Temple, Primary Children’s Hospital, and the upper part of the Salt Lake Cemetery. It is 500 to 1000 feet lower than much of the development in other cities that surround us, including Salt Lake City. Through the good work that is being done by our City Council and others we have been able to stop the foothill creep. Please support the development of a small piece of flatland so that in the future trails, trail heads, a park, etc. will provide access for our children and grandchildren to this beautiful piece of nature.

Remember, we love Salt Lake City. It is as much our State Capital as it is to those who live within its city boundaries. But now SLC will use the revenue gained from our support of the Gateway Mall, downtown shopping and dining, the Delta Center and Abravanel Hall to pay lawyers to fight the little city next door. They should be ashamed.

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