1.   What is your vision for the Station Center neighborhood (200 South to 400 South; 450 West to 600 West)? What investments do you think the City should make in this area?

Station Center should be alive and thriving. My vision places significant emphasis on connecting to our city’s growing transit network, as well as improved walkability and friendliness to bicyclists by connecting the Green Loop through Station Center. We’re going to harness the creation of housing and the expansion of businesses to make the neighborhood an active center for life in the city, complete with local businesses and restaurants that make it a true destination. We want to incorporate the creation of community spaces – think pop-up event spaces, museums, maker spaces, etc. I want affordability AND an array of housing and tenant types in the neighborhood. And I envision Station Center as the home of our life sciences industry anchors within my Tech Lake City initiative.

2.   What are the most important initiatives and investments you will lead to create a safe and welcoming downtown for residents, workers, employers and visitors?

Keeping people safe is the most important responsibility for any city and public safety isn’t something you achieve – it’s something you constantly work for and it’s an essential part of our quality of life. Total crime is near a 10-year low citywide, but there are still neighborhoods that are struggling and data doesn’t matter if you don’t feel safe. In my vision of the future, we will have a fully staffed police department – while other capital cities have struggled to stabilize their staffing since 2020, Salt Lake City is well on its way to achieving this goal. We will continue to hire trained civilians and social workers to handle non-emergency calls, freeing up sworn officers to focus on criminal matters; and we will have more community-based policing strategies and better trust between residents and officers. We’re also moving forward with our police substation on Main Street, which will be an anchor for our officers in Downtown to reduce response times and establish an ever-presence of public safety in our downtown core.

3.   Salt Lake City’s Central Business District population will double in the next two years. How can the City enhance and expand green space and public spaces to support a healthy and vibrant downtown neighborhood?

The Downtown Green Loop has been discussed for years and after the great success of our demo project, I’m more determined than ever to make it happen — a linear park that would surround our downtown core and add as much as 60 acres of park space to Downtown, tapping our 132-foot wide streets and adding new including walking and bicycling trails. We want people to live, work and play downtown and adding this type of park space to our city would be transformative.

Open Streets started as a pandemic experiment designed to give people extra space and support our Main Street bars and restaurants is now closer than ever to being a permanent part of our city’s future. I want Main Street to become a pedestrian promenade to provide a consistent draw for visitors to our cultural core. Our shared vision for Main Street has always been to create a destination that enhances connectivity in our city, and closing Main Street to cars will be a contributor to the long-term livability and economic health of Downtown Salt Lake City.

4.   What is your plan for responding to the crisis of people living without shelter on the streets of Salt Lake City? Will you enforce no-camping ordinances? Please include your strategies for funding the initiatives that you propose.

Everyone deserves a safe place to sleep at night. Just like every other state, Utah has experienced an increase in homelessness over the last few years, and it manifests mostly here in Salt Lake City. My homelessness strategy operates on six tracks: building a lot more housing of all types; bringing support services to the unsheltered; persuading the state and other cities to do their fair share; supporting the housed residents and businesses affected by homelessness; protecting tenants and helping more people stay in their homes; and reforming how we deal with criminal activities of the unsheltered. We’ve opened 434 units of supportive housing already — with more in the pipeline. Plus the tiny-home community, which could reach 400 units if fully built. The Temporary Shelter Community this winter will add climate-controlled pods for 50 more this winter. And I am proud to say that for the first time in decades the city, state and county are working together and making more housing and shelter beds than ever before.

The city has had an ordinance on the books banning camping in public spaces for decades but in 2018 a federal judge ruled that, essentially, the ordinance can’t be implemented if people don’t have an alternative place to go. Over the last 90 days, the average utilization rate of our homeless resource centers has been 99 percent, and the Utah Homelessness Council will tell you the system has been operationally at capacity since May. As housing units become available this winter and beyond, enforcement of that ordinance will adapt accordingly.

5.   Please share your strategies for attracting and retaining employers and skilled workers to Salt Lake City.

Salt Lake City has one of the most educated and talented workforces in the West, if not the country, and we are so fortunate to have incredible academic institutions and some of the most innovative companies in the world right here. If we keep doing a better job of supporting our supporting graduates and entrepreneurs, and making it easier for them to build their businesses right here, we will be rewarded with a steady stream of economic opportunity. When I first ran for mayor, I identified six areas that were limiting Salt Lake City’s attractiveness to innovative businesses: the city’s reputation for being hostile to businesses; our poor air quality; the state’s reputation for poor treatment of women; insufficient housing supply; the region’s limited transit system; and a general lack of understanding of the city’s academic credentials. I could spend pages on each of these areas, but I’ll quickly note that my Tech Lake City initiative is designed specifically to address several of those areas (in addition to historic steps to improve our air quality and a 413 percent increase in the number of affordable housing units backed by the city each year). We are working closer than ever to support new high-tech businesses and attract others, including the development of an innovation district near downtown with a strong connection to the U. I’m excited by the growth we’re seeing in fintech, as well.

6.   How can the City best support the Utah Jazz’s long term residency in Downtown Salt Lake City?

In addition to regular communication and partnership with the leadership of the Jazz, I am committed to building a true sports and entertainment district that ensures our Downtown remains the place fans want to go to watch a Jazz game. We’re already working with Downtown stakeholders to conduct a market analysis and ensure a strong public benefit and public participation in the creation of a district downtown anchored by the Jazz and additional pro sports. The nature of the Downtown landscape means that we must work with other property owners and other levels of government, which is bringing useful and constructive perspectives to the conversation. We also need to acknowledge that the future of professional sports is about the experience before and after games and the experience of transportation to and from the games. Salt Lake City is absolutely the best place in Utah for the future of professional sports. We are already growing in the way that best suits the future of professional sports, with our growing Downtown population, our awesome bars and restaurants, and our expanding transit options. The Green Loop will add even more culture to Downtown’s vibe.

7.   What is one of your favorite dishes from a restaurant in the Central Business District?

The setas at Finca are just incredible.

8.   What else would you like downtown property owners, merchants, employers and residents to know about your campaign for mayor?

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, I stepped up with the nation’s first emergency loan program to help our small businesses survive the loss of income. I partnered with restaurants and bars to create the Tip Your Server program to help sustain our service workers. I created Open Streets to help restaurants serve more customers in a safer way (and restore some of the social connectivity lost to pandemic isolation). I required masks to keep people safe and level the playing field for business owners, ensuring they wouldn’t have to choose between keeping their workers safe and attracting customers. It was also during the pandemic that my Economic Development team explicitly changed its focus from attracting new businesses to Salt Lake City to supporting our current businesses. At every step, I have worked creatively and aggressively to support our businesses and defend Salt Lake City’s Downtown. Our economic recovery — the fastest of any in the country — did not happen by accident. We innovated and adapted and we worked together to survive. I know 2023 has not been as successful a year for some businesses as 2022, but I’m determined to keep working hard to bring visitors and customers Downtown and ensure our city’s incredible growth continues to benefit as many Salt Lake City residents and businesses as possible.