Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall rides TRAX during February Free Fare in Salt Lake City on Tuesday. Mendenhall released her 2022 work plan on Thursday, outlining 75 goals she hopes to achieve by the end of December. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)
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SALT LAKE CITY — The mayor of Utah’s largest city is once again focusing on equity and environmental issues in 2022, as the city maintains record growth.
Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall released her 2022 action plan on Thursday, a document outlining ways to specifically address the issues she highlighted during her State of the City address last week. It offers 75 goals that she hopes to achieve by the end of December.
“From championing the health and longevity of the Great Salt Lake to beginning preliminary design for light rail links in the Granary and South West Downtown neighborhoods, we have a full plate and I am ready to get to work,” she said in a statement.
This year’s plan has four overarching themes: community, municipal employees, environment and growth. Most of the goals fall under the themes of community and the environment.
There are quite a few equity-related goals in this year’s work plan. The mayor said she hopes her office will be able to implement new equity and inclusion processes as part of its capital improvement program. Better awareness and better processes for evaluating applications are ways to achieve this.
There are goals to improve access to youth and education programs on the city’s west side, restructure courthouse practices in the city, and begin roundtables with residents and Indigenous governments as well.
There are also goals for moving forward with an early childhood education initiative, as well as a plan to work with the school district and city police department to develop “the most productive and the most beneficial relationship between school resource officers and schools”.
Mendenhall also hopes that recommendations from the second phase of the City’s Commission for Racial Equity in Policing will be considered, adopted and implemented in 2022.
There are also quite a few goals related to roaming.
- Obtain continued funding for state homelessness mitigation so that city residents “do not bear the burden of this statewide humanitarian crisis alone.”
- Submit a new Land Use Ordinance to City Council that differentiates between permanent and temporary emergency shelter uses and regulates their location either within the city or prohibiting them from the city.
- Work with the Salt Lake Valley Coalition to End Homeless, Salt Lake County, and others to identify new overflow shelter locations.
- Finding ways to “more effectively connect unprotected residents to stable housing and resources” through a project with the Harvard Bloomberg City Initiative.
Some of the other goals set in 2022 are the return or continuation of previous programs. For example, Mendenhall said she wants to revive the city’s “Livable Streets” initiative, which aims to make streets in city neighborhoods safer and more attractive. The city began collecting feedback from residents on this issue last year.
It also includes the start of a new citywide ranger program that the mayor announced last year. Funding for the program would come from money the city got from the US bailout.
Clean energy is highlighted in the mayor’s environmental goals, such as signing a new clean energy cooperation statement and developing a new five-year energy implementation program own. This is in addition to ongoing goals to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2030 and create policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% over the next 18 years.
There is a goal to complete a community garden by Harrison Avenue about a block southeast of Liberty Park this year, and to seek funds to plant another community garden in Rose Park which would open in 2023.
On a somewhat similar note, the work plan also sets a goal for the initial design of a “green loop” trail and park system that would encircle the city’s downtown core.
“The project would improve the physical, mental and social health of urban residents, improve transportation choices for residents and visitors, and spur sustainable growth,” the mayor’s office wrote.
The health and longevity of the Great Salt Lake is one of the elements that is not really in the hands of the city; however, the document says the goal is to continue to advocate for ways to protect the lake through state legislation and city policy.
After the city council passed a new light pollution ordinance last year, the mayor’s office also plans to implement “safety, environmental and dark sky components” in the lighting master plan. city audience.
The mayor also got to celebrate one of his environmental goals earlier this week with the launch of a Free Fare February initiative that the Utah Transit Authority launched on Tuesday.
Mendenhall says the goal for the month is also to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the TRAX light rail system, but also to gather data for future free ride initiatives. In addition to that, the city is currently working with the UTA to expand transit program opportunities for downtown small businesses, according to the work plan.
A plan to “phase in (the) permanent conversion of Main Street to a pedestrian promenade” highlights some of the remaining goals of this year’s work plan. The city started trying “Open Streets” on Main Street in 2020 due to the pandemic, but it became a popular event, so the city brought it back last year for summer weekends.
As an update to a new redesign of the Ballpark neighborhood, the mayor is also looking to send a Ballpark station area plan to the city council in 2022. She also hopes to find a location for a new library in the neighborhood.
The mayor is also seeking to provide “competitive benefits” to city employees who “demonstrate that they care about the quality of life of our employees” through an evaluation of the benefits program. The city also plans to launch an app soon that “will provide employees’ families with the means by which they can inquire about their employee’s safety during/after an emergency or disaster situation.”
Mendenhall has released a set of goals every year since taking office in 2020. In January, she said she would give her office an A for 2021 after the city hits about two-thirds of its goals.
All of the mayor’s goals for 2022 are available on the city’s website.