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Major construction projects could upend quiet Sugar House neighborhood

Posted at 4:44 PM, Oct 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-01 22:21:31-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah being the fastest-growing state in the nation also brings problems for local neighborhoods such as Sugar House, where future projects could impact business.

As the seasons change, so do the streets in Sugar House, one of Salt Lake City’s historic neighborhoods.

"Sugar House isn’t the neighborhood it was,” says Pam Pedersen, owner of the Central Book Exchange. "This street was really sleepy. We really had to bring people in. Now, people can walk around to many businesses."

"It just feels like people come here and whether they have a book or not when they leave, they leave with something really valuable," she added.

Pedersen has seen Sugar House evolve over the years, and as more people move into the neighborhood, more housing is built and the streets continue to change.

The city is in the process of putting together four major road projects in the area over the next few years.

"Small businesses are just recovering from COVID and people are feeling more comfortable to come out and visit, and I am worried that having the street shut down, even though I know it needs to happen, it’s a worry, but that will really, really impact us,” said Pedersen.

The first project starts in 2022, and it entails rebuilding the sewer and water line on 2100 South.

“The sewer that’s out there, it’s just old and it’s not big enough to meet the needs of the neighborhood right now," said Salt Lake City transportation engineer Lynn Jacobs.

In 2023, the city plans to rebuild Highland Drive and 1100 East from just south of Interstate 80 to 900 South.

A year later, crews will rebuild 1300 East from 210 South all the way to Millcreek, with the final project in 2025 scheduled to rebuilt 2100 South from 700 East to 1300 East.

"So all three roadways in Sugar House are going to be rebuilt in the next five years," added Jacobs.

While store owners like Pedersen realize more people in the area is good for business and that upgrades need to be made, she’s worried about the preservation of the neighborhood and keeping business alive throughout construction.

“This little part of Sugar House is the last original part. Is it going to stay?” she said

As development continues, the city says they welcome public comments through the local link study.

“We’re going to be fine," says Pedersen. "We’ve survived a lot of hard things, but you get tired.”