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Potential renovation around Delta Center still being discussed by City Council

Posted at 9:56 PM, Jun 11, 2024

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake City Council continues to consider the half-percent sales tax increase that would help pay for part of the Delta Center's revitalization zone.

The Smith Entertainment Group claims the 100-acre transformation will benefit residents even if they never go to a basketball or hockey game.

The council has until Sept. 1 to come to an agreement before the proposal goes to a state committee.

"I feel the gravity of the decision in front of us," said council chair Victoria Petro.

Petro shared her concerns that a 0.5% hike could be too high for some.

"This doesn't work unless Salt Lakers are able to enjoy the city they've built," she said.

"I think the best thing you can do for low-income residents of Salt Lake City is have a city that's prospering, and I mean that, to have a tax base that can support and do the things we ask government to do," said Natalie Gochnour, director of the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute.

The council has been listening to the Smith Entertainment Group's plans for weeks.

"Getting a pedestrian connection all the way to West Temple, whatever that looks like is to me, really important," said councilmember Darin Mano. "I hope that that comes to fruition."

Mike Maughan said the Utah Jazz and the Delta Center bring in $326 million of "economic contribution" each year. He said the new professional hockey team will add another $288 million.

"The goal overall is to create a very family-friendly gathering space, many family-friendly gathering spaces downtown where people can shop, eat, gather and come together," he said.

At Tuesday night's council meeting, residents and business owners shared their support and concerns.

"As I look at the details that are trickling out and in the Trib this morning, this just keeps getting worse and worse. This is a poison pill takeover frankly of 100 acres of oligarchic rule downtown," said resident Jen Colby.

"It has the power to revolutionize not just dead downtown but the entire city," said Derek Johnson. "It is an investment we need to make me and other business owners feel comfortable investing in downtown in the long term."

There were rumors that the plans included a helipad. The Smith Entertainment Group clarified that they never asked for one and have no intention of ever asking for one.

Maughan said Delta Center renovations would start at the beginning of April next year.