(KCPW News) University of Utah graduate students taking part in a research project, dubbed the West Side Studio, are gathering input from West side residents about how to turn North Temple into the city's vision of a "Grand Boulevard." Assistant Professor of City and Metropolitan Planning Caitlin Cahill instructs the class, which held its first community workshop yesterday.
"So we really wanted to hear from the community, but we're also aware that for many they might not be thinking about some of the issues that the planners know are issues, and so how to really create an interactive process, that's on the one hand informative, but really treats the community members here as they experts they really are in their every day lives," Cahill said.
Students involved in the project will compile the information gathered at the two community workshops to give city planning officials as they begin the three year, $10 million project. Participants were asked to share their priorities and concerns. Beautifying the street with trees and flower beds was one big priority. And west side resident Julie Guarino ranked safety as her top priority.
"Just walking over here I got propositioned, so as a woman living in this side of town, it doesn't always feel safe. There's a lot of drug deals and stuff like that going on," Guarino said. "While I was in there, a lot of people, like me, were concerned with the parks and the paths and things to beautify the community and maybe bring it back to a more natural feel, not so much concrete and asphalt."
The redesign will likely cause problems of its own, said Bill Knowles with the North Temple Community Advisory Committee. Knowles noted that small businesses in the area will need to endure three years of construction. He said the community should be aware that these businesses will need customers throughout the process to maintain the unique and vibrant business community along North Temple.