(KCPW News) Public support for Salt Lake City’s public safety bond is high, but a small, vocal group going by the name of Citizens for Better Leadership and Planning is working feverishly in the final days before the election to mobilize citizens against Proposition One. Stephen Goldsmith, a former planning director for Salt Lake City, says the group supports the idea of a new public safety building, but is concerned about the preferred location just to the east of Library Square.
“What we would love to see happen is for Mayor Becker to take this Third East site off the table, because we want to support this, but we just can’t support it blind,” Goldsmith says. “The potential to develop a first-rate mix of uses east of Library Square is at stake here.”
Goldsmith says the blocks next to 300 East are designated for mixed use development that will be scared away if the public safety complex is built there. He says Mayor Ralph Becker’s initial selection of Library Square itself as the preferred site made many residents distrust the administration. He fears the city won’t be transparent in considering alternative sites if Proposition One passes.
Another member of the group, Ray Kingston, would prefer to see the public safety complex located closer to the courthouse on the west side of the City-County Building. As a retired architect and planner, he believes it doesn’t belong next to Library Square.
“The crucial, crucial thing is its incompatibility with the functions, social, educational, literary of both the library and the Leonardo,” Kingston says. “It’s like marrying a dove with an elephant. They don’t match. It’s inconceivable that they work together.”
Citizens for Better Leadership and Planning is organizing via email. Neither Kingston nor Goldsmith could tell KCPW exactly how many people call themselves members of the group.