The county has put down earnest money deposits on the five sites, McAdams said, but with contracts written so it won't lose funds on locations it chooses not to pursue. Because of that, he said, "the options are open."
The proposed sites are: 1820 W. Printers Row (2300 South), West Valley City; 2411 S. Winston St. (1070 West), West Valley City; 2249 S. Winston St. (1070 West), West Valley City; 3091 S. Main St., South Salt Lake; and 1144 W. 3300 South, South Salt Lake. None is in a primarily residential area.
Announced last week, the five potential locations are part of a consolidated city-county deal. Rather than its previously planned four 150-bed shelters, Salt Lake City will move forward with two 200-bed shelters, at 131 E. 700 South and 275 W. High Ave, while dropping the controversial Simpson Avenue property in Sugar House. A third will be sited in Salt Lake County outside of the capital city.
The redrawn plans forged by state leaders did not ultimately alleviate ongoing tensions between city and county officials over the project.
During his meeting with The Tribune, McAdams several times mentioned Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski. He noted that she is "pushing hard" for the county to house the men's facility while the city hosts the women and gender-segregated populations. But the demographics at each center have not yet been decided, McAdams said.
He also disclosed that Biskupski barred the county from participating in the city's selection process. And though it was set by the state, the mayor called the 200-person cap on the city's facilities "a little arbitrary." The county's shelter, McAdams added, will house between 200 and 300 people.
And unlike the city's approach, with key decisions made largely without public input, the county will ask for feedback on the proposed sites over the next two weeks through a series of open houses and public meetings at the Utah Capitol.
McAdams also plans to add another public meeting in West Valley City, with the date to be determined, after residents raised concerns that the Capitol was inaccessible.
The county mayor said he anticipated that many attendees will "rail" about the site selections near their neighborhoods and is encouraging participants to supply specific and productive testimony about why specific locations might not work. West Valley City and South Salt Lake leaders have decried the proposed shelters.
"You're never going to get everybody happy," McAdams said, later adding: "Our goal is not to have unanimous consent."
The mayor also lamented the abbreviated timeline for the process, but he noted, "We can't change that."
McAdams said Utah lawmakers had hoped the county would have a site selected by last week's end of the legislative session — looking to shorten the process after Salt Lake City's rocky monthslong site selection. McAdams negotiated the deadline to March 30, he said, to allow more time for public feedback.
"Were I able to write the terms of this agreement, it would have looked different than what we see right now," he said. "Faced with maybe losing and not getting anything this legislative session or taking a proposal that was maybe a little bit of a give-and-take, I felt that I needed to take the offer that was on the table and make it work."
The state has committed $27 million to the project, with funds for construction of the shelters, called "resource centers," as well as ongoing services.
Lawmakers also passed a bill this session — yet to be signed by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert — that would aid the county by allowing it to override city ordinances with its shelter-site selection.