On Friday, Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski and Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams were joined by state and legislative leaders to announce a new direction.
Data showed a currently operating shelter in Midvale would suffice for homeless families, officials said, and it would be more economical to build three 200-bed shelters than the four 150-bed shelters proposed for sites in Salt Lake City.
The county also agreed to find a place for a shelter outside of Salt Lake City, cutting the city's commitment from four sites to two. The city chose to scrap the Simpson Avenue location and another on city-owned land at 648 W. 100 South, not far from the current homeless shelter.
Leaders have said their decision to reset wasn't motivated by the public outcry from residents and business owners near 653 E. Simpson Ave.
McAdams had characterized the purchase as too costly, saying stakeholders had planned to spend $1 million to $2 million per site and that the city would not be fully reimbursed from an expected $27 million in state funding.
The city had countered by saying only a portion of the land would be required for the shelter and that acquired land on the south side of Simpson Avenue might be used for a development that included affordable housing.
Multiple City Council members said after Friday's announcement that they'd be inclined to walk away rather than try to figure out another use for the property.
Councilwoman Lisa Adams said Tuesday that it was "the right choice" to bail on the deal.
"I'm happy for that neighborhood," said Adams, whose district includes 653 E. Simpson Ave. and who was politically isolated when she was the first to suggest moving forward with just three sites.
Chris Sveiven, who lives a few houses down from the Lit'l Scholars day care and helped organize the opposition, called it "the right decision" and said he was proud of a group of vocal neighbors whom he now counts as friends.
The city's decision was "set in concrete," Sveiven said, "and I feel like our voices were heard."
Community activist George Chapman agreed that the resident testimonies, yard signs and other efforts played a role in the outcome.
"This shows what neighborhoods, when they come together, what they can accomplish," Chapman said. "I'm pumped."