Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Lennie Mahler | The Salt Lake Tribune) Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker speaks with attendants before delivering his State of the City Address at the City and County Building on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013.
Heart of Salt Lake City beating strong, says Becker

Progress report » Mayor cites past accomplishments, looks to the future in state of the city speech.

First Published Jan 22 2013 08:47 pm • Last Updated Jan 22 2013 11:22 pm

Salt Lake City has a vibrant heartbeat, an active brain, sturdy muscle and an enduring soul.

Comparing Utah’s capital city to the human body, Mayor Ralph Becker said Tuesday evening in the annual "State of the City" address, that Salt Lake City can "look forward to a bright future with a prognosis of good health."

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"We are charging into the 21st century with optimism and anticipation of great things to come," Becker said.

Like most such speeches, Becker was short on specifics and reviewed recent accomplishments more than outlining future initiatives.

Nonetheless, it was clear that Becker will continue to pursue progressive programs that he has labeled his "Livability Agenda."

It focuses on environment, transportation and recreation that, in turn, would bolster Salt Lake City as a regional center for business, science, education and the arts.

The mayor pointed to the opening of City Creek Center shopping, business and residential project as evidence of a "vibrant heart" downtown. Beyond that, he said, 40 new shops and restaurants have opened in the past year. And Salt Lake City is becoming more cosmopolitan.

"Thanks to a burgeoning residential population, new businesses and flourishing event venues, the nighttime streets of downtown are filling more and more with patrons enjoying our city."

Next month, Becker will unveil the design for new Utah Performing Arts Center to be built on Main Street. By July or August, police and fire departments will move into the public safety building nearing completion east of Library Plaza.

Key to Salt Lake City’s success is its transportation – or circulatory – system, Becker said, continuing his human body metaphor.

story continues below
story continues below

"By the end of 2013, we will have witnessed the largest expansion of an urban rail system in the nation," he said, referring to a new TRAX line to the airport, a commuter rail line to Utah County and a planned streetcar line in Sugar House.

Becker also emphasized bicycle and pedestrian lanes and walkways in Salt Lake City’s transportation system that he said could become a model for the nation.

Education and entrepreneurship are Salt Lake City’s brain, the mayor said. The city boasts the University of Utah, Westminster College, Salt Lake Community College, and LDS Business College, among others.

Those institutions provide education for city residents, the mayor said, but also serve as incubators for entrepreneurs.

"Not only has the University of Utah joined the big leagues with PAC 12 membership, but we’ve seen the university emerge as one of the nation’s top two institutions for start-up businesses."

The mayor paid homage to the city’s settlers, saying that Salt Lakers "have always proven to be a strong, enterprising people."

That continues today, he said, through the development of neighborhood commercial centers – something he has championed, along with neighborhood pubs.

Becker also talked about the health of residents and a short reference to the city’s air quality. But in a briefing before the speech, the mayor said, "Our air quality is simply unacceptable."

The mayor said his administration has focused on getting people out of their cars, shifting the city fleet to natural gas and designing "net zero" municipal buildings to cut down on emissions. But the city can only go so far, he said, referring to the Utah Legislature that has refused go beyond federal pollution guidelines.

Finally, Becker pointed to what he termed an intangible, the soul of the city, that he said keeps Salt Lakers working toward a bright future.

"I look forward to the coming months and years with you to help Salt Lake City be the model of a healthy, vibrant, livable, great American city."

Next Page >

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.