Letter: A sports district trumping arts in Salt Lake City? I didn’t get to vote on that.

(Ryan Smith via X) Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith posted this rendering of the proposed downtown sports and entertainment district on X on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024.

A recent Salt Lake Tribune article, “Much remains to be ironed out?,” informed us that our state, county, and city leaders decided to “iron out” of existence Abravanel Hall with a new plan to turn our arts city into a sports district!

This change comes without a vote from Salt Lake City residents. Apparently, this gift of 100 square acres of our downtown to Ryan Smith was approved by our Legislature, Salt Lake County, Salt Lake City and LDS leaders.

I, a resident of Salt Lake City, was never asked for my opinion or vote. Were you?

Plus, Ryan Smith will get all the rents from all of these restaurants, hotels and sports complexes. He will essentially own downtown Salt Lake City! However, this sports district does not include Abravanel Hall which will be rebuilt somewhere else!? Apparently, Salt Lake County Councilman Jim Bradley was the only person with a concern about Abravanel Hall.

And Japan Town could suffer the same fate. What kind of “restaurants, bars, and entertainment” will accompany this new sports district? The accompanying photo of cheering young white males does not bode well for ballet, opera, drama or orchestras.

The entire amount of money needed to rebuild an equally beautiful Abravanel Hall, including parking, should be in the bank before any part of a sports district is built or remodeled. And, by law, all arts proceeds need to go to the arts organizations for their own support, not to Ryan Smith.

I never voted for a sports district to replace our arts city. Did you?

Bev Terry, Salt Lake City

Submit a letter to the editor