Saving open land in Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is planning to move forward with plans to build a huge sports complex on open land that is home to the largest unprotected block of riparian habitat along the Jordan River….that is, unless the people take a stand to stop this madness.  Read the information below and plan to come to City Hall in Salt Lake City TONIGHT to protest this move.
It comes down to this:

Either we allow our elected officials to build with our own tax dollars a  $43 million sports complex consisting of nine buildings including indoor and outdoor soccer stadiums, 21 sports fields, a forest of stadium lighting, 3 new roads, a new bridge and parking for 1,700 cars on the largest remaining block of undeveloped, unprotected and publicly owned block of riparian open space along the entire length of the Jordan River—or we refuse, once and for all, to go along with this particular ridiculously over-the-top example of Business As Usual.

This 160 acres of land on the west bank of the Jordan River at 2200 North is incidentally within the flood plain both of the Jordan River and of the Great Salt Lake, has been flooded repeatedly during the past century, and will surely be flooded again.  Each time it floods we taxpayers will be asked by to rebuild it again and again.

That is perfect MADNESS my friends.

I have to believe that many of you are as sick and tired as I am of watching this sort of B.S. happen over and over and over again right before our very eyes without  anyone saying or doing anything to oppose  it.

The decision about where to build the proposed Sports Complex will set a definitive example for the future of the entire Jordan River Corridor.   A year-long study called “Blueprint Jordan River”, financed with $300,000 of taxpayer money, recommended in December 2008 that ALL existing open space within the river corridor be protected as natural open space—specifically including this particular site.

Now the Salt Lake City mayor and city council, after unanimously endorsing the “Blueprint” report, want to develop the everloving crap out of this site anyway.  If we let our elected officials walk away from their commitment to protect open space here, what kind of example does that set for the other 14 cities and two counties through which the Jordan River flows?  If Salt Lake City categorically refuses to protect its own largest block of public land in the river corridor, how can we expect the taxpayers to approve funding of up to $350 million to purchase and preserve some 3,800 acres of privately owned riparian open space with still more taxpayer dollars?

Reminder:  at 7:00 pm today, January 5, the Salt Lake City Council will review and vote on a critical appropriation to fund and green-light the siting of the Sports Complex at 2200 North.

Your attendance & comments are important, to ask that the vote be delayed & to allow public process on alternative sites for Sports Complex.

If possible, please come to pre-meeting Rally:
of City-County Building
451 S. State St.
5:30 pm:  Q & A
6:00 pm:  Rally & informational presentation
Cards with talking points available, for those who want them.
Talking points also attached in this email.

We need people to get seating early, in the Council chambers – starting at 6:30 pm.

SL City Council meeting:
7:00 pm, Rm. 315
2-minute comments are encouraged but not required.
Fill out a card at Chamber entrance if you want to speak.

[If you can’t make it to the city council meeting, please consider signing our online petition and/or writing a letter—see petition link and email addresses and sample letter below.]

Please forward this widely.
See you there & thank you for all your help

Ray Wheeler

Director, Earth Restoration Network

Jordan River Restoration Project

Jordan River Restoration Network

Home phone:  801-355-6236

Work phone:  801-355-6236


Salt Lake City officials want to build, entirely at taxpayer expense, a sprawling $43 million sports complex on a 140-acre block of open space along the west bank of the Jordan River at 2200 North (see illustrations and photos in the attached “background” document.)  The proposed facility, to be built in two phases, will eventually consist of 17 sports fields, a forest of stadium-type lighting poles, 3 new roads, a new bridge over the Jordan River, parking for 1,300 or more cars, and no less than 9 new buildings including an outdoor and indoor soccer stadium, a maintenance building, a concessions building etc.

SoccerComplexArialAndConceptPlan_432x341px_20091231 copy.jpg




Panoramic view of proposed Jordan River Nature Park site at 2200 North.  The structure at left is a model airplane facility which will be moved to another location.

Given the object lesson of Hurricane Katrina it is purest madness to build any large public facility within any flood plain.  This particular site is not merely within the flood plain of the Jordan River but also within that of the Great Salt Lake, which rises and falls cyclically, its saline waters moving long distances up the Jordan River from its mouth.  The site has been inundated by flood water twice within the past 60 years, and was under water for several years during the mid-1980’s.  It will flood again.  When it does taxpayers will be asked to bail out and rebuild the facility all over again.

This is the last, relatively large block of undeveloped, unprotected, publicly owned land remaining on the Jordan River.   Blocks of open “lowlands riparian” habitat this large serve as incubators and stepping stones for a large variety of native plants, animals and birds.  In recent surveys the public has overwhelmingly supported open land & habitat preservation instead of sports facilities at this location and throughout the Jordan River corridor

By becoming a registered member of this web site you can stay in touch with the latest information about this issue and make it much easier for us to notify you when something is cooking.  There is no cost.

5.)   Send a message to elected officials.  Please call, write or email them to say that you oppose location of the project on the Jordan River.  Ask that the Jan. 5 vote be delayed, as we need time for public process.  See the attached sample letter and talking points for some ideas of what to say.  Also attached is a list of people to contact with their email addresses and phone numbers.

Following for your convenience are two blocks of email addresses that you can just cut and paste into the “To” window of your email application.   Note that some email programs including Microsoft Outlook use a semicolon as a separator for email addresses, and some use a comma.  Check to see whether your email program uses a comma or semicolon and then select one of the following email address groups to cut and paste:

The following email addresses are for Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, all 7 Salt Lake County members, Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon, and the Salt Lake City council (generic address).   I’m also including my email address so I know how many emails get sent. 

Semi-colon-separated email addresses to copy:;;;;;;; soren.simonsen@slcgov.com;


Comma-separated email addresses to copy:,,,,,,, soren.simonsen@slcgov.com,

Contact the Jordan River Restoration Network:

Salt Lake City Mayor Becker:

Salt Lake City Council:

Salt Lake County Mayor Corroon:

Salt Lake County Council:

Sample letter:

Dear Mayor Becker and City Council Members:
I am writing to express my strong opposition to the proposed Regional Sports Complex along the Jordan River at the former Jordan River State Park in northern Salt Lake County. The Regional Sports Complex project has been poorly planned by the Administration without meaningful or transparent public process. As a result, the sports facility is fraught with problems including environmental concerns related to the proposed location along the Jordan River, financial considerations and escalating project costs, and aspects of project planning and the reduced scope of work. As currently proposed, the Regional Sports Complex is significantly different from the Prop 5 project approved by voters in 2003.
Because of these many unresolved problems and the significant changes made to the voter-approved Prop 5 project, I am requesting that you halt forward progress on all aspects of this project until a thorough review and audit of the sports complex project can be conducted and a meaningful, transparent public process can be completed to resolve these problems and identify a more appropriate location for the sports facility.
I oppose further actions or approval of the Regional Sports Complex at this site for the following reasons:

<insert specific talking points from list here>

Please consider halting any further action, progress, or approvals for the Regional Sports Complex until a thorough examination and public review of the project can be conducted.

<your name, signature>

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