Downtown Salt Lake Will Get Its Sky Bridge

<p>The controversial plan, which critics fear will hurt street life, gets the go ahead from the city council.</p>
April 9, 2008, 1pm PDT | Christian Madera | @cpmadera
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"Derided by some, it divided many in the community for more than a year. Now, it will bridge both halves of a $1.5 billion mega-development designed to breathe dynamism into a moribund downtown.

The Salt Lake City Council on Tuesday approved a Main Street sky bridge for the LDS Church's City Creek Center. And the margin - 6-1 - was wider than expected.

One councilman choked back tears. Several said they will remember the vote all their lives. And most agreed the move will be a catalyst for the capital to forget "the former fortress" of malls that dominated downtown for 30 years.

New Councilman Luke Garrott was the lone holdout, saying, "I don't think you develop downtown through mega-projects." He also argued that the owner is more interested in private profit, which a skywalk will enhance, than a revitalization of downtown.

"We want it to be invisible and transparent, and on the other hand we want to make it a landmark for the ages," Garrott said about the skywalk. "I don't think it can be both things."

But the rest of the council, including former bridge critics Soren Simonsen and J.T. Martin, disagreed.

"The sky bridge has been criticized as something that will kill our Main Street. Frankly, I don't believe that it will," said Councilman Eric Jergensen. "Rather than being a negative thing for our city, it will be a positive thing, almost iconic." "

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Published on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 in The Salt Lake Tribune
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