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Riverton election issues include annexation, community center

Massive growth, the annexation of thousands of acres of undeveloped property, clogged roads, a controversial community center and worries about youths and crime are key issues in a busy City Council race.

Cherri White and Adam Bass are vying for a two-year term on the council. Joel Miller, Michael Orr, Galen Mills and Steve Brooks are running for a four-year term.Among the issues is a debate about the former Riverton Elementary School that the city bought from the Jordan School District for use as a community center. Candidates and residents seem to be polarized either for it or against it.

(Information on mayoral candidates Don L. Beckstead and Sandra N. Lloyd was published Oct. 24. More will be printed Sunday.)


Cherri White

Address: 12140 S. 2010 West

Age: 37

Occupation: Wife and mother of two children.

Experience: Ran for Jordan School Board last year.

Dealing with growth: Growth is inevitable, but the city must be responsive. "The real issue is how to help people moving in to integrate into the community as well as make sure services are there. We need to foster relationships to make them feel welcome and do what we can to make sure the infrastructure is there to take care of the needs of the residents that are moving in," White said.

Other important issues: "Based on what I've seen, the city has not been thus far really open to business and commercial growth. For a city to be really viable, it has to have a good commercial base."

She also is concerned about traffic-clogged roads and wants Riverton to get moving on joint efforts to widen 12600 South.

Position on the community center: White thinks it is unsafe for community center use. "We need a community center, but we need to look at alternatives," White said. The issues also goes deeper: "About a year and a half ago, the residents voted not to put taxpayer money by way of a bond into that building. My feeling is that every time you ask residents to vote, you'd better be willing to go by what they want."

Adam Bass

Address: 1384 W. Quail Ridge Circle

Age: 18

Occupation: University of Utah student.

Experience: Currently on city planning and zoning commission; served on Riverton City Youth Council, including one year as mayor.

Dealing with growth: Growth is going to happen, Bass said. "What we need to do is make it more responsible. We need to be more business-friendly. Residential growth is good if handled correctly."

He also wants the city to examine surrounding properties before making planning and development decisions, and to pay attention to overburdened roads, especially 12600 South.

Other important issues: Bass said it's important for city officials to do their homework and said he inspects every property that comes before the planning and zoning commission and reads the meeting packets thoroughly. He said he has the time to devote to city business on the council. Bass also has been involved with the arts council and thinks the city should continue to promote cultural and recreational activities for all citizens.

Position on the community center: Bass supports Riverton Elementary School as a community center and thinks the preservation of historic buildings is important for city's heritage and its future. "It's absolutely vital for our city. We need to have places where the community can come together as a community."


(two elected)

Joel Miller

Address: 2566 W. Drycreek Drive

Age: 33

Occupation: Counselor at Lone Peak High School.

Experience: Running for office for the first time.

Dealing with growth: He wants good planning for residential development. He also wants to see the city encourage non-polluting industries to locate near the newly opened Bangerter Highway to build the tax base, provide employment within the city and reduce commercial truck traffic through town.

Other important issues: "Last year I was the high-risk counselor at Kennedy Junior High and I became very concerned because I worked strictly with gangs and the drug environment. And as I began seeing more things crop up in my town of Riverton, I became even more concerned."

Miller wants to see more community watch programs for neighborhoods and more constructive activities for young people. "I feel strongly that we need to have as many programs and options and avenues available to kids so they will have things to do."

As the father of two toddlers, Miller also is worried about traffic and pedestrian safety and wants prompt attention to Riverton's overcrowded roads.

Position on the community center: "I'm a sentimentalist and I love old buildings," he said. However, he doesn't think the old elementary school is safe. "We should build a new one with funds generated from selling the land because it's prime commercial land."

Michael Orr

Address: 11848 S. 3085 West

Age: 37

Occupation: Engineer for an independent telephone company.

Experience: Running for office for the first time.

Dealing with growth: "The city needs a new vision and direction," Orr said, noting that a three-county area around Portland, Ore., undertook a 30-year plan that addressed needs and locations for residential and commercial development, agriculture, roads and recreational areas and facilities.

With proper planning, Riverton can grow sensibly and well with no unfortunate surprises.

Other important issues: Planning is crucial for roads since Riverton experiences traffic jams regularly.

Orr also supports efforts to provide wholesome recreation for young people as well as adults. "I'm really big on adding more parks, looking into acquiring new, larger rodeo grounds, and adding more baseball and soccer fields."

Position on the community center: Orr thinks there is a better alternative to Riverton Elementary School as community center. "We've poured too much money into a building that seats only 250 people and we have to spend a lot more to bring it up to code. A community center is important and we should look at building a new one, probably to the west. It's in the wrong place in the middle of a commercial district."

Galen Mills

Address: 13086 S. Trotter Court

Age: 49

Occupation: Alliant Tech Systems' small business ad-min-is-tra-tor.

Experience: Was appointed to the council in June to fill a vacancy; has been a member of the planning and zoning commission for four years and chaired it for the past year and a half.

Dealing with growth: "Growth is our number one issue," Mills said. "We need to make sure that as developers come in, the residential areas keep as rural a feeling as possible. And we don't want our commercial corridor to look like State Street. We need to keep things beautified, nice and pedestrian-friendly."

Other important issues: Riverton's overburdened streets need widening as soon as possible. Secondary water for watering lawns also is important. Mills said the city has dry lines for secondary water covering about 22 percent of the city. "Now we need a water distribution system to fill those lines," and the city is seeking a state grant to do so, he said. "It would take a great burden off the culinary water system."

Position on the community center: "I think we need a community center, but I don't know if it should be the school or exactly where it should be located," Mills said. "Before we sell the property to a commercial vendor, we need to ask ourselves if we want it to become a strip mall. We could put another building up there. We don't have to use taxpayer dollars. We need to be looking at all the options."

Steve Brooks

Address: 12860 S. 3600 West

Age: 58

Occupation: District manager for Eastman Kodak.

Experience: Three-term incumbent City Council member.

Dealing with growth: As the city annexes more land, Brooks said he favors a master plan to ensure a good mix of residential and commercial development. "We also need to provide good quality services," he said.

Brooks said the city four years ago made changes to handle growth and improve the city's appearance to increasing lot size to 14,000 square feet, increasing homes sizes and boosting the required square footage of brick. "If developers are going to build homes, they have to build nice homes," he said.

Other important issues: Pedestrian safety - especially for school children - is another major concern, Brooks said. Jordan School District is building three new schools. "Sidewalks are very critical with these new schools. We need to make sure these students are safe. We put 3.5 miles of sidewalk in last year and we need to put more in," Brooks said.

Position on the community center: Riverton Elementary School is a good community center and it makes money, Brooks said, because rooms are being rented regularly for all sorts of activities. He supports keeping it.