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Voters support Salt Lake plan for bond

It would finance sports complex, zoo renovation

Even if it means a tax increase, Salt Lake voters are willing to approve a $63.5 million bond funding a bevy of projects, including a sports complex, Hogle Zoo renovation and a redesign of Pioneer Park, according to a new poll.

However, Tuesday the City Council tentatively pulled one of Mayor Rocky Anderson's pet projects — Pioneer Park renovation — from the bond. Also, the council tentatively eliminated renovation of the Hansen Planetarium from the bond. Pulling both the projects would reduce the bond to about $53 million.

The initial $63.5 million bond would have cost the owner of a $175,000 home about $30 a year for 20 years. Additionally, taxes would increase an unknown amount to pay for the ongoing maintenance of some projects, Anderson and the City Council agree.

According to a Deseret News/KSL-TV poll conducted Aug. 19-21 by Dan Jones & Associates, a majority of Salt Lake voters support the bond. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent.

The poll, of 415 Salt Lake residents, found 59 percent would probably or definitely vote for the bond, including Pioneer Park and the Hansen Planetarium, if it was placed on the Nov. 4 general election ballot. Only 34 percent said they would probably or definitely vote against the bond. Another 7 percent said they weren't sure yet.

Anderson has proposed using the bond to fund projects including:

A massive sports complex of 30 soccer fields, eight baseball diamonds and indoor practice facilities near the Davis County line between Redwood Road and I-215.

A pair of library branches in Glendale and Capitol Hill.

Renovation of the Hogle Zoo's large-animal (elephant, rhino) exhibit and its large-cat exhibit.

An open-space trust fund to create non-developable public land in the foothills and elsewhere.

Restoration of the Hansen Planetarium building so that it could serve some other public purpose.

Renovation and upgrading of Pioneer Park.

Renovation of the old City Library downtown into a science, cultural and education facility called The Leonardo at Library Square.

The City Council is considering Anderson's proposal and Tuesday, through a nonbinding straw poll, eliminated Pioneer Park and the Hansen Planetarium from the list.

Public Services director Rick Graham said Pioneer Park renovation would now probably have to be funded though the city's Capital Improvement Projects budget, if park renovation is funded at all.

The council Tuesday also tentatively decided to break the projects up on the ballot so city voters can pick and choose between which ones they would like to support or decline.

The council will take a formal vote later this month or next month to decide for certain if the bond vote will happen.


E-mail: bsnyder@desnews.com