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Opinions sought on center

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What would you like in a Unity Center?

Salt Lake City wants to know. The center, which came about through Mayor Rocky Anderson's Main Street Plaza compromise, is on the verge of reality.

City leaders are poised to take public input to determine what the public would like in its Unity Center. Some of the ideas already suggested include space for education, recreation or a library.

The city has sent over 1,500 letters to various individuals and organizations inviting them to participate in the process. But you don't need an invitation to participate. Interested parties can RSVP to mayor@slcgov.com, or call 535-7704. Also, those who cannot attend any of the meetings can send their ideas to either the e-mail address or the phone number.

There are three meetings currently scheduled; at the Pioneer Police Precinct, Thursday, Sept. 18, 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Salt Lake Community College, South High Campus, Sept. 20, 8:30 a.m. to noon, and at the city library, Saturday, Sept. 27, 8:30 a.m. to noon.

Once all the input is received, Anderson will ask a steering committee of approximately 25 community leaders and stakeholders to help prioritize projects and develop a final plan for the Unity Center.

Thursday the council grilled Anderson's chief of staff Dave Nimkin about the center and what it will look like. Nimkin said there are many community groups that are interested in contributing to the $4.5 million already raised for the center.

Nimkin said there won't be a formal plan until after the public meetings. Nimkin said his plan is to come to the council with a business plan and formal drawings by 2004.

While Anderson's administration had asked the council to allocate the entire $4.5 million given to the city by the Alliance for Unity, the council balked at that request until it has seen a formal plan for the center. Instead, the council decided to allocate several hundred thousand dollars to hire an architect to create some plans for the center out of the public meetings.