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Sandy mayor gives State of the City address

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Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan presents the State of the City address during the annual Appreciation Awards banquet on Jan. 31.

Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan presents the State of the City address during the annual Appreciation Awards banquet on Jan. 31.

Jim McClintic

During his annual State of the City address, Mayor Tom Dolan said Sandy has no plans to be the biggest city, just the best.

The address was given during the annual Sandy Appreciation Awards held on Jan. 31 at the Expo Center. In addition to giving away service awards, Dolan gave an overview of the city and the good work of individual departments.

“Nothing beats living in Sandy. All in all, it’s a great place to live,” Dolan told the crowd of more than 200 people.

Dolan started off by thanking the volunteers who contributed more than 133,000 hours in 2011 with a savings to the city of more than $1.5 million. In Parks and Recreation alone, more than 89,000 people volunteered last year and helped save more than $987,000.

Dolan said that without the contributions of these volunteers, Sandy wouldn’t be as well off as it is.

The mayor spoke at length about the improvements to Sandy’s parks and trail system. Improvements were made to the amphitheater’s west plaza, making access to events easier for patrons. Several parks received repairs and new equipment including a new lighting system for the softball field at Bicentennial Park.

Dolan announced several new trail construction projects including construction of an undercrossing at 300 East, completion of the Jordan River Trail and the design of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail from Hidden Valley Park to Bell Canyon Reservoir.

“We’re going through a severe recession, but we’re still able to provide high quality services and we haven’t raised taxes,” he said. “We’re going to concentrate more in the next year on developing our trail system. We’re looking to create more open space and trails through the city.”

The city maintained its AA+ bond rating and continues to boast one of the lowest employment rates in the state at 3.7 percent. It is the fifth largest city in the state and has a population of 87,461 people.

Dolan spoke about new developments coming to Sandy, including the Civic Area Master Plan and about a partnership with the Canyons School District to redevelop the Mount Jordan Middle School campus into new office space and a new middle school.

“The new Civic Center Master Plan will make Sandy even more desirable to live in,” he said. “It will help establish a stronger tax base and will allow us to provide the high quality services we are known for.”

Sandy was named the 69th safest city out of 402 cities nationally by the CQ Press., a leading publisher of books, directories, subscriptions, and web products on American politics, institutions and federal and state government. It was the second safest city in Utah and the safest city in the Salt Lake Valley, CQ Press said. Crime in Sandy has decreased by 18.5 percent in 2011 with many categories being the lowest for more than a decade. Aggravated assault, business and residential burglary, domestic cases, vehicle burglary, and thefts were all lower than average last year.

“We’ve seen the lowest crime rates in the last 10 years, and we’re very proud of that,” Dolan said. “We’ve also seen a 30 percent decrease in traffic on 10600 South because of the new off ramp at 11400 South. It took a lot of time to build it but it’s worth the wait.”

Dolan said the Sandy Fire Department is the only department in the valley to maintain paramedics at all the stations. The five stations situated around Sandy enhance the ability to respond to a crisis in less than five minutes, he said.

The city also has plans to install a fence in the outfield at Crescent Park, add outdoor workout stations at Alta Canyon and Flat Iron Park and a landscaping project near 700 East at Lone Peak Park.

“Sandy wouldn’t be the same place without its residents,” Dolan said. “The city is grateful for those who have gone before us and made Sandy a great place to live.”

— Brenda Fisher