For as much as members of Salt Lake City Council patrol the needs and desires within their own districts, they are well aware that some ideas simply just don't end up in a city budget for one reason or another.

That's where Salt Lake City's capital improvement program comes into play.

A resident advisory board collects suggestions from residents and offers city leaders a list of projects ranked in order of how it believes they should be prioritized, then sends it off to the mayor's office and city council, who then set aside a budget with certain items that get fully or partially funded.

"It makes that some of those things that repeatedly fall through the cracks or maybe don't get the attention they need through more structural things, it gives us a chance to emphasize them and highlight them," said Salt Lake City Council Vice Chairwoman Victoria Petro, between city council meetings held Tuesday.

What's on the docket this year

Salt Lake City leaders directed $39.3 million in their current fiscal year budget toward this program, a 16% decrease from the record amount of money set aside during the 2023 fiscal year. But the additional money sets up about $28 million in new project funding, while the rest is used to help pay off debts tied to previous city projects, said Ben Luedtke, a policy analyst for the city.

Members of the council met Tuesday to hash out their final concerns about this year's program funding and listen to final public feedback before a vote that could take place as early as next week. Here is what is tentatively scheduled to be approved this year:

Citywide

  • Construct bus stops for 200, 209, 217 and other frequent bus routes in the city.
  • The implementation of Salt Lake City's Livable Streets traffic calming project, adding new traffic calming measures by targeting high-need areas first.

District 1

  • The design and construction of the Westpointe/Jordan Meadows neighborhood byway.
  • The creation of an art project to be incorporated into the area.
  • The creation of a trailhead and parking lot located at 356 N. Redwood Road by Cottonwood Park.
  • Restoration of the courts and adding more amenities for the Fire Station No. 7 tennis courts.
  • The construction of a roundabout at 500 North and 1000 West in Fairpark.
  • Improvements to landscaping and safety by Rose Park Lane.

District 2

  • Improvements by 1700 South and 1300 West for the new Glendale Regional Park.
  • The creation of an art project to be incorporated into the area.
  • The beginning of studies for urban trails to connect to The Other Side Village.
  • An expansion of the basketball court and other improvements at Poplar Grove Park.
  • Improvements to International Peace Gardens, including restoration of the artwork.
  • Improvements to Madsen Park.
  • Implementing green medians for a "linear park" on 800 West between North Temple and I-80.

District 3

  • The construction of new sidewalks, bikeways and pedestrian crossings on Virginia Street.
  • Improvements to Ensign Peak Nature Park, including new lighting, landscape improvements by the entrance and a new access gate and fence by the trailhead.

District 4

  • A study of structural and drainage issues causing damage at Library Plaza.
  • The development of a "pocket park" by 337 S. 400 East.
  • A project to design and construct the expansion of four Fire Station No. 1 apparatus bay extensions.
  • The replacement of traffic signals at 400 South and 1300 East.
  • A new playground for Richmond Park.

District 5

  • Improvements to Jefferson Park, including better lighting and fencing.
  • Upgrades to five crosswalks along Main Street from 900 South to 2100 South.
  • Improvements to the sidewalk by senior housing near 200 East and 1700 South, so that it's up to code with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

District 6

  • An engineering design of a neighborhood byway connecting the neighborhood with the University of Utah campus. This also combines with District 7.
  • Extend the 9-Line Trail out toward Sunnyside Park near the University of Utah campus.
  • Safety enhancements for Blaine Avenue and 2500 East to help vehicles slow down near Beacon Heights Elementary School.

District 7

  • The completion of improvements to 2100 South.
  • Funding for the second phase of Sugar House Safe Side Streets, implementing traffic calming measures that were tested in the first phase.

What happens next?

A few more than a dozen residents commented on the proposals during a public hearing Tuesday evening, many making one last pitch for the projects they'd like to see.

While Petro said it appears that the council has "consensus" on this year's projects, she's quick to point out that project funding is subject to change and won't be finalized until a vote by the council expected to take place on Aug. 15. Once finalized, work can begin on the selected projects.

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But even projects that don't get funded this year can get a second chance.

Luedtke points out that the second phase of the Sugar House Safe Side Streets project missed the cut last year, but former Salt Lake City Councilwoman Amy Fowler, who resigned on July 3, heavily pushed for it to be included this fiscal year. The project aims to offset some of the impacts on neighborhood streets while construction continues on the main traffic corridors.

It just goes to show that residents can have a major impact on city projects.

"Some things need special attention," Petro said, "and our constituents do know their neighborhoods best and we need to keep that front and center."

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