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Salt Lake County Regional Development News

Upper Mill Creek Canyon Road Improvements: What Was the Public's Input on the Early Project Scope?


May 13, 2022

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We Studied Your Comments.

The Federal Highway Administration Central Federal Lands Highway Division (FHWA-CFLHD), USDA Forest Service, Salt Lake County, and Millcreek, are proposing improvements to Mill Creek Canyon Road. The Upper Mill Creek Canyon Road Improvements project begins at the Winter Gate and proceeds east 4.5 miles, passing Elbow Fork, and ending at the Upper Big Water Trailhead.

A group of people in a room.

The project's first open house was held on Nov. 9, 2021. From that meeting, and the month following, project partners gathered more than 340 public comments.

We know Mill Creek Canyon is an important community resource, whether for its natural environment or recreation opportunities. Each comment was reviewed, and many fell into one or more of these major themes:

  • Resource protection
  • Bicycle and pedestrian safety
  • Increased speeds
  • Parking
  • Design element considerations
  • Shuttle system or other mass transit options
  • Level of environmental review
  • Firs cabin owner concerns
  • Section 4(f) evaluation

The project team has provided responses to comments and is considering the public input in the project's early design in a way that provides balance across different, and often competing, interests.

Read the full response to 10 key comments. Below is a summary of just five responses to key comments.

Road Widths

The project team took measurements throughout the project area and confirmed that the width of the road changes above and below Elbow Fork.

  • Winter Gate to Elbow Fork: the roadway width varies from 18.5 to 25.5 feet, and averages approximately 22 feet.
  • Elbow Fork to Upper Big Water Trailhead: the roadway width varies from 11 feet at its narrowest to 23 feet, and averages approximately 17 feet.

To balance different uses and concerns along the road, the project design team is considering different roadway widths and lane configurations as part of the preliminary design. A narrower roadway width typically results in less physical impact on the surrounding environment. However, that comes with tradeoffs for the amount of space for cyclists and drivers.

Comment: The beauty of Mill Creek Canyon and its natural and cultural resources should be protected.

The goal of the project is to develop a solution that strikes a balance between improving access and safety while minimizing environmental impacts. 

The team is considering concepts for different roadway widths and lane configurations. As the Canyon increases in elevation, it becomes narrower. So, different options are being explored between Winter Gate to Elbow Fork and Elbow Fork to Upper Big Water Trailhead. Project elements can create both positive and negative impacts. For example: 

  • Retaining walls reduce the physical footprint of the project but have a high cost with visual impacts
  • Drainage ditches and curbs create a wider road but reduce erosion by directing water to specific locations

More will be shared at the May 19, 2022 open house at Millcreek City Hall.

Comment: Bicycle and pedestrian safety are important because of the number of people walking or riding across/along Mill Creek Canyon Road.

Multiple concepts are being developed to find a balance between drivers and cyclists and environmental impacts. The project design team is analyzing concepts that include different roadway widths and lane configurations. A wider roadway gives more space for drivers and cyclists, but it can have greater environmental impacts. Other safety considerations include getting rid of informal parking areas and installing signing and striping.

Informal roadside parking areas often encroach on the road, making it narrower and unsafe for cyclists. Crosswalks could be striped, flashing signs could be installed in high-traffic areas, and warning signs could be placed in areas where drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists may be present.

Comment: A change in parking management is required to improve safety and reduce impacts on natural resources without increasing the overall parking capacity in the Canyon.

The project team is considering options to eliminate informal roadside parking areas that exist and maintain the current overall parking capacity by increasing parking at existing trailheads. 

Increasing parking capacity is not a project objective. Informal roadside parking is a safety hazard to pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles in travel lanes. Informal roadside parking also tends to damage vegetation, cause erosion, and other impacts on natural resources, including water quality. Informal parking areas also typically lead to user-created "spider" trails as visitors hike to their destination from their parked vehicle. 

  • Moving existing informal parking capacity to redesigned, formal parking areas such as the Big Water Trailhead will concentrate parked vehicles in areas designed to manage and minimize parking-related impacts on natural resources through hardened surfaces, proper drainage, etc.
  • Concentrating parked vehicles in specific areas will reduce human impacts, like informal trails, by allowing visitors to park in areas with direct access to formal Forest Service trails and restrooms.

Comment: Widening Mill Creek Canyon Road could lead to increased speeds.

The project design team is analyzing multiple concepts that include a narrower lane width than the 11-foot lanes shared at the public open house. There are tradeoffs, however. As lanes narrow there is increased potential for accidents, including head-on collisions or vehicles running off the road. Drivers also anticipate a consistent lane width and by providing that, the amount of weaving within the lane itself is reduced.

Mill Creek Canyon Road needs to be able to allow for the passage of emergency service vehicles.

  • Per the United Fire Authority, their trucks measure 8.5 feet across the front bumper.
  • The side view mirrors extend an additional 6 inches on each side of the truck, for a total truck width of 9.5 feet.

In the event of an emergency, first responders need to travel efficiently through the canyon, and in the case of a fire, while canyon users may be evacuating.

구고

May 19 Open House

Project partners will host a second open house at Millcreek City Hall from 4-7 p.m. May 19, 2022 to further review these comments and responses. There will also be:

  • A presentation and Q&A
  • Descriptions and figures of concepts
  • Summary of environmental data gathered to date
  • An opportunity to speak with project team members and give more input

For more information on the project, visit https://slco.org/millcreekcanyon.


Salt Lake County Awarded $3.9 Million from the EPA to Help Clean Up and Redevelop Contaminated Properties


May 12, 2022

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ENVIRONMENTAL REMEDIATION ON THIS SITE FUNDED BY THE WITH SUPPORT FROM OGDEN CITY, SALT LAKE CITY, AND SALT LAKE COUNTY

SALT LAKE COUNTY – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is awarding $3.9 million in new funding to Salt Lake County to clean up and redevelop contaminated properties.

“We’re grateful for the EPA’s substantial investment in Salt Lake County. It expands our ability to effectively leverage the Revolving Loan Fund and make a difference,” Mayor Jenny Wilson said.

The EPA Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund allows the County and its coalition partners – Salt Lake City and Ogden City – to issue loans to public or private property owners who meet EPA qualifications for assistance with brownfields.

Brownfields are properties with contamination that hinder development or redevelopment. Common examples are old auto repair shops, dry cleaners, and properties near old smelters, railroad lines, and mines.

“With our community’s history of industrial and mining work, there’s no shortage of properties that could use this EPA money for cleanup efforts,” said Kersten Swinyard, Program Manager for the Wasatch Brownfields Coalition and Salt Lake County Senior Economic Development Manager. “We’ll use this money to accelerate redevelopment on those contaminated properties and make our cities safer and cleaner for everyone.”

The funds are expected to assist at least 10 properties in the next 3-5 years, many of which are in former industrial areas that need significant clean-up to be safely redeveloped. Loans are low- to zero-interest for terms between two and five years.

“This award will set up Salt Lake County to further environmental justice in our underserved communities for years to come,” Wilson said. “All our neighborhoods deserve to live in healthy environments with the promise of an equitable economic future.”

Centro Civico Mexicano is one recipient that wrapped up its project in 2021. By working with the County, Centro Civico Mexicano received funds to remove asbestos, mercury, hydrocarbons and other contaminants in the soil. The remediated property now features a community center and 61 apartments for low-income seniors. The cleanup led to more than $25.2 million in leveraged redevelopment funding on the project.

The coalition works closely with the EPA and the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) throughout clean-up processes. The EPA has awarded $5,850,000 in total to Salt Lake County throughout its program history.

Property owners, not responsible for contamination, interested in financial assistance to clean up properties can visit https://slco.to/brownfields or contact Kersten Swinyard at 385-468-4869 or kswinyard@slco.org.


Salt Lake County Seeks 2 Americorps VISTA Volunteers to Help Change How People in Poverty Access Services


May 11, 2022

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Salt Lake County, in partnership with the Americorps VISTA program, seeks two volunteers to help develop a public program that will change how people in poverty engage with community services.

What's Americorps?

Americorps works with volunteers across the country to serve directly with organizations to tackle the country's most pressing challenges. For this opportunity, Americorps VISTA has partnered with Salt Lake County. 

The Assignment

The System Navigator program supports case management provided by individual social service agencies with technology -- a web app called "SAMi" -- that provides agency clients with access to control their own records. This allows clients to "own their own story." The game-changer of this technology is that it allows clients of social services to connect their data, documents, and goals with the programs they trust. 

VISTA volunteers will be a critical part of developing this public program to permanently change the way people in poverty in Salt Lake County are able to engage in services available to them and empower social service clients to take charge of their own journey out of poverty. In addition to lowering barriers to community resources, implementation will provide data for funders on the effectiveness of interventions to make public policy decisions.

VISTA volunteers will help develop Salt Lake County's System Navigator program:

  • Expand the program capacity
  • Develop training for navigators to connect clients with community resources
  • Make recommendations and perform research related to the software and user experience
  • Attend committee and council meetings to assess the community's needs
  • Identify potential partnerships to conduct academic studies
  • Create record management processes

VISTAs will have the ability to prioritize work items they feel will benefit most from their talent/experience, in coordination with County supervisors.

Read more specifics about the position.

Duration of service

Timeframe: One year, from June 2022-June 2023

Schedule: 40 hours/week with a flexibility to work at-home and in the office

Benefits

There is a bi-weekly living stipend of: $575.40. There is also an End of Service Education Award totaling: $6,495. 

Other benefits include healthcare, leave, childcare, and professional development.

Interested in learning more?

Contact: Adam Fordham, 385-227-1105

Email: afordham@slco.org

Application deadline: July 8, 2022


Adrian West Joins Salt Lake County Economic Development Team


May 10, 2022

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A man in a suit.

Adrian West joined Salt Lake County's Economic Development team this Spring as the Municipal Economic Development Manager. 

In this position, he helps develop and implement economic development strategies for the metro townships in Salt Lake County (Kearns, Magna, Copperton, White City, and Emigration Canyon).

A large part of the role involves understanding the needs of small businesses and local stakeholders to inform economic development decisions.

Adrian works extensively in community engagement and is spearheading multiple initiatives in select project areas. 

"One of the reasons I was drawn to economic development is the day-to-day diversity of the work," Adrian said. "I really enjoy the variety this work offers, and it's great to be part of an awesome team helping to advance small businesses, drive economic growth, and assist communities in maximizing their potential."

He holds an MBA in technology commercialization from Westminster College and a bachelor's degree in peace and conflict studies from the University of Utah.

In his free time, Adrian enjoys venturing outdoors, reading books on business and management, and exercising. 

Want to learn more about what's happening in the metro townships for economic development? Reach out to Adrian by phone at 385-468-4876 or email adwest@slco.org.