Salt Lake City looks back — and ahead — to tell downtown story

Free screening • City planning division invites public input for master plan update.
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As Utah's capital city looks to the future, it is inviting people to look to the past in the KUED-produced documentary "Salt Lake City: A Downtown Story."

"We're calling it the downtown story project," said Molly Robinson, an urban designer in the Salt Lake City Planning Division. "We're doing this prior to even launching the downtown master plan process."

The planning division is hosting a free screening of the film, which aired earlier this year on Channel 7, that's a look at the changing history of Blocks 75 and 76, which are now home to the City Creek Center.

But the blocks — between State Street and West Temple, South Temple and 100 South — were first home to farmhouses when the pioneers arrived in Utah 165 years ago. Then the blocks hosted mansions and retail, including ZCMI, the nation's first department store, newspapers, a nationally renowned theater, and a public rail system.

Eventually, they were dominated by a pair of malls — the ZCMI Center and Crossroads — that were recently remodeled into City Creek. In the same way that decades after trolley lines were ripped up they were replaced later by downtown Trax lines.

"Everything has changed so many times," said the film's producer, Issac Goeckeritz. "We're trying to allow people to imagine what downtown has looked like in each of these unique eras."

With the screening, city planners are inviting residents to share their downtown memories and hopes for the future.

"We're using the stories to identify what the public values in our downtown and what they would like to see there," Robinson said. "I hope that it helps develop the vision for Salt Lake City." —

'Salt Lake City: A Downtown Story'

What • Documentary screening/public discussion

When • Thursday, Dec. 13, at 7 p.m.

Where • Salt Lake Main Library auditorium, 210 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City

Admission • Free

More • Salt Lake City planning division will be holding more public events in upcoming weeks to invite residents to share their vision for downtown's master plan. For schedules, visit