This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
One of the final pieces of public input Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams got before he and a committee will rank the seven sites that may host a new homeless shelter came from Dave Stringham.
"Please avoid the Main Street site," Stringham of Stringham Lumber in South Salt Lake told McAdams as he stood in a small scrum of residents and business owners at the final such forum Monday night.
McAdams stood for nearly two hours as dozens of people peppered him with questions and concerns about siting a homeless resource center in South Salt Lake.
The forum was to focus on two sites one near 3380 South 1000 West and one near 3432 South 900 West but the most visible and vocal opposition came from business owners who agreed with Stringham and wanted the state to avoid choosing the site proposed for 3091 S. Main.
McAdams said he was taking into account the opposition to the Main Street spot and other sites. He has until Thursday to deliver recommendations to a state committee that will have the final say.
He and a site selection committee on Tuesday are scheduled to debate the four sites in South Salt Lake and three more in West Valley City. Each site proposal brought hundreds of opponents who filled venues at five public meetings. Residents in the two cities had three weeks to weigh in on the sites.
"It's going to cause a lot of problems," South Salt Lake Police Chief Jack Carruth said. "They're inevitably going to camp out on the parkway [and at] surrounding businesses."
Carruth was concerned about the center soaking up law enforcement time and energy, citing the dozens of officers in Salt Lake City who focus on the area surrounding The Road Home in the Rio Grande District.
McAdams told Carruth and others that the county wouldn't move forward with the site unless the state commits more resources to the city that houses a new shelter.
"If South Salt Lake is chosen, we must bring resources," he said, later adding, "Especially if South Salt Lake is a jurisdiction that's selected, the conversation probably should go beyond that."
Residents and South Salt Lake Mayor Cherie Wood said about a third of the city's taxable property is occupied by facilities that aren't taxed. If the city is chosen to host hundreds of homeless individuals, McAdams said, the state and county should send money to beef up the South Salt Lake tax base.
"How do we take this community that really doesn't have a strong tax base," McAdams said, "and invest as a state and a county to strengthen their tax base even outside of the shelter-resource-center conversation?"
Two of the seven sites are within about a block of Salt Lake County Metro Jail, Salt Lake Valley Detention Center, Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office headquarters and Valley Mental Health.
The county is under contract with the site at 1000 West, a vacant lot owned by the Utah Nonprofit Housing Corporation. The other site a block away at 900 West is owned by the state's Building Ownership Authority.
While the selection committee will rank its choices this week, the state will continue to confront issues related to its process of replacing the shelter model with a system of centers that provide in-house services.
Emails obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune show that while the discussion around the third site may end soon, the county is considering where it would put a "seasonal overflow shelter."
McAdams said he didn't know what the process would look like if the current overflow site St. Vincent de Paul Kitchen and Weigand Homeless Resource Center were to shut down or move after the closure of The Road Home in summer 2019.
"If that location or facility were to go away, we do need an overflow somewhere in the system," he said. "The county hasn't been asked to locate that or site that."
Representatives from Catholic Community Services, which operates the overflow shelter, told The Tribune they hadn't heard talk of their facility closing when the new sites open.
County employees and others involved in the process wrote in emails that the group and the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City had yet to be consulted about "repurposing" its budget, programs and property.