Two Salt Lake neighborhoods to get new support toward revitalization

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Paul Wagner of the Main Street Center, speaks during a media event in front of Fisher Brewing. Photo by Isaac Riddle.
Map of the two districts included in the Main Street America program. The districts are outlined in blue and green. Image courtesy Salt Lake City staff.

Salt Lake Officials gathered in front of the Fisher Brewery on Wednesday to announce a partnership with the office of Economic Development and the nonprofit, National Main Street Center, to revitalize two Salt Lake City neighborhoods.

The announcement included the city’s official designation by the Main Street Center as a “Main Street America” city.  The two neighborhood identified in the program include the Granary District, bounded by 300 West to Interstate 15 and 600 South to the 900 South freeway onramp, and a seven-block stretch of State Street from 600 South to 1300 South.

“It is all about partnerships,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski. ” The Granary District is one of our most creative districts.” 

Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  The organization works with both urban and rural centers with a focus on community revitalization and preserving historic patterns in placemaking and economic development.

 According to city officials, the designation means more support and access to Main Street Center’s resources for the two urban commercial districts with a focus on celebrating community character, preserving local history, and generating economic returns.  Staff from both organizations will work together to identify the strengths and areas for improvement in both the Granary and State Street.

“Salt Lake gives and a unique opportunity (the city) will be leading a new effort for us,” said Matthew Wagner, the vice president of revitalization programs for the National Main Street Center.

According to Wagner, Salt Lake City will be a featured leader in a newly launched program called Main Street Refresh.  As a featured leader, the city will be part of an upcoming national convening of urban commercial district leaders.

In their partnership with the National Main Center, the organization will serve as consultants, leading a community engagement phase, market analysis, economic strategy development, work plan and implementation while used data-driven metrics to measure success.  According to city documents, the city will pay for $15,000 and all travel costs for the Main Street America program’s services.

“In the Granary, we saw a district with great urban grittiness and the vibe we see in urban places,” said Wagner.

Wagner noted that the goal of the Main Street Center is to make both the Granary and State Street Corridor into more vibrant, walkable urban places, but the pedestrian scale and high traffic volume of State Street will pose certain challenges.

In addition to the Main Street America designation, two other programs are underway with the shared goal of improving State Street.  Salt Lake City is working with the county, Utah Transit Authority, South Salt Lake, Utah Department of Transportation and the Wasatch Front Regional Council to redesign State Street from North Temple to South Salt Lake City under the Life on State Implementation Plan.  The agencies involved are currently collecting feedback from residents and community stakeholders before releasing an official action before year’s end.  The project’s goals are to make the street more inviting to pedestrians and cyclists while improving connectivity, placemaking and economic activity along the corridor.

The Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake is also actively looking into to improving the State Street Corridor.  The agency is in the process of creating a State Street project area which would provide tax increment financing and other incentives for developers to invest in the area.

It was city assistance that helped bring the recently opened Fisher Brewing to the Granary District.  The brewery, on the 300 West block of 800 South, opened last month and received financial assistance from the Redevelopment Agency’s (RDA) Granary Adaptive Reuse Grant and Housing and Neighborhood Development’s (HAND) Neighborhood Building Improvement Program.  The grant money allowed Tim Dwyer, general manager for Fisher Brewing, to convert two adjacent auto garages into a brewery and taproom.

“The reason the Granary is special is because of its grittiness and manufacturing business,” said Dwyer.  “We’ve got a lot of really great things going on here.”

*This post has been updated.

About Isaac Riddle 630 Articles

Isaac Riddle grew up just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. He has a BA in English literature from the University of Utah and a Masters of Journalism from Temple University. Isaac has written for
Next City, The Philadelphia Public School Notebook and Salt Lake City Weekly. Before embarking on a career in journalism, Isaac taught High School English in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. Isaac is the founder of Building Salt Lake and can be reached at isaac@buildingsaltlake.com.