Where is it going, and can it stay relevant?

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“Downtown Salt Lake City: The Next Chapter” is part of a series of conversations co-sponsored by The Salt Lake Tribune and the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute. The event was held on December 1, 2023, at 1:00 p.m. and featured discussions about the future of downtown Salt Lake City.

Salt Lake City’s downtown district has undergone significant changes in recent years. While it was initially reported to have the best post-pandemic recovery in the nation, revised data later showed a different ranking. Despite this, the city’s downtown still has much to offer, including leading the state in retail and restaurant sales and aiming to reach a population of 10,000 by 2025.

However, with growth comes challenges. There has been a significant increase in chronic homelessness in the last year, as well as a decline in the number of school-age children and families. The issue of air quality also continues to persist, posing a challenge for the city.

The prospect of hosting the 2034 Winter Olympics has brought both excitement and concerns. While it may bring investment and wealth, it could also lead to gentrification and displacement if not managed carefully.

To address these issues, the city is looking to make downtown more livable and accessible. This includes plans for the Green Loop project, which aims to create more green space in the neighborhood. Additionally, efforts are being made to create more housing options to accommodate different income levels and prevent displacement.

Overall, the future of downtown Salt Lake City poses both opportunities and challenges, and the city is working to find a balance that supports growth while maintaining its unique character and inclusivity.

Historically, downtown Salt Lake City has been a hub of commerce and culture, serving as the central Business district and a gathering place for residents and visitors alike. The city’s downtown has evolved over time, experiencing periods of growth, decline, and revitalization.

It’s important to note that this story has been updated to reflect the increase in chronic homelessness by 27% statewide.

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