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Development Proposal On Historic SLC Site Sparks Controversy

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A proposal to turn a historic site in Salt Lake into multi-story housing has triggered pushback in the community.

For hundreds of years the Warm Springs site has been a gathering place. Vacant since 2006, the city opened a request for proposals. The Woodbury Corporation submitted a plan to restore the building and construct a 125-unit residential complex in the park.

But the Warm Springs Alliance, a nonprofit organization, opposes the plan.

Sylvia Nibley, the group’s founder, says the construction would dominate the park, discourage public use and rule out the possibility of reactivating the springs.  

“It would really turn over a very unique, one of a kind landmark over commercial interest in a way that would be irreversible,” she says.

Nibley says if the property were restored, it could be a community hub.

“We can certainly contribute to public health," she says."We can contribute to bringing communities together that don’t normally work with each other or talk to each other."

Daniel Rip is a property manager for the city. He says the proposal isn’t finalized yet, but the housing development could be a way to finance the historic building’s renovations.

“If there is demand for community space there, which it sounds like that there is, the developer is more than willing to be able to accommodate that as long as it makes financial sense,” he says.

Rip says he’s meeting with the Warm Springs alliance and members of the Capitol Hill community council in the coming weeks to try to put together a project by the end of the year. 

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