Update: Rio Grande Street Closed To Traffic Amid Crime Sweep
Salt Lake City officials have closed the crime-plagued street near one of downtown's busiest homeless shelters.
Mayor Jackie Biskupski and House Speaker Greg Hughes announced on Thursday that Rio Grande Street would close to vehicle traffic, after a week of back-and-forth bickering over how soon to barricade it.
Biskupski said she will start a process to get public feedback on the closure.
In a statement Friday, The Road Home Shelter said it was supportive of efforts to improve safety in the area and that the move would not impact donation drop-offs.
"Access to emergency services, such as shelter and food are a critical first step to engagement," said the statement. "The Road Home will continue to help people by providing services on-site, referrals to partner organizations, and assistance into housing as quickly as possible."
The Rio Grande Depot — and all the businesses and state agencies housed within— will also remain open to the public throughout the law enforcement operation.
Biskupski said the goal of the closure was to make the area an open safe space for the homeless to connect with service providers.
This week, Speaker Hughes pushed the mayor several times to use her administrative power to close the street in order to disrupt drug trafficking. Biskupski was reluctant to do so, saying she wanted public input before closing the street.
We will host a public forum on Wednesday at 6:00 pm to get public feedback on larger closure.— SLC Mayor Erin Mendenhall (@slcmayor) August 31, 2017
Preserving a public process and preserving the City Council's role has been critical.— SLC Mayor Erin Mendenhall (@slcmayor) August 31, 2017