Sugar House is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Salt Lake City, but also one of the hippest and most popular places to live, shop, and hang out for local SLC residents.
We recently talked to Sugar House Council Chair Amy Barry about current issues facing the neighborhood and plans for the future of the Sugar House area.
How long have you been the chair of the Sugar House Council? What drew you to that responsibility?
I have been the chair of the Sugar House Community Council since November 2014. I have served on the SHCC for 6 years previously in various capacities as Trustee, Secretary and Vice-chair prior to this most recent election. I originally decided to get involved due to the escalation of new development so close to my house. I wanted to stay on top of all that was going on and participate in the community voice.
What’s the toughest issue that’s come across your desk since you joined the council?
I would have to say the Sugar House Streetcar extension has been the most divisive for our community. I talked to hundreds of people during that time and can honestly say while there was a very vocal group at work overwhelmingly there was no consensus of opinion among my neighbors. People were angry and frustrated and that didn’t bring out the best behavior in the community.
What’s the council’s vision for Sugar House in 5 years? How about 10 years?
The SHCC looks to the Sugar House Master Plan on file with Salt Lake City as the guiding principles for the community and business district. The master plan was most recently amended in 2013 for the business district, but the whole plan dates back to 2009. It calls for walkability, pedestrian oriented development, a more holistic approach to transportation, saving our historic architecture and protecting our neighborhoods.
What’s the best way residents of Sugar House can support that vision?
Participate. Residents of Sugar House do not always agree on what this vision means or how to achieve it. That is OK. My task as chair of the SHCC is to help educate my neighbors on the issues so they can come to their own conclusions based on facts and not rumors or fear mongering. The SHCC works to disseminate that information and help residents participate effectively in the process. As an independent nonprofit the SHCC is recognized by SLC as a community voice and with that voice comes many opportunities to stay informed and voice your opinion. Interested people can sign up for our monthly email newsletter as www.sugarhousecouncil.org and click the “join” button on the homepage. Everyone is welcome to attend our meetings as well.
Do you see Sugarhouse in competition with other neighborhoods in SLC? If not, why not?
Honestly, no. Each neighborhood in SLC has its own identity that make it unique or desirable. We need not compete with other great neighborhoods, but rather just concentrate on what draws us to live, work or play here.
Sugar House has a rich history that is based around transformation. The Sugar House we love today is not the same Sugar House my mother grew up in or the Sugar House my great grandparents helped build. We have a corner of SLC that is special and unique in its transformations and community.
Are there any potential “game changers” out there for Sugar House residents and community? If so, what are they?
My personal view is that the transformation we are currently in is a significant game changer for many residents. The core business district of Sugar House is most definitely changing in ways that many find uncomfortable and along the way some of found it too much and have moved on somewhere more suitable to their lifestyle. At the same time new people have moved in the area and they are excited about the possibilities of this changing community. The most consistent issue verbalized over the 6 years I have been on the SHCC is traffic and parking. Those will be never ending issues as the core area grows with no perfect solution.