SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah (ABC4 News) – Residents of South Salt Lake have mixed feelings about demolishing the old Granite High School and placing a WalMart in its place.
It’s been a staple in the community for over a hundred years. Ever since the old Granite High School closed its doors back in 2009 the city has been trying to figure out what to do with the land.
“There are some people in the community that are fed up and want to see it developed,” says South Salt Lake Mayor Cherie Wood.
But, a new proposal to place a WalMart there has many residents saying “no!”
“Who needs more WalMarts?” says resident Josh Noyes, “I mean really, they’re all over the city as it is.”
This week the city discussed changing the property’s zoning which currently only allows for residential living, schools, and green space. In 2011, the city tried to pass a bond to develop it into a community center but it failed by 5 votes. A few years ago it also tried to revitalize portions of the land for green space use. Mayor Wood says ever since the news of the possibility of a WalMart in that neighborhood, her office has been flooded with phone calls, emails, and social media messages expressing disapproval.
“The plan is in the public process right now, and the public process allows for residents to be heard and to be able to share their concerns to the city council who will vote on it,” she said.
While many don’t want it.
“I don’t understand how they decided that that was the best idea rather than just building housing or a little strip mall,” says Noyes.
Others think it’s a good idea, providing services and jobs to the area.
“South Salt Lake County will get some income from here because they’ll pay the tax when there is business, if they pay the tax that will be the income,” says resident DP Varal.
Varal has lived across the street from the school for 7 years and says he would like to see something there other than just empty buildings. He says in the past the area has seen its fair share of vandalism and trespassing. He feels a store of WalMart’s magnitude would help the area and keep crime down.
But, other’s like his neighbor, Noyes, think it’s a bad choice and in his opinion it will do the exact opposite of what Varal thinks.
The city council has asked for specifics before the vote on the measure. It will be brought up again at their next council meeting on February 24. Granite High School is looking to sell the property for $10.6 million.