Salt Lake City eyes Smith’s Ballpark area for development

Go to a Saltwater bees (Triple-A West) game at Smith’s ballpark could be an even better experience under a District development plan suggested by, proposed by Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall.

Smith’s Ballpark has one of the best views in all minors, and the ballpark already offers a great gaming experience. But it’s no secret that the neighborhood around the ballpark is a little dodgy. Mendenhall and other city officials want to fight this reputation.

The Salt Lake City Ballpark neighborhood is defined as the area south of downtown that runs east to west between State Street and I-15 and north to south between 900 South and 1700 South. The ballpark is pretty much in the middle of this neighborhood at 1300 South between Temple and Main Streets. Unsurprisingly, this area is a focus of the changes planned for the area.

According to a press release from the Mendenhall office, the Ballpark Station Area Plan would include a new library, a new festival street adjacent to the ballpark between 1300 South and Albermarle Avenues, additional parks, open spaces and improved transport links for the neighborhood such as sidewalks, walking paths and neighborhood level, pedestrian-friendly retail and services. An important part of the plan includes creating a Ballpark Station Area Transit Zone as the first step in six major steps to improve the area:

  1. Creation of a Ballpark Station Area Transit Zone in what has been identified as the “heart of the neighborhood”.
  2. Reconfiguration of the Ballpark TRAX station to improve access from the west.
  3. Improving 1300 South for pedestrians by creating new intersections and adding and enhancing the pedestrian experience at street level.
  4. Creating a sense of place in and around the stadium and in a way that positively activates the area 365 days a year.
  5. Conversion of parking lots and unused land to liven up the heart of the neighborhood.
  6. Investing in community facilities and green spaces to balance the growth of this neighborhood with attributes that improve the quality of life.

“The publication of this plan marks an important milestone in the development of the Ballpark neighborhood. I loved hearing ideas from the community about their dreams for their neighborhood and I think this plan reflects the best of those ideas for the future, ”Mendenhall said in the press release. “I hope this plan will inspire continued collaboration among all of our community partners to bring our exciting shared vision to life in the months and years to come.”

The bees are at the center of this plan, which makes Mendenhall’s to-do list a little longer. The Bees’ lease at Smith’s Ballpark, which is owned by Salt Lake City, ends in 2024, and the ballpark will need some work to meet MLB’s new interior design standards. There are various team needs to be considered in the rental negotiations, and since the team, among other sports facilities, is owned by Smith Entertainment Group, owner of Utah Jazz by the NBA, there is bound to be a debate about how much of the Smith Group’s renovations and how much of the city is to be covered. To make matters worse, one goal of the plan is to increase street-level engagement at Bees games and baseball events – certainly something that needs to be addressed in all rental negotiations.

Image courtesy Salt Lake Bees.

About Kevin Reichard

Kevin Reichard is the founder and editor of Ballpark Digest.

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