Should Salt Lake City make preservation a priority?

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On the official Salt Lake City website, the city posted this question on its Open City Hall forum: Should the city make historic preservation a priority?

C’mon now! What kind of a question is that?! The answer is a resounding yes.

Salt Lake Modern replied, “Seems like the city has already made preservation a priority by developing a philosophy statement, investing in a robust program and full time staff, and considering the new plans and ordinances that are currently before them.”

The real question should be, “How can more preservation help the city?” or “what buildings should be identified for preservation and adaptive reuse?” (My answer is all of them but that’s a different topic.)

I love walking around downtown Salt Lake to photograph the many beautiful and valuable structures that remain in downtown. Salt Lake has been a leader in preservation and has the track record and tax receipts that prove just how vital preservation is to a city. Downtown Salt Lake City has a distinct character, a distinct sense of place and prominence that demands respect and that’s because it has honored its past. When you’re in downtown Salt Lake you feel like you’re somewhere special and not in some suburban hell hole of monotony and dullness. There are many buildings downtown that are architecturally striking, like the Boston and Newhouse Buildings (two of my favorites)

and the Rio Grande Train Station (another favorite of mine, out of many favorites.)

If you’d like to answer the question posed by the City of Salt Lake you can do so here. Take this opportunity to remind the city that mid-century buildings are in fact the next set of historic properties that should be treated with care.

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