The 5 most important Sandy stories of 2017
Jan 01, 2018 04:38PM ● Published by Justin Adams
Kurt Bradburn was elected Sandy mayor in November. (Courtesy of the Bradburn for Sandy Mayor campaign)
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2017 was an eventful year for the city of Sandy. Between the election of a new mayor for the first time in 24 years and the opening of a brand new state-of-the-art theater, there’s a lot to look back on.
1. A new mayor
On Nov. 7, Sandy residents took to the polls to vote for a number of city positions up for reelection, including mayor. Longtime Sandy mayor Tom Dolan was defeated by Kurt Bradburn, a young state attorney who ran on a campaign of slowing development in the city and increasing transparency in the city government.
Dolan, who held office for 24 years, said he is ready to move on and happy that he will now have more time to spend with his family.
“People might not want to believe this but I’ve been smiling since the night of the election. I want to spend more time with my grandchildren. I have a granddaughter that just turned 3 and I actually babysat her for the first time in the last couple weeks.”
Councilman Chris McCandless said that although he is sad to see Dolan go, he is excited to start working with mayor-elect Bradburn.
“I campaigned heavily for Tom (Dolan); he’s my friend and I’ve known him for 24 years,” said McCandless. “But Mayor Bradburn is my mayor now. I’m going to embrace him, I’m going to work with him. Together through cooperative means, I think the city will move forward in great ways.”
McCandless added that he’s met with Bradburn multiple times since the election and he’s found him to be “a very intelligent man” and that he thinks he will be a “really good mayor.”
2. Opening of Hale Center Theatre
The Hale Center Theatre opened its new location in Sandy this fall. Located at 9900 S. Monroe Street, just across the street from Sandy City Hall, the new theater is expected to be a great source of arts and entertainment within the community for many years to come.
“It’s been hugely successful,” said Dolan. “To bring family entertainment to the community is significant. The city has always been very supportive of the arts.”
“It’s a big deal,” said McCandless. “That (theater) will last for generations.”
According to a 2015 article in the Sandy City Journal, the Sandy City council voted unanimously to issue over $46 million worth of bonds to help fund the construction of the new theater, money that the theater is expected to repay to the city.
The move from the theater’s prior location in West Valley came about because of insufficient seating. According to another Journal article, the new building includes “a 450-seat proscenium thrust theater for smaller productions and an approximately 900-seat theater-in-the-round with a technologically advanced center stage.”
The center stage was built by Tait Tower Technologies, a company which has also built stages for popular music artists like Katy Perry, Maroon 5, Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé, U2 and Bon Jovi.
3. Mountain America headquarters
Just north of the new home of Hale Center Theatre, construction crews are in the middle of building the new corporate headquarters of Mountain America Credit Union. While that project hasn’t been in the news as much as the new theater, city officials said it’s one of the most important developments this year in regards to the future of Sandy.
“Mountain America is huge,” said McCandless. “They’re bringing 1,700 jobs to Sandy. Having them as a partner in our community will bring untold millions of dollars of benefits to the taxpayer in Sandy. That is probably the biggest thing that happened this year that’s not in the news.”
A press release on Mountain America Credit Union’s website states that the building (which is scheduled to be finished in the summer of 2018) will be “the largest commercial building outside of the downtown Salt Lake area.”
With high-profile developments like theaters and corporate offices, it can be easy to forget about the regular day-to-day functions a city government serves, but city officials said they are very proud of the work Sandy City did this year in improving city infrastructure.
“Continuous high-quality services are always important and you try to improve that each year,” said Dolan.
“We spent multiple millions of dollars on infrastructure that did not come out of our local residents’ taxpayer dollars,” said McCandless. “We were able to secure those funds from outside sources, which includes federal and state funds as well as private contributions.”
McCandless cited maintenance of roads and trails as some of the things the city used the funds for. One trail in particular, McCandless noted, was the completion of the Jordan River Parkway Trail, something he said is a “40-year old dream.” He credited the cooperation of multiple cities who formed the Jordan River Commission in order to get the project finished.
5. Public works building burns down
Unfortunately the year didn’t start off so great for Sandy City when one of their public works buildings that housed some of the city’s snowplows burned down in January.
McCandless said the city learned a few things from that unfortunate event, like how it’s important to have good insurance and not to store all your vehicles in one building.
Another takeaway, he said, was how willing the county and other cities were to help.
“We needed to be able to continue to operate our fleet, so Salt Lake County and other cities lent us their spare trucks. That comes about as a result of an interlocal agreement that says, ‘If one of us gets in trouble we’ll help you, and you help us.’ It’s pretty neat when the system works.”