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Sandy Journal

‘Moving the needle forward:’ plans advance for three Sandy public facilities

Nov 03, 2022 07:17PM ● By Sarah Morton Taggart

After years of discussion, the Sandy City Council voted to set aside funds to begin the process to rebuild or remodel the Alta Canyon Sports Center. (Sarah Morton Taggart/City Journals)

By Sarah Morton Taggart | [email protected]

On Sept. 20, the Sandy City Council voted to allocate a total of $11 million to take the next steps for three public buildings in Sandy.

Resolution 22-43C passed with a margin of 6 to 1. Prior to voting, an amendment was added to declare the city’s intention to pledge future funds toward replacing Fire Station 31 as well as rebuilding or remodeling Alta Canyon Sports Center.

Four million dollars were set aside for the design process of those buildings—$1 million for the fire station and $3 million for the ACSC. Seven million will go toward phase 2 construction of a new public works building.

During the public hearing nine residents spoke passionately about the need to prioritize public safety over recreation.

“I would hope we communicated this, but clearly based on comments tonight we did not communicate that adequately,” said Councilmember Marci Houseman. “The resolution tonight does not prioritize one project. It prioritizes three. The resolution tonight sets aside money for completing public works phase II, which is an urgent need and we all agree on that. It also sets aside money to more deeply explore the needs of Fire Station 31 so that we can fully understand the costs, the location and the design of Fire Station 31, which we can all agree is a huge priority.”

She went on to say that the resolution will give the council a year to explore the costs and how to pay for them.

“I disagree with the premise that we are not protecting our residents,” Houseman said. “We do protect our residents. I feel like there’s been some misunderstandings that this resolution is funding Alta Canyon and not doing anything about the other two. We are moving the needle forward on all three projects.”

 Councilmember Ryan Mecham made a motion to amend Resolution 22-43C to include the following language: “Be it further resolved that Sandy City intends to fully fund the replacement of Fire Station 31.”

Fire Station 31 was built in 1984 and serves as a station and administrative offices. The building sustained foundation damage during the March 2020 earthquake, according to a video walkthrough led by Sandy Fire Department Chief Bruce Cline in June. The roof has leaks and all runoff from rain and snowmelt drains into the fire engine bay, which can make the floor slippery. Perhaps ironically, the bedrooms that have been added onto the station do not meet any kind of fire code, according to Cline.

On Oct. 11, Cline reported to the council that the Sandy City Fire Department administration has identified eight potential locations for the relocation and rebuild of Fire Station 31.

The Alta Canyon Sports Center was also built in 1984 and since then the demand has greatly outgrown the space. For example, a bay of lockers was removed from the men’s locker room and the space was turned into a classroom, according to Lois Stillion, the ACSC manager. She notes that the men’s locker room is now the same size of the women’s, which was smaller in the original design. Some offices are housed in mechanical rooms and a racquetball court has been converted into a room for cardio machines. The adjacent tennis courts are unplayable and the outdoor swimming pool is crumbling. 

The 45-year-old public works fleet facility was in need of an update or repair even before a fire in 2017 destroyed the administration offices and some shop space. Deploying snowplows takes two hours longer than it should because of the tight maneuvering required to move them out of the storage bays and other vehicles have a shorter useful life than they would have if not stored outdoors, according to Mike Gladbach, the Public Works Department head.

More information about all three buildings can be found on Sandy City’s website:

Cyndi Sharkey was the only councilmember to vote no on the resolution.

“It’s our intention to find a way to fund all these things,” Sharkey said. “So in terms of priorities, for anyone who has become confused along the way, the first project is public works. So that’s the only reason why I would be voting against this amendment is that the purpose of the resolution is to define how we’re going to fund these projects, not what we’re going to fund. That could be a much, much longer list.”