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Sandy Journal

New national hockey training facility committed to site at Sandy’s South Town Here’s what residents are concerned about

Jun 04, 2024 02:40PM ● By Rebecca Olds

What will happen to the Shops at South Town? As the newly announced site of the future National Hockey League’s Training and Practice Facility, skepticism has entered the community about what will happen to the existing mall and where the training facility’s new home will look like. (Rebecca Olds/City Journals)

 On May 6, Sandy City and Smith Entertainment Group announced plans to build a National Hockey League training and practice facility putting The Shops at South Town at 10450 South State Street “under contract,” “where they intend to build a world-class training and practice facility” ready for the 2025-26 season.

In the announcement, Sandy Mayor Monica Zoltanski said that the facility would be an “important resource” introduced into the community and advocated for SEG’s “proven track record of bringing quality professional sports and entertainment to Sandy.”

Sandy City Council Chair Ryan Mecham is also quoted in the release with a positive opinion on the news. 

“This is certainly great news for Sandy, and we welcome the NHL players, coaches, support staff, and hockey fans who will come to know Sandy as the host of a state-of-the art hockey training center and the best ice in the world,” Mecham said. “We are looking forward to working with Smith Entertainment Group on this project.”

But the release seemed to spur more questions than it gave answers among the community as the city continues to work out the details with SEG and declined to comment at this time. Circulating questions include, “What will happen to the Shops at South Town at the site?”, “Will it cost Sandy resident’s more money?” and “Why not use the existing hockey facility in Kearns?”

1. Will the new NHL facility replace the Shops at South Town or add to them?

In response to a Facebook post made by Zoltanski, some Facebook users and Sandy residents expressed both excitement to fill up the sparse Shops at South Town or even add to its parking lot, while others are worried that it will simply be torn down to make room for the facility. 

One user under the name Robert Moody suggested that the old space where the store Macy’s was could be large enough to accommodate the NHL facility. 

The press release from SEG said the company “is committed to ensuring The Shops at South Town continue to be a vibrant and integral part of the community, and the NHL practice facility is an important step toward this goal.” Hinting at the fact that the mall will make it out just fine. 

Facebook user Christie Evans commented giving her two cents. 

“As someone that walks that mall daily in the winter, it would be nice to have some of that sad empty space filled,” she wrote. “However, I hope taxpayer's aren't paying for it.”

2. Will the training facility cost anything for Sandy residents?

Zoltanski’s Facebook post was filled with comments from residents and the social media’s platform users asking about what the cost of the new facility would be for residents and more than a few used the word “tax.” 

During the Sandy City Council meeting on May 7, Zoltanski did not suggest a raise in property taxes for residents for the 2025 fiscal year as part of the mayor’s tentative budget she presented to the council that night. She made no mention of the NHL facility raising rates for residents. 

In response to concern from other commenters and some backlash for the mayor’s previous tax increase of about 30%, Peter Chip Cannon said Zoltanski “has my vote for another term, or three!”

“I like that she gave explanations as to why she believed [the tax increase] was warranted, and they seemed reasonable, like to get our emergency workers a new fire station,” Cannon wrote. “For me, I like that she prioritizes Dimple Dell Park and that she's shown to be economically savvy for Sandy's future. She visits and promotes small Sandy businesses, and can land big deals like this new NHL practice facility. She's turned out to be a fantastic mayor.”

3. Why not use the hockey facility already in Kearns?

“Why aren't they using the facility we have in Kearns? It has the world's fastest ice. They could totally make it into a training facility,” commented Emma Catherine Rademacher on Zoltanski’s post about the new training facility. “Plus it would be great for when we have the Olympics and hockey comes to town. And we in Sandy City as taxpayers wouldn't have to pay for anything.”

Comments about the Kearns facility noted that it was always busy and already couldn’t keep up with demand. 

More information is expected to be released by Sandy City and SEG as the details are ironed out. 

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