Bringing County Government Services to Our Community
Oct 27, 2016 04:16PM
● By Bryan Scott
Steven L. DeBry
City Council District 5
As your Councilmember, I believe Salt Lake County Government Services must become more accessible for the Southwest part of the county. With the growth in our community, locating our buildings closer to the people we service makes good financial sense, and makes County government more efficient.
Here are three examples over the past several years of the Council and Mayor’s successes in bringing services to our area, right in the heart of West Jordan.
The West Jordan District Attorney Building
For a long time, the County understood it made sense to build the District Attorney new office space. The project was originally conceived as two buildings, one in downtown Salt Lake City near the Matheson Courthouse, and one near the District Court building in West Jordan. However, when funds set aside to design and construct the buildings proved insufficient due to extravagant architecture costs for the Salt Lake building, the West Jordan plans were shelved. While I agreed with cutting the overly-expensive architecture in Salt Lake, I thought the decision to abandon a West Jordan building was penny wise and pound foolish.
I urged Mayor McAdams to reconsider the project his predecessor had proposed and find a way to make both buildings work for a more reasonable cost. The Mayor took the opportunity to work together with me, ignoring our party differences, and sharpening our pencils to make better use of taxpayer resources.
You can see the results taking shape in West Jordan right now. In April this year, I was pleased to attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the new District Attorney Building on the West Jordan government campus at 8080 S. Redwood Road. When the building opens in June of 2017, combined with the downtown District Attorney offices, the County will save more than $13 Million over the next 30 years. That’s $13 Million left in the pocket of families in our community.
West Jordan Library and Viridian Event Center
Another example of bringing our County services to the people resides just a short walk from the new District Attorney building. The West Jordan Library and Viridan Event Center opened in June of 2012. Not only does it serve both library patrons and community functions, it also serves as the headquarters for County Library Administration.
As a member of the County Library Board, I have seen firsthand the heavy usage of the Library, as well as the attached event center. From the day the doors opened, the new West Jordan Library was a smashing success. Nearly 2,000,000 visits to the West Jordan Library since opening less than 4 years ago. Circulation is stunning. In just the first 6 months of 2016, a half million items have circulated through the West Jordan Library. In addition, each summer the Library hosts the “Summer Reading Kickoff” at Veterans Memorial Park, with over 4,000 attendees this year. Music, games, crafts, and a train ride for the kids make this a hit. If you missed the celebration this June 4th, be sure to make it next year. Countywide, over 55,000 children participated in the Summer Reading Program. Keeping kids involved in learning during summer keeps them out of trouble, and can set the table for a successful school year after summer.
With the technology used by the Library, taxpayers spend half as much to circulate library materials (books, movies, digital content, and more) compared to the neighboring system in Salt Lake City.
South Redwood Public Health Center
Finally, the newest County Health opens November 3rd on the same campus as the Library and District Attorney building in West Jordan.
The facility serves as a central hub for County Health services, including the federally funded Women, Infants, and Children supplemental nutrition program, an immunization clinic, vital records, along with our Community Health Divison.
The location on Redwood Road, with a TRAX stop nearby, means the South Redwood Public Health Center allows easier access to services. By serving greater numbers of those in need, with more services linked together in one place, the Health Department has the opportunity to do even more to better the quality of life and health in our community.
As the County continues to grow rapidly in our part of the valley, you have my continued commitment to look for more opportunities to improve access to the County services funded with your tax dollars. We deserve nothing less.