Once upon a time in that kingdom by the sea—Wasilla, Alaska (a place I inhabited off and on for about 17 years) --- —the city fathers (pre-Sarah Palin) had a critical decision to make: Should Pizza Hut be allowed to build on a little knoll above the shores of lovely Lake Wasilla? Since little towns love sales tax as much as junk-food junkies love personal-pan pizza, not surprisingly, their answer was "yes"!
Pizza Hut, then, had the opportunity to face its restaurant overlooking the beautiful tree-lined lake, with stately views of Pioneer Peak in the distance. "America's Favorite Pizza" could have offered patrons the best view of any restaurant in Alaska; imagine watching sunset creep across the lake over a few hot slices, a mug of beer and a plastic plateful from the salad bar.
But no, Pizza Hut turned its restaurant toward the street, and instead looks at McDonald's. Back then, I simply wrote it off that there is so much beauty in Alaska, little towns like Wasilla could afford to throw away its views.
South Salt Lake, like Wasilla, similarly lacks vision. Its city council just voted to sell to Utah Transit Authority the four-acre Workman Park, located on 900 West and 2350 South, along the Jordan River corridor. The city plans to use the money from the sale to buy a new park east of State Street.
Hell, yeah, give up that open space! Who needs it?
South Salt Lake's city attorney, Dave Carlson, says the park is a magnet for "illicit" sex and drug usage (hmm, I wonder which park isn't?). Apparently, storing UTA trains is a far better use of the land.
It just makes me want to throw up my hands. All those studies about enhancing the Jordan River corridor, all that talk about connecting the river with the people of Salt Lake Valley, it's lost on those who could make it happen. It makes me want to eat a slice of institutional pizza. Or maybe I'm just craving cheap beer.
Not to digress, but what is it about UTA these days that whenever its name is invoked, it's in relation to UTA making controversial land grabs?