Draper mayor withdraws offer of homeless center sites after residents express rage

Draper Mayor Troy Walker. Photo; Draper City

DRAPER, Utah, March 29, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — Furious Draper residents gave Mayor Troy Walker an earful after he offered his municipality as a possible site for one or two new homeless resource centers to be built in Salt Lake County.

At the end of a Wednesday night open house — held a day after Walker announced the offer of sites to the county — the mayor announced he would rescind the invitation, saying he had not understood how vehemently his community members opposed having one or both of the proposed homeless resource centers in their midst.

After almost four hours of mostly yelled feedback, Walker promised to pull both proposed Draper sites back off the table.

“You folks don’t want it, so we can’t in good conscience say we want it here,” Walker told the crowd.

Those against locating homeless shelters in Draper also started a change.org petition, which by late Wednesday night had been signed by more than 1,250 people. The petition reads, in part:

Mayor Walker,

It is with complete disappointment and bewilderment that I email you regarding your gross breach of trust of those who put you in office.

By volunteering Draper City as the home of a new homeless shelter without requesting any input from your constituents beforehand not only shows a massive disconnect between you and your community, but a complete disregard for the future success of that area of Draper and the entire south end of the valley.

Walker’s withdrawal of the Draper sites┬átakes the number of possible locations back to seven, including two in Salt Lake City, two in South Salt Lake and three in West Valley City.┬áResidents and city officials of the latter two also have voiced their disapproval and fears that many more police officers would have to be hired at prohibitive expense.

The two Salt Lake City sites were reduced from the original four announced by Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski, who met with strong opposition, particularly from residents of the Sugar House area, where one center was to be located in a primarily residential neighborhood.

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams now has a day to make his recommendation to the site selection committee and to gain members’ approval. If the decision is not reached by March 31, the project will lose $10 million promised by the Utah Legislature on the condition that the deadline be met.

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