Category Archives: Utah State Legislature

West Side Spotlight: State Representative Sandra Hollins


Representative Sandra Hollins, D-District 23

Fairpark Gazette:  Thank you so much for sitting down to visit with The Gazette!   What would you like to tell the residents of Fairpark?

Rep. Sandra Hollins:  First, thank you for having me!  Well, let’s start by talking about voting.  I just want west side residents to know that this is a very important election and I want them to come out and vote because their vote equates to their voice.  I saw it in the mayor’s election and I want to make sure they show up for this election as well.   I was so proud during our caucus night.  I was very proud to see the lines and the amount of people who came out for caucus night, and so I want make sure those same people come out to vote.  I want to make sure that those who aren’t registered to vote get registered and that their voices are heard.  We could really turn this state people!  There are so many democrats and if you count all the democrats who think their voices don’t matter, and they get together, you find it DOES matter.  When I’m out campaigning, I hear of so many people who say, “I don’t vote because I don’t think it will make a difference, and it does make a difference.  It makes a HUGE difference!” One of my concerns is the number of young people who have no interest in voting, but I noticed in the last caucus night the number of young people who are excited about this presidential race and who are out and interested in politics, which gets me very excited about politics.  I met a number of young people who have never voted before who said this was their first time participating in the political process. I met a young man who was a refugee and he got his citizenship last year.  That this was his first time to vote.  And not only did he register to vote, but he became a delegate! He came and sat by me and we talked and talked. He had a lot questions about the process and what needs to be done, and who’s running…  He was just so curious.  He just jumped in with both feet!  I loved that.

FG: We just made it through the legislative session.  We didn’t have a lot of wins, but one of the things we were happy about was the Fairpark Bill coming out.

Visit Representative Hollins Legislative website here.

Continue reading

Utah Legislature Action Show Challenges to Utah Fairpark Future

As the Utah State Legislature passed the half-way mark for this year’s legislative session, the future of the Utah State Fairpark remains unresolved. A subcommittee fails to recommend that the State implement a 50-year lease as authorized in 2010. Another subcommittee considers requiring that private developers and State agencies be given the opportunity to express interest in developing the
White Ball Field.

At stake is an agreement between the Utah State Fair, Inc. and the REAL Salt Lake major-league soccer to team to construct an 8,000-seat stadium to house a new minor league soccer team, the Real Salt Lake Monarchs, at the Utah State Fairpark. The REAL Salt Lake will cover the projected $18 million cost of the new stadium.

But this agreement is contingent on several factors: First, the soccer franchise wants a lease of at least 40 years. Second, the lease must be in place by April 23, anticipating the 2017 soccer season. Finally, there is the question of the availability of the White Ball Field, the vacant property across North Temple to the south of the Fairpark, for parking.

A 40-year lease for the soccer team is impossible unless the lease the Utah State Fair, Inc. has with the State for the use of the Fairpark is extended for at least 40 years. In recent years, the nonprofit corporation has operated with much shorter leases with the State. Its current lease expires 2017. The Utah State Fair, Inc. is also approaching the Legislature for $675,000 for ongoing maintenance and improvement of Utah State Fairpark property and $100,000 to conduct a study on the best ways to enlarge the Fairpark’s rodeo grandstand.fair

To-date, the Utah State Fair experienced a set-back with the failure of the Natural Resources, Agriculture, Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee toendorse a motion to require the State to sign a 50-year lease for the Fairpark, as was authorized by the Legislature in 2010.

Another complicating factor is that, several years ago, the lease for the use of the White Ball Field for parking was separated from the lease for the Fairpark property. In the current arrangement, the State can assume direct control of the White Ball Field with just a 30-day notice.

As a result, a new challenge to the Utah State Fair/ REAL Salt Lake deal is that members of the Legislative appropriations subcommittee, Infrastructure and General
Government, have expressed concern with leasing the White Ball Field to the Utah State Fair, Inc. for parking without opening up a “Request for Information” process for others, including the State of Utah, to state an interest in using the property for other purposes. For example, in last year’s study on possible future uses of the White Ball Field and the Utah Fairpark, the State’s need for more office
space was identified as a possible use for the property. According to State administrators, this process will take three to five months, a time-frame that extends well beyond the April 23rd agreement with the Utah State Fair, Inc.

This year’s session of the Utah Legislature ends at midnight on March 12th. No issue is closed until this day. In the discussions in the Legislative subcommittees, the support of the communities surrounding the Utah Fairpark has been
continually mentioned. It is important that the Fairpark Community continues to express its hopes for the future of the Fairpark.

To keep up-to-date on the status of Utah Fairpark issues in the Legislature and what actions residents can take to support a successful future for the Fairpark, visit

Sandra Hollins: Our Rep in the House

The Fairpark Community is looking forward to the upcoming session (it starts on January 26th) of the Utah State Legislature with one of our neighbors, Sandra Hollins, taking her seat as our representative, for District 23, in the Utah House of Representatives.Sandra-Hollins-682x1024

Sandra, and her husband David, have been long-time stalwarts in the Fairpark Community, and adjoining neighborhoods. We are used to seeing both of them at our Fairpark Community Council meetings, with David being a member of the Council’s Board. In fact, we’re used to seeing both of them at many community events.

Utah made a bit of history with Sandra’s election as the first Black-American woman elected to the Utah State Legislature. In fact, she is just the third Black- American to hold a legislative seat (her predecessors are Terry Williams, elected in the 1980s and Duane Bordeaux in the 2000s).

Sandra is going to be a vibrant, effective voice for our community. She is a clinical social worker who is the manager of the Volunteers of America’s homeless outreach program. Sandra and her team travel in a van to homeless camp sites throughout the valley, providing food and other basic services and working with individuals to access services to end their homelessness.

As Sandra assumes this new role as our community’s representative in the Utah House of Representatives, she wants to hear from her neighbors. She is committed to attending as many Fairpark Community Council meetings as possible (she is planning to be at our meeting on January 22nd). Her email in the legislature is Her home phone is 801-363-4257.

In her first term, Sandra has been appointed to the House Health and Human Services and House Law Enforcement and Criminal Law Standing Committees (which considers proposed legislation) and the Joint Social Services Appropriations Committee (which votes on appropriations).

Fairpark Future Poised for Legislature Action

This last year, Fairpark Community residents played a significant role in a study on the possible future of the Utah State Fairpark. What was the best use for this property? Should it be offices or other commercial development? Or should the State invest in upgrading the existing fair grounds to create a successful venue for the Utah State Fair and other events?

Utah_State_Fairgrounds_entranceAs the study progressed, what did become evident to residents was that, regardless of the study’s final recommendations, the final decisions on the future of the Utah State Fairpark rest with the Utah State Legislature.

Michael Steele, executive director of the Utah State Fair, states that the future of the Fair, and the Utah Fairpark, are on the table for Legislative action this year.

Steele reports that the proposed agreement for the REAL Salt Lake to build a soccer stadium, costing between $23 and $24 million, on the Fairpark property is moving ahead, with an agreement of “terms” being brought before the Utah State Fair Board of Directors for a vote this week.

Steele emphasizes that the new stadium will not require any tax-payer money.

But what will it require?

Steele states that the Utah Legislature should return the White Ball Field to the Fair’s lease with the State. “REAL Salt Lake cannot consider building a soccer stadium in the Fairpark without the parking space offered by the White Ball Field across North Temple from the Fairpark.”

But the lease is much bigger – for years, the Utah Legislature has limited the State’s lease with the Utah Fair to one or two years. For REAL Salt Lake to make a long-term commitment, “We need to have a 40 year lease with the State.”

Front_of_the_Utah_State_Capitol_in_May_2008The Utah State Fair is also approaching the Legislature for its long-time $675,000 allocation to cover the Fair’s ongoing expenses. “This represents less than 20% of our operating budget; most of our funding comes from the State Fair and other events here at the Fairpark.”

Any other plans? Steele states that they are also approaching the Legislature to fund a study and development of an initial design to expand, and complete, the Fairpark’s rodeo stadium. “In the last several years, we have two master-plan studies that state the completion of the rodeo grounds as being instrumental to the future of the Fairpark. We need to move ahead on this.”