Rally protests plan to put homeless resource center in Sugar House

SALT LAKE CITY -- A rally held in Sugar House Saturday protested a plan to put a homeless resource center on Simpson Avenue.

Residents say it doesn't make sense to kick out businesses and sandwich the resource center in between homes.

Saturday’s rally was centered not as much on the people who live in this area, but more on the five businesses that are being forced to move because of the resource center.

Some Sugar House residents continue to say no to a new homeless resource center planned for the corner of 700 East and Simpson Avenue.

The business that will have to move include Lil Scholars Learning Center, Dancing Cranes Imports, Solstice Café, Sherman Kendall Beauty School, and Fitness on Seventh. These residents say the businesses are an important part of the community. In the case of Dancing Crane, they have been here for 17 years and locals don't want to see them go.

“That’s what draws people to this area, and we don’t want to see this shelter remove all these businesses and be placed in a residential area,” said Peggy Clark, a Sugar House resident who attended the rally.

Clark said they reached out to city leaders.

“We invited city officials to come and look at the businesses because we don’t think that they have ever actually seen them,” she said.

Mike Reberg, Director of Community and Neighborhoods for Salt Lake City, said they realize folks have concerns.

"The people in this immediate area are certainly concerned and worried about it,” he said.

Reberg said they’ve been working with the affected businesses to ensure a smooth transition.

“Our economic development team in Salt Lake City have been working with those businesses to help them with those resources and the tools we have to help them with the relocation process,” he said.

Business owners declined to speak to Fox 13 News on camera, but they did say they appreciate the support from the community. The residents at Saturday’s rally said they plan to attend the February 7 city council meeting to express their concerns.