Mayor’s State of the City Address recaps busy year
Feb 24, 2020 01:55PM
By Shaun Delliskave
Murray Mayor Blair Camp delivered his State of the City Address at the boards and commission dinner on Feb. 11. (Photo courtesy Murray City)
By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]
Murray Mayor Blair Camp declared in his State of the City Address that Murray is in a position of evolving, changing and transitioning. The mayor chose not to give his Feb. 11 address at city hall, the traditional site for the annual speech, opting instead to give it at an invitation-only dinner for members of Murray’s boards and commissions at the Doty Education Center on the Intermountain Medical Center campus.
In his address, Camp recapped the activities of most Murray City departments. Of note, he emphasized the Murray Fire Department, which relocates its headquarters to a new fire station this year. In 2019, the Murray Fire Department responded to over 1,200 fire calls and nearly 5,000 calls for emergency medical services, resulting in over 2,200 ambulance transports.
The new two-story, 23,000-square-foot, five-bay fire station, which will house firefighters and paramedics as well as fire prevention and administrative offices, will open in March. The fire department also took possession of a new, modern Pierce fire engine.
The mayor also highlighted the Murray Parks and Recreation Department, pointing out that Murray Parkway Golf Course hosted 62,000 rounds of golf. Camp reported that Murray Park pavilions 1, 2, 3, and 4 were demolished this past fall to make way for new pavilions, which will be completed this spring. Pavilion 5, which is the large pavilion immediately adjacent to the Park Office, will be torn down this fall and replaced before the spring of 2021.
“All our parks and trails are heavily utilized and enjoyed year-round. If you are wondering if people are still playing Pokémon GO, just visit Murray Park on a Sunday afternoon, and there will be no doubt in your mind,” Camp said.
Camp revisited his initiatives from last year’s State of the City Address, namely to reduce the number of empty commercial buildings.
“I am happy to note this evening that after an extended vacancy, a new furniture store will soon open in the former Toys“R”Us location on south State Street. The former Sports Authority building on 900 East will soon be the home of EOS Fitness,” Camp said. “After several years of being unoccupied, the former Kmart site on 900 East and Van Winkle will be transformed into an attractive mixed-use development with a combination of commercial buildings and housing units. The former Cotton Shop building will soon be renovated into a high-end men’s clothing store.”
As for downtown Murray, the mayor reiterated that he is still proactively pursuing new development on State Street’s westside to replace the old downtown structures between 4800 South to 5th Avenue. Camp anticipates issuing Requests for Proposals in the next few weeks for new commercial projects in that area. He also announced that the construction of city hall and the police department would begin in May.
Funding the Murray Theater renovation continues to be a high priority for the mayor. The City Council approved $1 million for the project, along with a $3.6 million grant from Salt Lake County, but the project still requires an additional $2 million to complete the renovation.
According to Camp, “We have recently entered into a fundraising agreement with an organization to seek substantial private donations to help close this funding gap. We believe there is significant interest in the community to see the renovation and repurposing of this historic theater happen.”
Of primary concern to the mayor, was the increasing demand for Murray services on the city’s coffers. Sales tax revenue, which funds the city’s operations, increased by 2% last year.
“I am slightly uneasy, however, as I observe that the escalating costs of providing services seem to be outpacing our current revenue sources,” Camp said. “I believe the future financial success in Murray will involve a more diversified tax revenue stream to reduce our reliance on sales tax. Part of this strategy is to redevelop the underutilized commercial properties in our city to help grow our property tax base in the future.”
In the end, Camp expressed that he was optimistic about the future of Murray and committed to continue to provide Murray’s same level of services. The full text of the mayor’s State of the City Address can be found online at www.murray.utah.gov.