Mayor tells his vision for Murray City in State of the City AddressMar 08, 2023 01:47PM ● By Shaun Delliskave
Murray Mayor Brett Hales meets students from Grant Elementary School. (Photo courtesy of Murray City)
Murray City Mayor Brett Hales highlighted significant events in store for Murray at his annual Jan. 31 State of the City Address. The mayor addressed a packed Murray City Boards and Commissions recognition dinner at Intermountain Medical Center’s Doty Education building.
“Never in my life has a year gone by so quickly as 2022 did,” Hales said. “Never in my life has there been a year filled with so much fun, excitement, and just enough challenge to keep my feet on the ground.”
Hales stressed his commitment to the residents of Murray and acknowledged that there had been disagreements regarding Murray’s ultimate outcomes.
“First of all, I want to thank the residents of Murray. My focus has always remained on you and what’s best for the city. We may not always agree on the issues, but I hope you believe that I listen to you and try to find a way to address your questions and concerns,” Hales said.
He also recognized Murray City employees, many of who were present at the event.
“I want to thank the 800-plus full- and part-time employees of the city. They are the hardest-working and kindest people I’ve ever worked with. I love it when I hear of people who have 40 or more years of service with the city. Or, when new hires are thrilled to finally land a job with Murray,” Hales said.
The mayor reported that Murray City was in excellent shape, with a strong and growing economy, low crime rates, and a thriving community.
“There were no homicides (this year),” Hales said. In addition, “Ten new officers were hired.”
Furthermore, the mayor highlighted the city’s recent achievements, including completing major road improvement projects such as the Walden Hills subdivision storm drain project and the Atwood Boulevard intersection. In addition, he pointed out the opening of several new businesses, such as Modern Display, The Break Sports Grill Murray (4760 S. 900 East), Taco Bell and Miyazaki.
“We maintained our financial reserves at 25% of revenue and still took care of equipment and facilities,” Hales said.
However, the mayor acknowledged that there were challenges ahead and was determined to address them head-on. One of the most pressing issues was the city’s aging infrastructure, and the mayor announced funding to upgrade 900 East between Van Winkle Expressway and 5600 South and add bike lanes on 4800 South from the Jordan River Parkway to State Street.
Another key priority for the mayor was the continued growth and development of the city’s downtown area. As a result, the mayor announced a series of initiatives, including creating new public spaces and renovating existing buildings.
“Renovation of the (National Guard) Armory into a meeting or event center will commence soon,” Hales said. “The RDA (Redevelopment Area) area surrounding the old City Hall is for sale.”
While the fate of historic buildings has been contentious in the city, the mayor spoke about the importance of preserving some of Murray City’s historical and heritage sites. Renovation on the Murray Theater and the old Murray Mansion, which will house the Murray Museum, continues. Furthermore, Hales said the historic Murray Chapel, which was discussed as a possibility of being sold, will be renovated.
Hales listed general concerns that Murray residents should be aware of, including aging infrastructure, more things will break or spring leaks; supply shortages, causing delays; increasing demand for services due to greater population; inflation driving up the cost of services; housing demand; homelessness; and the cost of purchased power is increasing drastically.
Finally, the mayor closed his address with a call to action, telling the residents of Murray City that 2023 would be an even more active year. “As I said at the beginning, time is moving quickly, and already we are one month into 2023,” Hales said. “Two new council members were sworn in last year. An election will be held this year that will have three of the council members on the ballot. I look forward to the changes in store for the rest of this year.”