The Westside Coalition and a Shifting West Side Narrative

A conceptual rendering of the Public Market at the State Fairpark.

The Westside Coalition is a social welfare organization that advocates for residents living on the west side of Salt Lake City. The Coalition fights for health, safety, and quality of life for its residents. Comprised of six community councils, the Westside Coalition includes; Westpointe, Jordan Meadows, Rose Park, Poplar Grove, Glendale, and Fairpark. The Coalition was newly reinstated as of September 2018 with the vision of creating one united voice among the community councils after significant efforts with the Public Market at the State Fairpark. While the Public Market was the impetus and springboard for the reinstatement of the Coalition, the organization has gone on to deal with a broad array of issues.

One of the central efforts of the Coalition is to increase their reach and visibility throughout the community. They are focused on engaging west side residents with issues that directly affect them and their lives. Too often elected officials and individuals in positions of leadership make decisions for entire communities without seeking the input of the people living within their boundaries. This has occurred time and time again with the west side of Salt Lake City. The Coalition is working to change this narrative by engaging residents civically in their communities and becoming active voters in the elections of public officials that have direct influences on their neighborhood.

In combination with this effort, the Coalition is issue-driven and focuses on the most immediate projects that could impact west side residents. They are proactive in finding and identifying projects that are impactful and do not just wait for things to come along. This helps to deter the continued industrialization of the west side. They work to obtain media coverage so that community members can be aware of potential projects that could impact their neighborhoods. The Public Market is an example of the Westside Coalition fighting for economic justice so that residents are given the same opportunities as their neighbors to the east.

In May 2019, a report was compiled that outlined and identified a number of different organizations located on the west side with whom the Coalition could work. This information can be used as a tool for partnership. The Coalition will determine areas in which it needs improvement and partner with organizations with assets in those areas. It is our hope that the Westside Coalition and local organizations will be seen as a resource toolkit for residents to use to accomplish neighborhood-identified goals, changes, and improvements.

Featured image: A conceptual rendering of the Public Market at the State Fairpark.

Post written by Elizabeth Arnold, Community Leadership Partnerships Graduate Assistant, City & Metropolitan Planning Department, University of Utah