SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) – In front of hundreds of stakeholders and citizens, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams touted successes from Operation Rio Grande, infrastructure changes and announced new plans for battling the opioid crisis in Utah and building the economy.
McAdams’ 2018 State of the County speech covered many of those topics, as well as a plea for funding from lawmakers to continue to address the county’s homelessness problem.
McAdams said until the legislature helps, they will hold off on three new homeless resource centers proposed for the county.
“I’m repeating my pledge today that until the legislature passes a bill to address the impact on cities that host resource centers, we won’t break ground in South Salt Lake. I have faith in our legislative partners and I’m confident they will succeed and we will be moving forward this spring as planned,” McAdams said.
McAdams then went on to tout the successes from Operation Rio Grande, which resulted in dozens of drug arrests. Many of the arrestees agreed to go into county-funded treatment programs. Destiny Garcia was arrested at Rio Grande on Aug. 21. Six months later, she said she’s clean from her drug addiction.
McAdams publicly recognized Garcia during his speech.
“A lot of people are in my situation,” Garcia told News4Utah. “They needed help, but don’t have the funding to get it.”
Garcia was recently awarded a grant that gives her temporary housing in a home with other recovering addicts, as well as access to full-time employment.
McAdams also went on to talk about new roads that will bring businesses to the county, including a proposed paved road in Kearns which will hopefully boost that areas economy and cut commute and traffic times for residents there.
“We are literally paving the way for economic growth in that area of Salt Lake County,” McAdams said.
The mayor also talked about building a regional bike network for cycling that will provide recreation and air quality improvement.