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SLC’s tiny house community breaks ground on community center

SLC’s tiny house community breaks ground on community center

Second time since March last yearThe Other Side Village leaders have begun building a neighborhood of tiny homes for formerly homeless Utah residents.

This time, the ceremony was held in a former Salt Lake City-owned garbage dump near Indiana Avenue and Redwood Road, marking the start of construction of a communal gathering space for the village’s first residents (whenever they arrived).

In conversations before shovels dug into small mounds of dirt, project leaders shared their energy and passion for the planned neighborhood, which has been in the works for years but has yet to have a single house built.

Joseph Grenny, president of the board of directors of The Other Side Academy, said his organization wasn’t on the west side Tuesday asking for anything. Instead, he said the village had something to offer.

“These (future residents) will be ushering in what will be one of the most visited places in Salt Lake City in the coming years in a few months,” he said. “The reason it’s the most visited place is because it offers hope for everyone who crosses our threshold, for each of us. No matter how low we fall, there’s always something better possible when we’re surrounded by a community that helps us make it happen.”

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Joseph Grenny at the groundbreaking ceremony for one of the community pavilions of The Other Side Village in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 9, 2024.

Grenny and others were celebrating the groundbreaking of one of the planned community pavilions, which will be small community centers where residents can gather outside of their tiny homes.

The leaders’ positive stance comes after major delays in the project and after other advocates for homeless Utahns expressed skepticism about the village and its ability to reduce the number of people sleeping on the streets.

Each of the planned pavilions (there will be several on the site) will serve 25 to 30 homes.

Heather Deuel, an estimator with Big-D Construction, the company that built the first pavilion, said the structures will be an extension of the homes that will one day occupy the site and “invite everyone to come and enjoy life as a community.”

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) The groundbreaking ceremony for one of The Other Side Village’s community pavilions in Salt Lake City will take place on Tuesday, July 9, 2024.

The pavilions will be mostly open, flexible meeting spaces of about 2,200 square feet. There will also be restrooms, laundry facilities and space for warming food. The centers can be used for community meetings, but can also be used for playing cards and watching sports.

The village was promised yearsIn 2022, with the help of Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, the landfill’s annual rent was secured for one dollar.

Project leaders blamed the delays on environmental remediation and labor shortages, among other things. Those environmental remediation issues continued Tuesday, when officials said they were still searching for additional clean soil for the previously contaminated site.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Other Side Village under construction in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 9, 2024.

Despite the overall project’s setbacks, one aspect of the village has come online. Last month, The Other Side Donuts, which employs many of the property’s future residents, opened on the corner of the neighborhood planned as part of the village’s prep school curriculum.

The pavilion, which officials began work on Tuesday, is scheduled to be completed by December and the first homes will be ready for occupancy once approval is received from Salt Lake City, according to project leaders.