Salt Lake Mayor Rocky Anderson told the Downtown Merchants Association that the city needs to be patient while it waits for rejuvenation.
Anderson, who spoke at an association lunch on Tuesday, said that the promise of downtown mall renovations by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints makes everyone impatient for information and results, but it's important to remember that "we're eager because it's a great thing that's going to happen in our community."
Anderson pitched to the friendly crowd his planned aesthetic improvements to 300 South, also known as Broadway Boulevard, and for Pioneer Park, the updating of which he is quarreling about with the City Council. He also urged the association to push for revisions to Utah's liquor laws, which he called bizarre and an impediment to entertaining the roughly 25,000 Rotarians coming next year for their international convention.
"I want to be able to show them a good nightlife," Anderson said. "It's not about the booze. It's about the hospitality and not being bizarre any more."
Liquor laws are state laws under the jurisdiction of the state Legislature. Anderson, a Democrat, has a history of disagreeing with the Republican majority on Capitol Hill.
But Eric Jergensen, a City Council member who attended the association's meeting, questioned the mayor's tactics. "If you want to change a law, you don't call the group that has to change the law, 'bizarre,' " he said.