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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Hillside Plaza Citizen Advisory Committee has formed

Nov 06, 2023 02:59PM ● By Cassie Goff

Continuing coverage from the September edition of the City Journals, members of the newly formed resident Hillside Plaza Committee have been named. (Photo courtesy of MGB+A Consultants)

The Cottonwood Heights Community Development and Renewal Agency (CDRA) made the final announcement on who has been selected to serve on the Hillside Plaza Citizen Advisory Committee on Oct. 3. Members for District 1 will be Heather Anderson and McCall Shoff. Members for District 2 will be Jerry Christensen and Lori Gee. Members for District 3 will be Jacqueline Hibbard and Randy Whitehead. Members for District 4 will be Kayla Lengyel and Gordon Walker. At-large members will be Michael Hanson, Tori Horsley, Dan Mills, and Mike Peterson. 

As mentioned in the September edition of the City Journals, the Hillside Plaza Citizen Advisory Committee will be the main resident steering committee working with consultant MGB+A to envision, plan, and design a future for the currently vacant Hillside Plaza at 2378 Fort Union Blvd.

“I would like to show my appreciation and thank our residents, who showed some great energy around this process, for being willing to participate,” said Member of the Board Shawn Newell. 

The CDRA, which is comprised of all members of the Cottonwood Heights City Council, approved Resolution 2023-05-B: Appointing Members of the Hillside Plaza Citizen Advisory Committee during their business meeting at 6 p.m. 

“I am grateful for the willingness of so many people to serve in our city,” said Member of the Board Mike Weichers. “They’re willing to have a voice in what our city looks like.”

The approval occurred after consideration of Resolution 2023-05-A: Appointing Members of the Hillside Plaza Citizen Advisory Committee, which included resident Eric Kraan as a member. Member of the Board Ellen Birrell motioned to approve this resolution. The resolution did not receive a second, so the motion failed. 

“I selected Eric Kraan because of his demonstrated devotion to this community in recent years,” said Birrell. “He has become an esteemed person within this community for his ability to analyze and his willingness to research thoroughly in areas of land use, public safety, mobility and others. He’s a disrupter by nature.” 

“I do have a concern that we need to make sure, as a city, that we can go forward in the best manner when we leave our personal preferences and political agendas aside and make sure we welcome diverse voices in our community,” Birrell said. “To have Eric Kraan singled out because he is considered a rival to some of the politicians who have served here in the community…I think it’s incumbent upon the CDRA to make sure we welcome diverse voices.” 

“This is an important committee for us,” Newell said. “We need to bring in a variety of perspectives to help make the right decisions for this committee.” 

Resolution 2023-05-B included resident Gorden Walker instead of Kraan. The motion to approve Resolution 2023-05-B was voiced by Member of the Board Scott Bracken and seconded by Newell. Resolution 2023-05-B was passed unanimously with an abstention from Birrell.   

“I think this committee will be for the public good and that’s how I’ll be basing my vote tonight,” Bracken said. 

Bracken mentioned how Walker’s experience working as the Director of Utah’s Housing and Community Development Division within the Governor’s Office will provide a much needed perspective for this committee. 

“Gorden Walker is a very esteemed member of the District 4 community,” Birrell said.

Bracken reminded residents that finalizing the Hillside Plaza Citizen Advisory Committee is only a stepping stone on the way to the public input arena. 

From here, the Hillside Plaza Citizen Advisory Committee will work with consultant MGB+A to plan meetings and open houses to gather public input from residents. Those will be announced through the city’s social media channels and website ( λ