The Granary District

Creating walkable, urban, human-centered neighborhoods in the Granary District.

We had a wonderful kickoff meeting Thursday night, February 3rd, at the Pickle Factory, with a great turnout, good food and interesting, productive conversation! We discussed the reason for having the Block Party, brainstormed ideas for the Block Party, and decided next steps to making the Block Party a reality.


Attendees were:

Chelsea Laterza, interested citizen

Mark Molen, Move to Amend

Brandon Garcia, Utah Pickle Factory

Vanessa Garcia, Utah Pickle Factory

Jackie Scabine, Artspace

Sabina Zunguze, A Gift to Africa (Artspace Commons)

Joseph Briggs, University of Utah Planning Student

Justin Popa, University of Utah Planning Student

Ashlie Taylor, Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City

Dan Valazquez, SL Economic Development

Maria Garciaz, NeighborWorks of Salt Lake

John McCune, Resident of Artspace Commons

Romy B Shafkind, Blackdog Art (Artspace Commons)

Kyle Mullikin, American Hallow

Susan Finlayson, Wasatch Community Gardens (Artspace Commons)

Benjamin Jordan, Wasatch Cooperative Market

Robert Shand, Salt Lake City Artists' League

Justin D Kramer, Rico Brand

Peter Clark, Windermere Real Estate

Daniel Winters, Pickle Factory

Keri Williams, UofU Planning Student

Scott Brady, Pickle Factory

Matt Swindel, Imbue Design

Chris Brown, Property Owner

Jesse Cassor, Property Owner/ Record Label Manager

Matt Monson, Local First

James Alfandre, The Kentlands Initiative

Ashley Sanders, The Kentlands Initiative

Christian Harrison, The Kentlands Initiative


The attendees represented a diverse cross section of the Granary District and wanted to incorporate everything from local music and art, to urban agriculture and biking, to revitalization and small business development into the Block Party.


Here are detailed minutes from the meeting:


James Alfandre welcomed everyone to the kickoff meeting, thanked Brandon and Vanessa Garcia for graciously hosting,  and started introductions

Introduction of everyone.

So what is the Kentlands Initiative and why are we throwing a block party?

a. We are here to create the neighborhood of our imaginations.

i. A healthy neighborhood is the key to a healthy world. If a neighborhood fails--if
it cannot create community or defend itself from harm or find solutions to real
problems--then society fails. Neighborhoods are the basic building blocks of a
good society, a good planet.

b. Who are we?
i. We are the Kentlands Initiative, and we see our job this way: We bring all kinds
of people together and help them to imagine, and then create, neighborhoods
that are models of a better world.

c. Why a block party?
i. There are two steps to creating our ideal neighborhoods: First we have to
create the neighborhood as an idea; then we create the neighborhood as a
reality. In other words, if we don't dream it, it won't happen.

ii.As planners, small business owners and activists, we spend so much of our time
fighting what we don't want: big box stores, strip malls, freeways, power plants,
isolation, sprawl, pollution. We are so rarely given an opportunity to say what
we want that when we are asked we often don't know what to say. These block
parties give us a chance to retrain our brains in the art of imagining, to remove
obstacles that keep us from our best thinking, to root out resignation and start
to play with ideas again. Throwing a party lets us ask: What is possible? What
could this place look like? What are our talents? Our dreams? How could we
make our dreams into something tangible, artistic, concrete? Then we make
it, just for a day. And by making it we get to know each other. We get to know
ourselves. We realize we are capable of much more than we thought. We
realize that the solutions to problems are not impossible — they are usually just
not allowed. And when we finally throw the party, it is so fun, and the space is
so magical, and people are so happy, that we are inspired to make it real — to do
the work to make an actual investment.

So we throw the block party and imagine our ideal neighborhoods.

iii. Then, in the weeks after, we use the momentum from the block party to start
building that neighborhood in reality.

This is the basic idea behind the Kentlands Initiative: We take creative
people. We take a city block. We ask the people what they want, then we
foment the dream and facilitate the reality. It's called Block Democracy, and it
is a proof that people can solve the problems that confront them--that they can
create justice and beauty, that they can live in a world they actually like. 


Kentlands Initiative suggested that the Block Party take place May 20th to be as the same night as Artspace Commons 'Open Studio' night.

Group discussed what dates would be best for daylight tours of Block Party street and when the working meeting will take place.

a. Block party on May 20
b. Planning meetings after the tour on Thursday evening, February 24th time and place TBD
c. After block party, meetings continue as we implement ideals
d. Ning site is our online tool for brainstorming/ CONNECTING/ COLLABORATING


Why are you all here?
a. You are the ones who do live or will live, work and play in this community, so you are
the ones who should envision and create it.
i. This neighborhood is not a blank slate. There are people who already live here
and care about it. It should be developed according to their desires and visions,
not some random developer with a permit for a strip mall.
i. This is not just a creative endeavor, although it is that. We want to actually be a
part of this neighborhood. We want people to move here. We want the people
living here to direct the development of this neighborhood. We want small
businesses to open doors here. We want activists to pool resources and create
solutions to problems on these streets.
c. We represent four main groups: planners/responsible developers, PROPERTY/small
business owners, artists and social justice groups. We are all different and have
different aims, and we might not even resonate with why someone else is here. But
that's okay. This is a chance to work together to invest in and build a true, smart and
just community/NEIGHBORHOOD.

What is stopping us from creating the neighborhood we want, and what can we do?
a. If this is possible, why do we consent to live in places we don't like?
b. James Alfandre showed images of places that are desirable, and others that aren't as desirable.
c. Conclusion: we live in places we don’t like because we don’t feel empowered to live in
places we do like.


So what would it take to live in the place we wanted? What could we do?
a. Introduced the Better Blocks Initiative video.
b. Watched video to get inspiration for Granary District Block Party



Categories for Block Party  and examples:

1. Art
2. Local food
3. Other


1. Music
2. Dancing
3. Busking
4. Street Theater


Street Design and Decoration
1. Lights
2. Knit trees
3. Banners
4. Street cafes
5. Chalkscapes
6. Imagination wall
7. Planter boxes
8. Painting buildings
9. Gardens and landscaping
10. Foot bridges
11. Murals/art installations


1. Push cart dropping people off
2. Painted bike lanes
3. Bike valet/carriages

1. Actors welcoming people
2. Bike messengers with typewriters
3. Recording booth for collecting ideas
4. Welcome booth with information
5. People in costumes
6. Video-taping people’s ideas


3. Rain water catchment
4. Demonstration solar panels
5. Edible landscaping/urban gardening
6. Chickens, goats and ducks
7. Video installations of neighborhood history


Promotion and media
1. Advance radio, print and television to recruit people
2. Day-of media


1. Permits
2. Literature
3. Permission from storefront owners
e. What other ideas do you have?
i. Write them down on the postcard.
ii.Have people share some thoughts.
f. Who else should be involved? Write down three names and invite them to the site and
the next meeting.


Where do we go from here?
a. Logistics
i. Next working meeting in two weeks
1. We should invite their contacts to this meeting.
2. In the meantime, we should think of ideas and start posting them on
the website. 


Homework reminder
i. Join Ning site and start posting.
ii.Invite others to site and to next meeting.
Brainstorm ideas for block party and come with them for next time.

Thanks and goodbye!



 We missed those of you who couldn't make it, and we have several upcoming events that will be taking place in the next couple of weeks, so be on the lookout and check back frequently for updates!

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James and Crew!

Thanks for sharing the meeting details...I look forward to being able to participate more after Feb!!!


And look forward to having you participate! Thanks for staying connected, Jennifer!
Kind of annoyed I didn't know about this till now considering how much work I've been putting into the area while living here for the last four years and encouraging young creatives to move here. Maybe, inclusiveness should be considered rather than exclusiveness.

Hey Quinn,

Didn't know you were already living/ working down here, so sorry you weren't contacted about the meeting, but we're glad to have you aboard now!

Please let anyone else you know who is living/working in the area to join us if they're interested. The more Granary 'experts' involved, the better. And if you have any questions, please let me know.



Cheers and of course!


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