Birth of a City
I'm pretty sure none of you have ever built a city except maybe one made out of Lincoln Logs, Legos or via a computer game. Our forebearers built camps, pueblos, forts, towns and cities. And now we're on the verge of building another one: Millcreek City. I know you're probably thinking, "We've got a Millcreek—that's where I go to walk my dog. It's already there!"
Hold on tight, my geography buffs. Millcreek for now is still a township—a combination of neighborhoods that include Millcreek, East Millcreek, Canyon Rim and Mount Olympus, with a population of more than 62,000 and a land area of 13.7 square miles within the Salt Lake Valley. Nestled on the east side between Salt Lake City and South Salt Lake—and Murray and Holladay on the south—it was settled in 1848 by Mary Fielding Smith (the widow of Hyram Smith) and her children. Locals love to live in Millcreek because it's a 5-minute drive to freeway ramps, Tanner dog park and dog-friendly Mill Creek Canyon. Home lots are large and there are plenty of local shops and restaurants to satisfy urbanistas.
Millcreekers are an opinionated bunch. You could watch the barbs fly across the snoozy streets of the suburbs there just a few years ago when folks tried to incorporate the township into Salt Lake County's 17th-largest city. Many didn't want to be saddled with county rules and regulations that favored other areas of the valley and face an inescapable whirlpool of over-taxation and underrepresentation. That ballot measure failed by a 60-40 percent margin. In 2015, however, proponents won, and voila!—a city was born.
New Millcreek City residents will be electing a mayor and four city council members this November. Those officials will then make decisions on where the town will get its planners and services. At least 20 hopefuls have stepped up and registered as candidates.
In the meantime, the fledgling city is already built. The infrastructure is there: streets, homes, hospitals, churches, shops, etc. What's missing, though, is Millcreek City Hall, a place for the new city officials. Speculators and developers have been eyeing 3300 South and 2300 East as the obvious choice for a town center. But no plans can be made until those elected get into office and find out how much money is available to build their new town. And they'll have about two months after the election to cut the umbilical cord from Salt Lake County and fly on their own.