The City of South Salt Lake is somewhat of a hidden gem. Incorporated in 1938, the city just celebrated its 75th year Diamond Anniversary in 2013. Nestled among and often confused for neighboring larger cities, it is close to everything from golf courses to a downtown night life while still maintaining its small town feel. Some of Utah's best ski resorts are about a 30 minute drive and downtown Salt Lake City is only several minutes away. South Salt Lake City offers mass transportation, various housing types; parochial, charter, and public schools; city parks, and one of the most diverse populations in Utah.Originally, South Salt Lake was made up of three distinct unincorporated areas: Millcreek to the north, Central Park and Southgate to the south. In 1936 Central Park incorporated as its own town.
Jesse Fox Jr. developed the area South Salt Lake refers to as Central Park around 1890. It runs approximately from State Street to 300 East and 2500 South to 3000 South.
Mr. Fox chose the name after visiting New York and seeing Central Park there. He was impressed by the park, and the urban planning. He wanted his development to be related to the status of the Central Park in New York. South Salt Lake was a rural place at the time but he was so impressed at what he saw back east, he wanted to make a connection to the development here.
A few of the street names in the neighborhood have a connection to Mr. Fox. He had a daughter named Esther Vidas Fox, and another named Lucy Beryl Fox. There was no daughter named Leslie. However, there was a close relative, Lester Fox who went by Leslie and so Leslie Avenue is named after him.
In 1925 the LDS Central Park Ward was created and named after the development. On August 14, 1936 a resolution creating the Town of Central Park was approved by the Board of County Commissioners. There were 37 pages of signatures in favor of incorporating the town. "On or about July 15, 1937, one-fourth or more of the legal voters of said Town of Central Park, Utah" petitioned to dis-incorporate the town. On November 2, 1937, 1013 votes were cast, 731 were for the dis-incorporation. Almost a year later the Town of South Salt Lake was established in September 1938.
The property formerly known as Woodrow Wilson Elementary was renamed Central Park Community Center to reflect the history in the area. It boasts a ball diamond, a playground, a Head Start Pre-School, and the Pete Suazo Boxing Gym. Every day you can see kids playing soccer, or baseball, animal lovers with their dogs, joggers and families enjoying the open space.
On Thursday, September 29, 1938 a meeting was called to order at 8:30 p.m. by Robert R. Fitts. Also in attendance at this meeting were Alma Kasteler, A.S. Dykman, Clyde H. Peck, and Ariel A. Jensen. The official resolution as passed by Salt Lake County creating the Town of South Salt Lake and appointing the first town board was read. Board members took their oath before Justice Herman Gygi. And so it began, The Town of South Salt Lake with Mr. Fitts as the first town president. The town was created because of a need for a sewer system. Salt Lake City was going to annex the area in 1936 but couldn't get a sewer system to the area for several years. According to Mr. Fitts the community needed other things as well, like a bank, post office and fire department. After a close vote, residents approved incorporation. The sewer system was a Works Project Administration project. The deadline to file the sewer system plans was two days after the city was incorporated. The project began in 1939 at a cost of $462,000.
The original boundary of South Salt Lake was from 5th East to 3rd West and 2100 South to the center of Millcreek stream. Over the years the population grew, businesses came, and schools were built. On August 1, 1950 the population was such that the Town of South Salt Lake became the City of South Salt Lake and declared a third class city by the county. This changed the form of government to a mayor and city council. During his administration, Marlow Callahan went from Town President to the first mayor of The City of South Salt Lake.
In the 1990s, South Salt Lake annexed portions of an unincorporated portion of Salt Lake County to the south, and nearly doubled in land area, and, as a result, population.
The current mayor is Cherie Wood.Mayor Wood is a lifelong resident of the City of South Salt Lake, and began her career with the City 17 years ago at the front counter processing utility payments. Always accepting new challenges, she strengthened her skills through various positions with the City and in 2006 was appointed as Assistant Mayor to Mayor Robert Gray. Cherie graduated from the University of Phoenix with dual Bachelor's Degrees in Business Management and Business Administration. After a well-orchestrated, grass roots campaign that declared progress and change, Cherie Wood became South Salt Lake's first female Mayor on January 4, 2010. Mayor Wood was voted Best of State Elected Official in 2012 and 2013. She was featured in a commercial for the University of Phoenix as part of their Icon Campaign. She was featured in Yahoo's Shine channel and was Utah Business Magazine's one of 30 Women to Watch in 2008.
In 2012, a Chinatown development started to open businesses on a lot in the city. It will be the only Chinatown in the Intermountain West. Currently there are three Chinese restaurants, a gift shop, a martial arts facility, and an Asian convenience store operating, while construction has begun on a large Chinese supermarket on the property.