Midvale mayor optimistic for the city’s futureMay 08, 2023 10:50AM ● By Peri Kinder
Marcus Stevenson just completed his first year as the mayor of Midvale City. At 27, Stevenson was the youngest mayor the city has ever elected. (Photo courtesy of Midvale City)
Whether he’s greeting musician Post Malone at Raising Cane’s, skateboarding at Copperview Skatepark or painting a wall during the mural festival, Midvale Mayor Marcus Stevenson brings a youthful energy to the 114-year-old city.
It’s been a little more than a year since Stevenson was sworn-in as the 22nd mayor of Midvale. At 27, he was the youngest mayor the city had ever elected. Stevenson has learned some hard lessons during his first year in office, but he’s also made big strides and he’s excited to move forward.
“I think that as a community we’re in a really interesting place where we have so many exciting things going on,” he said. “There’s so much good happening here but we also have some pretty intense struggles and challenges, like homelessness and poverty.”
Stevenson has promoted open communication since he took over as mayor. He wants residents to be engaged in city issues and values the feedback he’s received. The Engage Midvale platform, launched a year ago, encourages residents to take surveys about things like transportation, Main Street development and planning for the three TRAX stations. It’s a tool to help residents be actively involved in decision making.
As he’s learned the intricacies of government leadership, he feels better prepared for the challenges ahead. One big problem Stevenson faces is how the city will reorganize the police department once the Unified Police Department is dissolved in 2025. The city also deals with high levels of youth violence.
“Midvale has one of the highest rates of youth violence in the county. We have been doing a lot of work to provide more opportunities for the youth in our community,” he said. “We’ve got incredible community partners trying to make sure we’re bringing in more youth programming.”
Good things happening in Midvale include the revitalization of Main Street. The city’s first mural festival was held last year that encouraged businesses along the historic street to allow artists to paint murals on the outside walls. The festival was an effort to make Main Street a destination for arts, culture and food.
For 25 years, city leaders have discussed Main Street investment but Midvale owns only one building on the street. It has become a chicken-and-egg situation as private building owners want the city to improve lighting and the streetscape, while city leaders have encouraged owners to invest in their buildings to bring people to the area.
Making Main Street a Redevelopment Agency, along with Bingham Junction and Jordan Bluffs, allows the city to reinvest tax dollars in the area, which includes holding more events and creating a grant program to revitalize the buildings.
“It’s been a huge shift in how much we’re able to invest in the street,” Stevenson said. “The economic things that we have going on here are growing and that’s going to help the folks struggling in our community. If we can provide more opportunities close to home then I think that’s going to help. We can continue the exciting things we do and help the folks who are really struggling and hopefully move that entire system in the same direction together.”
Stevenson is also focused on making sure the city receives funding from the Zoo, Arts & Parks program to build an updated recreation center in the city. ZAP renewal only happens every 10 years and if funding isn’t secured, the city will have to wait another 10 years to design more recreation opportunities like a community pool.
The city has also received funding from Salt Lake County to build a new library. It will take a few years to acquire land and have construction completed, but Stevenson said it’s a big win for the community.
“This job is always an adventure and you never know what’s going to be thrown at you. But we’re here for it, we’re going to keep stepping up to the plate, whatever is thrown at us. With all the challenges we have, we have so many exciting opportunities.” λ