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University/Neighborhood Partners Opens Doors to Community

April 02, 2003 — Salt Lake City’s west side is making a new neighbor out of an old friend. The University of Utah is set to open a facility at 1060 South and 900 West called the University/Neighborhood Partners. It’s a place where people can receive educational assistance from U personnel and take advantage of university resources. A grand opening is scheduled at the new building from 3 to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, April 4, 2003.

The event will be a festive occasion with live music from west side bands, free food from local restaurants, children’s activities, U of U athletes, and prize drawings. Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson and University President Bernie Machen will speak about the increasing role the U will play on Salt Lake City’s west side, and how residents and the university will benefit. Machen says this is a great opportunity for the U and the city. “The University/Neighborhood Partners is a great vehicle for the U to learn about the diverse ideas coming from people living on the west side of Salt Lake City. I am excited to team up with our neighbors there to provide a broad range of educational opportunities,” said Machen.

The U has been teaming up for years with people living west of downtown Salt Lake City to educate and provide other needed services. The new University/Neighborhood Partners will expand on some of these programs and begin others. Some examples of ongoing partnerships are:

–West High School and the U of U English Department together created the Family Literacy Center, located at West. The Center offers all levels of literacy-related services for West High students and their families.

–The U’s Lowell Bennion Community Service Center, TreeUtah, Parkview and Riley Elementary, two community councils, and many others created and maintain a two-acre natural area and urban tree house on the east bank of the Jordan River, just south of Jordan Park.

–Nine elementary schools and the U’s College of Health and Department of Exercise and Sports Science offer the summer National Youth Sports Program to young people ages 10 to 16.

Irene Fisher is Director of the University/Neighborhood Partners and has been anxiously awaiting the facility’s formal opening. According to Fisher, “The U has been doing its best for years to see that we are good neighbors to people on the west side, providing services and helping where we can. Now we are physically moving into one of its rich and diverse neighborhoods, so we can do even more.” Fisher cites four main focus areas for the center, growing out of resident recommendations:

–Increase opportunities for youth education and success.
–Support initiatives led by neighborhood residents.
–Build bridges across barriers of race, ethnicity, religion, political viewpoint, and geography.
–Increase the capacity of the neighborhoods in the areas of health, housing, employment/business development, safety, and the environment.

For more information, call the University/Neighborhood Partners at 972-3596.