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Conservationists oppose Salt Lake City soccer complex site

(Deseret News) Both see the stretch of wetlands along the Jordan River as valuable open space.

But that's where Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker and wetlands activist Jeff Salt see their visions for the swath of land at 2200 North diverge.

"There's nothing like it left along the river," says Salt, head of the Great Salt Lake Keeper. "When you're dealing with the last drop of water in a pond, that drop becomes increasingly more valuable."

Salt wants the land preserved and a nature center built for when the eagles and shorebirds return.

Becker, meanwhile, says this is a place for a multimillion-dollar sports complex.

And City Hall might hold the trump card: voter approval.

While the site was not specifically mentioned in the 2003 bond measure OK'd by voters, there was a "common understanding" on the location, Becker said.

With the $15 million bond and a $7.5 million contribution from Real Salt Lake that expires next year, the city plans to begin the first phase of a sports complex that includes soccer fields, baseball diamonds and a championship stadium.

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