The land stretching west from the airport should be designed to serve and capitalize on the airport traffic. Here are some quick ideas on what might be done:
If we decide it will not hinder convention efforts downtown, or if the hotel space downtown can be converted to other draws, then place a large convention center near the airport. Combined with what is being done downtown, make our convention facilities the finest and largest in the country, ready to host any convention. Offer our city as the finest place in the nation for conventions.
Look to play host for every hobby and endeavor we can get our hands on. Chess, Monopoly and other board games? Make this the place to come if you aspire to play on a national level, a national stage. Coin and comic book collecting? Make Salt Lake City the best place in the nation for those hobbyists to congregate and pursue their interest.
How about making a place where rare documents and items are sold? There is no such place in the world, I would imagine, so make Salt Lake City the place where you come to display and sell that watch once owned by Abraham Lincoln and that guitar Eric Clapton once played. Give the sellers a museum, of sorts, where they can display their wares to buyers who come from around the world.
Reading yesterday's newspaper, I read how the creation of a prep basketball shootout in Orem five year ago is now being hailed as a visionary move. Why not host such tournaments in all sports? And, why not make Utah the best site in the nation for them by building sports complexes capable of hosting three or four games at once: Four basketball courts, four football fields, four baseball diamonds, etc. Few places nationwide can offer that. Do it, and you become the best place in the nation for these tournaments. Want to host the NCAA's regional basketball tournament? Offer four courts so games can be played simultaneously and see if that attracts them.
But, certainly don't just go after high school and college tournaments. Make this the place amateurs come to play in national tournaments.
And, give those who come things to do while they are waiting for their events. Rather than sitting in their hotels all day for that game in the evening, have venues where they can listen to Utah's finest musicians and its best comedians.
There is a lot of undeveloped land west of the airport. If you want a place where all this will fit, this is the place. If you develop it with light industrial and general commercial, you sell it short and lose your chance to do this.
Salt Lake City can do something that has never been done. It can become the city that attracts tourists in a way that has never been tried. Why not turn our city into a place like none other? Why not make it the place where people come from around the nation and around the world to participate and compete in their hobbies and their dreams?