Meet the New Pioneer Park Coalition Board Leadership | Salt Lake City

The Pioneer Park Coalition Board is a group of like-minded individuals from all walks of life who have a vested interest in revitalizing the west side of Salt Lake City.

At a recent monthly meeting of the Pioneer Park Coalition Board, a new Executive Board was elected as PPC’s new leadership. We are excited to introduce you to them.

Meet the New Pioneer Park Coalition Board Leadership

Tiffanie Provost Price: Chair

Tiffanie is the owner of Axiom Properties, a real estate investment company, specializing in Salt Lake City commercial properties with small business tenants. She is President and founder of AxisT, an event equipment rental and retail business. Tiffanie received her BS in Economics from Westminster College.
Tiffanie has been involved with and worked around the Pioneer Park and Rio Grande area for many years. With the recent effort and issues involving Rio Grande, Tiffanie became an early member of the Pioneer Park Coalition.
She is on the Salt Lake County Collective Impact steering committee on Homelessness. She was a member of both the Salt Lake City’s Homeless Services Site Evaluation Commission and Mayor’s Biskupski’s transition committee.
Tiffanie lives in Salt Lake City with her husband, Steve. She has two sons and five step-children.

Dave Kelly: Vice Chair

If you missed our blog post highlighting PPC board member and new Vice Chair Dave Kelly, make sure you check it out here! You may get to see Dave in a whole new light…

James H Deans: Secretary & Legal Adviser

James Deans will be continuing on as the Pioneer Park Coalitions secretary and legal adviser.
Jim graduated from South Western University Law School in 1978.
He was a housing attorney for 39 years. He also served as a draftsman of housing legislation, past president of the Apartment Association, and was a consultant to the Russian Government on Housing Law in 1992.

Lynn Ames: Treasurer

Lynn joined CAPTRUST in 2017 when Knox Capital Group merged its wealth management practice with CAPTRUST. He has had a long and successful career in tax consulting.

Lynn spent seven years with Deloitte before becoming director of tax for Ballard Medical Products, a mid-size public company that was very active with mergers and acquisitions during his tenure. After assisting Ballard through a sale of its business, he joined Ernst & Young where he became tax partner and ran the tax practice for 13 years. During that time, Lynn worked with many of Utah’s largest companies.

Additionally, he has assisted many ultra-high-net-wealth clients purchase and exit businesses. Lynn is a firm believer that structuring tax-efficient transactions puts money in the hands of bright, visionary entrepreneurs who can use those funds to create great businesses, new jobs, and a stronger economy.


  • Baccalaureate of Art degree in accountancy from the University of Utah
  • Master of Professional Accountancy degree from the University of Utah


  • Certified Public Accountant


  • Chairman, Intermountain Research and Medical Foundation
  • Board of Trustees, Intermountain Central Region
  • Board of Trustees, Pioneer Park Coalition
  • Board of Trustees, University of Utah – Tanner Dance

The History of the Rio Grande Café in Salt Lake City | Utah

The Rio Grande Café began serving Mexican food in 1981, and since that time, it has remained locally owned and operated. Located in the historic Rio Grande Train Depot and offering Mexican fare in the form of enchiladas, tacos and chimichangas, the historic site provides patrons with a dining experience that is laid back and eclectic.The Rio Grande Cafe in Salt Lake City Utah

The History of the Rio Grande Café in Salt Lake City

An “Air Conditioned” Original

The Denver Rio Grande and Western Railroad service constructed the Rio Grande Depot in 1910 for $750,000. From the start, the owners billed the café as an “air conditioned” original. At the time, this feature was a profitable novelty, one that was, and still is, advertised via a pink neon sign installed over the café’s entryway. When you visit, you’re sure to notice the Taco Lady. Her painting is hung in the café’s dining room. The interior of the Rio Grande Café reflects a time when people ordered classic bottled Coca Cola while listening to tunes on the jukebox.

Historical photo of the Rio Grande Train Depot in Salt Lake City Utah

The Rio Grande Depot was a main travel hub in Utah, and it was designed to surpass the building constructed by the Union Pacific Depot a year earlier. The two stations echoed the fierce competition that was going on between D&RGW’s George Gould and UP’s E.H. Harriman, two well-known rail barons, at the time. Harriman wound up winning this competition since Gould wasted his family’s fortune building a rail line from Salt Lake City to San Francisco in a failed attempt to compete with Union Pacific. He completed the line, but it cost him his rail empire.

Construction of Rio Grande Depot in Salt Lake City Utah

An Architectural and Historic Treasure

As one of Utah’s most splendid structures, the building is currently the home of the Utah State Historical Society, which shares the space with the Rio Grande Café. According to locals, the building is haunted by the Purple Lady. Legend says that she was a jilted woman who was killed by a train when she attempted to retrieve a ring that fell onto the railroad tracks. People have reported seeing her in the women’s restroom of the café, and security guards have claimed to hear her footsteps when they’re in the station’s mezzanine.

Inside of the Rio Grande Depot in Salt Lake City Utah

Fusing the Past and the Present

The Rio Grande Café is the perfect blend of the past and the present with its historic architecture and tasty Mexican cuisine. Those who head to the eatery for lunch or dinner will be charmed by the ambiance and filled to the brim with good food.

Rio Grande Cafe dining room in Salt Lake City Utah

Meet Your Salt Lake Neighbor | Pioneer Park Coalition Vice Chair David Kelly

We as the PPC love to feature our Salt Lake City neighbors, both residents and businesses, on our blog. Today we are please to spotlight Pioneer Park Coalition board member (and newly elected Vice Chairman of the board), David Kelly.

Meet Your Salt Lake Neighbor Dave Kelly

Dave Kelly with Newmark Grubb Acres in Salt Lake City

We caught up with Dave to ask him more about himself, his business, and his involvement in the Rio Grande and Pioneer Park neighborhood of downtown Salt Lake City.


What company do you work for?
Newmark Grubb ACRES

Senior Associate – Office Specialist

I have been in commercial real estate for 13 years.

Downtown Salt Lake City

Commercial Real Estate Agent, Office Specialist: I help tenants find office space and landlords find tenants.

Our main office is located in downtown Salt Lake City, and we are intimately connected to the Pioneer Park and Rio Grande communities. We strive to help Salt Lake City remain vibrant and a desirable location for residents, businesses, employees and tourists alike.

We are a full service commercial real estate brokerage providing tenant and landlord representation, property management, facility services, corporate services and consulting services. We help businesses in relocating their offices to the Pioneer Park/Rio Grande communities, we consult with landlords on how to attract new businesses and their employees to the area, and we also consult with landlords on how to best develop/redevelop their properties to maintain a vibrant/bustling community.

I see the Pioneer Park/Rio Grande area growing with additional multifamily projects adding residents to the community. I also see new office and retail developments attracting in-state and out of state employers to the area, with great access to mass transit and Salt Lake City’s Station Center project being the catalyst to growth. Salt Lake City continues to be nationally recognized for a business friendly environment, a great workforce, and amazing outdoor recreation minutes away.

My favorite thing about what I do is how different each day is from the previous. I also love finding solutions for clients, whether that be finding an office space that will allow them to attract or retain top talent, or helping a landlord unlock the potential of their building.

The “why” for doing what I do is to provide for my family, to have a balance between work and family that allows me to watch my kids grow up. I love what I do. I love building lasting relationships. I love helping someone find a space that allows them to grow their business.

I got involved with the Pioneer Park Coalition very early on after volunteering at a family shelter. It was heartbreaking to see a child’s life condensed down to a box not much bigger than a shoe box.
Newmark Grubb ACRES is deeply invested in this community, we are locally owned and operated and have been a staple in Salt Lake City for nearly 20 years.


When we asked Dave for a recent photo, this is what we received. This is also why we love Dave and are glad to have him is a neighbor in our Pioneer Park community!

david kelly with Newmark Grubb Acres in Salt Lake City

Homelessness Data Dashboard | Salt Lake City | Utah

Today we want to focus on bringing your attention to a great new resource for the public in Utah. The Homelessness Data Dashboard is a great new site where everyone can get information about how well we are doing as a state to address homelessness.

We as the Pioneer Park Coalition hope this will lead to more transparency and data-driven decisions.

Homelessness Data Dashboard

The public can access the new Homelessness Data Dashboard by clicking on the link above, which will take you directly to the Department of Workforce Services page.

Here, users will find an easy-to-use console where one can choose different parameters to search for, such as:

veteran status
age group
household type
project type
homeless services provider

As each new parameter is chosen, the report on the dashboard will update, displaying information such as:

The number of people accessing services
Year to Year trends
The number of people exiting the system
Percentile comparisons to the previous period
Overall people in the homelessness database
And more.

As an example, when I accessed the dashboard today, I selected the dates of January 1st, 2017-December 10th, 2017.

Under subpopulation, I selected “Salt Lake” for the COC, “All” for Veteran Status, “All” for Age Group, “Persons in Families” for Household Type.

Under Project & Provider, I selected “All” for Project Type and “The Road Home” for Provider.

Essentially, I wanted to take a snapshot of people in families experiencing homelessness anytime during 2017 who utilized The Road Home.

Here is what the dashboard looks like with those parameters:

Homelessness Data Dashboard for the State of Utah

I liked the way everything was very clear and concise. When I hover over different parts of the report, more information about what exactly I am seeing pops up.

From this report, I can deduce that 3,852 people in my subgroups accessed services from The Road Home in 2017, which is down 1% from the previous period (in my case, January-December 2016). I can also see that 1,928 people in my subgroup exited the system through The Road Home. This is down 34% over the previous period (or year, in our example).

I can quickly deduce from this that about the same number of people in my subgroup accessed services in 2017 as in 2016. However, far less people exited the system then they did in the previous year. I can also see that the majority of those exiting the system ended up in the “other” category…which basically means “we don’t know.” However, 32% ended up in permanent housing, which is always the goal.

We encourage the public to use this tool and hope that as transparency increases, accountability and interest will as well. We would love to hear any of your thoughts on this new system. Feel free to send your comments to us here.


Pioneer Park Improvements | Salt Lake City | Utah | Please Donate

Many of your have heard about the Pioneer Park Coalition’s $300,000 donation to Salt Lake City for Pioneer Park improvements. If you haven’t, you can read more about the money we have committed so far here.

This donation is going directly to this winter’s planned improvements for Pioneer Park, specifically the lighted walkway around a new multi-use sports field.

We are excited and proud that we have been about to accomplish an incredible amount in just three short years. You have helped us create the momentum! But we know that this $300k is just a drop in the bucket. We rely on continued membership and donations to continue to build our vision of a public-private partnership of a park that is the crowned jewel of Salt Lake City.

Pioneer Park Improvements | Salt Lake City | Please Donate

We are modeling our vision for the park off other major cities who have accomplished this. Namely, Bryant Park in New York City and Millennium Park in Chicago. You can read more about our vision in a previous post here.

2017 has been a huge year for our Salt Lake City neighborhood. Think about it. Newspaper headlines dominated by our neighborhood. Elected officials courageously tackling what was previously thought to be a quagmire. Homeless services significantly transforming with the development of three new resource centers and the closure of the downtown shelter. Operation Rio Grande dramatically changing the culture and feel of what has been the city’s most crime-ridden neighborhood. A Medicaid waiver helping thousands of needy Utahns. And major upgrades slated for the park itself this winter.

Again, we are amazed by what we have done in such a short time. We plan to continue our vision in the coming year, working towards a safe, inclusive neighborhood that is inviting to all, 24/7.

Will you please help now by donating to the PPC before year’s end? All donations are fully tax deductible!

Visit our website and donate here.

Thank You, Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays!

Caputo’s Market & Deli | Neighborhood Spotlight | Pioneer Park Coalition

We love our neighborhood. The Pioneer Park area hasn’t always had the best reputation. We have had some rough years. But we fight through them. We are where we are in huge part due to our good neighbors and businesses who decided that the west side of Salt Lake City would be their home and they planted roots. None as much as Caputo’s Market and Deli located directly north of Pioneer Park.

Caputo's Market and Deli

Caputo’s Market & Deli

When Tony Caputo opened his market and deli in 1997, he says he never considered any other area. The Pioneer Park neighborhood was the perfect location. According to a June Deseret News article,

“We never thought of going anywhere else,” says Tony. “We liked downtown; we liked this part of downtown. You go to big cities, go to the Italian section, they’re always in crummy neighborhoods.”

Caputo’s has been a neighborhood staple ever since, staying solid as new businesses and housing projects grew around him. Three years ago, Tony retired, leaving the business to his son Matt and daughter-in-law Yelena. Matt and Yelena have continued the love and care for the Pioneer Park neighborhood, being active members and supporters of the Pioneer Park Coalition as we work toward our goal of making the Pioneer Park neighborhood inviting for all 24/7.Tony Caputo and family

PC: Deseret News

Caputo’s Offerings

Caputo’s Market and Deli offers a delicious smorgasbord of gourmet food. They offer only the best in cheese, chocolates, and deli meats. From the amazing sandwiches to mouth-watering Cheese Cave, everything is top shelf. But the atmosphere is far from pretentious. Whether you walk in in paint-covered jeans and an old ratty hoodie to a business suit, you fit right in. The market is loud, festive, and is a gathering place for friends, colleagues, and family. Even though he retired, Tony can often be found behind the counter or sitting at a table chatting with customers.

Caputo's Market and Deli cheese cave

Caputo’s also offers many classes for the community. Everything from cheese tasting to chocolate making. Check out a list of their upcoming classes here.

We are so fortunate to have Caputo’s Market and Deli in our neighborhood as a steady cornerstone. It’s so much more than a deli…it shows us every day what our goals for Salt Lake’s west side are and why we are working for our goals. We want to give a huge shoutout to Caputo’s also for their continued activity and support of the Pioneer Park Coaltion.

Gateway Bridal & Prom | Pioneer Park | Neighborhood Spotlight

We are fortunate to have some amazing neighbors here in the Pioneer Park neighborhood. Both residents and businesses alike make our vision for our area come alive. Today we would like to focus on Gateway Bridal & Prom, home of the LatterDayBride collection, located at 360 West Broadway, Suite #101, on the north side of Pioneer Park. Gateway Bridal is owned and operated by our own Pioneer Park Coalition board member, Nicole Thomas.

Nicole Thomas, owner of Gateway Bridal in the Rio Grande area of Salt Lake City

Nicole started Gateway Bridal more than 16 years ago. The original storefront was located at the south end of the Gateway Mall, almost directly across from the current Road Home homeless shelter. The years leading up to the move to the current location were difficult…it was hard for Nicole and her staff to see the area deteriorating as the Rio Grande neighborhood became more a drug haven than a place for customers to come buy wedding dresses. They had seen sex acts performed outside their office window, had addicts use their bathroom to shoot up, showed up to work to find someone had defecated in front of the door, and on a few occasions, people were even found dead in their parking lot, either from violence or drug overdoses. Pre Operation Rio Grande, Nicole felt she had no choice but to move her store, for the safety of herself, her customers, and her staff. You can read more from Nicole in her op-ed here.

Gateway Bridal located in the Rio Grande and Pioneer Park neighborhood of Salt Lake City

Nicole has been a longtime member and now a board member of the Pioneer Park Coalition. She knew when she moved she didn’t want to give up on our neighborhood, which is why she chose to move Gateway Bridal just down the street to it’s current location across from Pioneer Park. While many retailers moved out of the area completely, opting for the shiny new City Creek Center, Nicole knew Gateway’s home was on Salt Lake’s west side. While the problems that plagued the store back in the old location aren’t completely gone, they are few and far between, thanks in large part to the efforts of Operation Rio Grande.  

Now, for the fun part. Gateway Bridal and Prom is Utah’s premier bridal and prom destination. Their customer service is unparalleled and the selection is huge.

The gorgeous new showroom is like something straight out of a fairytale, and is every bride-to-be or high school girl’s dream come true.

From the individual bridal consultation areas with 360 degree views to the fun shared prom area where you can oooh and aaaah with your girlfriends, Gateway’s showroom is candy for the eyes.

Gateway Bridal is also home to the LatterDayBride collection, boasting the largest selection of modest wedding and prom dresses in the world! They also carry the largest selection of plus size wedding dress samples in the state, because they know not every bride is a Barbie doll and want every bride to be able to try on their dream dress before they buy. So from strapless to modest, size 0-32, you can bet you can find a bridal gown or prom dress for every taste AND every budget, with many wedding dresses coming in under $600!

We are so pleased to have Gateway Bridal & Prom in our neighborhood, as well as the leadership and service Nicole provides to our area and to the Pioneer Park Coalition as a volunteer.

Gateway Bridal

We hope you will come visit Gateway Bridal for your wedding and prom dress needs and check out their beautiful new show room and wide selection!

PC: AK Studio & Design

Operation Rio Grande Update | November 2 | Medicaid Waiver | ID Cards

The Pioneer Park Coalition received the following email today from Utah Dept. of Workforce Services. To receive your own Operation Rio Grande updates, click the link at the bottom of the email.

Operation Rio Grande Update | Medicaid Waiver | ID Cards

Two significant events have occurred since the last update. First, the Medicaid waiver was approved for the state of Utah. Second, the safe space began requiring the coordinated service card for access into the area. Both of these developments are significant components of phases one and two of the operation. A lot of work from several partners made each of these achievements take place.

For more details, view the updates below:

Medicaid Waiver

On Wednesday, Nov. 1, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced its approval of Utah’s Medicaid waiver. This announcement is critical to phase two of Operation Rio Grande in order for more treatment centers to begin offering services for Medicaid members. For more information, click here. For the Department of Health’s Frequently Asked Questions document, click here.

Medicaid Waivers for Utah

Media Coverage:

The Salt Lake Tribune

Deseret News

Fox 13



Safe Space Courtyard

On Friday, Oct. 27, the Safe Space Courtyard began requiring the coordinated services card for access into the area. With fencing up, card stations ready to go, tent and tables installed, and staffing ready, the space began operations. So far, 1,475 coordinated services cards have been distributed with 192 of them being reissued cards.

Department of Workforce Services has coordinated closely with The Road Home and Catholic Community Services on card access points. With the opening of the Safe Space Courtyard, Workforce Services’ staff have made the point to listen to individuals receiving cards, find out concerns and make accommodations when appropriate.

ID Card checkpoint at Safe Space on Rio Grande Rio Grand Safe Space Rio Grand Safe Space in Salt Lake
Media coverage:


Law Enforcement
  • Department of Public Safety (DPS) continues to do outreach to people who live in the Rio Grande area and to neighboring communities. Three meetings have been conducted to answer questions, discuss any concerns and collect input. These meetings are going a long way with better relationships between law enforcement those utilizing services in the area. For a complete DPS update, click here.
  • Make sure to watch the DPS video about safer access to services. Click below:

Additional Updates

  • The next assessment day at the Salt Lake County Jail is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 9 for the purpose of identifying candidates for drug court. So far, more than 80 assessments have been completed with over 400 individuals screened. The retention rate for individuals who have successfully gone before the drug court is at 80 percent.
  • Cleanup efforts of encampments along the Jordan River Parkway and other known locations has resulted in more than 200 tons of garbage being removed. This week is the final week of clean up before the winter season. However, the team is currently working on a winter action plan.
  • Salt Lake County Health Department would like to thank all the volunteers and specifically the Utah Department of Corrections and the Utah Department of Transportation. Both played a vital role in the cleanup process.
  • Jordan River Parkway Cleanup

Click here to subscribe to our email list.

Copyright © 2017 Utah Department of Workforce Services, All rights reserved.
The purpose of the email newsletter is to help you stay informed
on activities related to Operation Rio Grande.

Our mailing address is:

Utah Department of Workforce Services

A New Vision for Pioneer Park | Family Friendly and Inviting to All 24/7

We have examples to follow as we recreate Pioneer Park.

On any given day, visitors and residents of New York City can visit the Bryant Park website and be overwhelmed with the sheer amount and variety of activities going on in the park that day (and night).

A New Vision for Pioneer Park

Frozen fountain in beautiful Bryant Park in NYC

As I sit down to write this blog post, for example, I could hit up Joe Coffee Company for my morning brew or select from a number of other food kiosks.  I could take my kids down at 11 a.m. for Bryant Park Games where we can play board games as a family. After our epic Monopoly match we can head over to the ice skating rink for opening day at noon, grabbing a bite to eat at Breads Bakery on the way. After skating, we can have a battle for the ages at the Ping Pong tournament or visit the Art Cart to utilize the free drawing and craft supplies and take advantage of free art instruction. Ice skating at Bryant Park in NYC provides example to SLC Pioneer Park

I could go on. But this just gives you a taste of a vision. The vision we have for our own Pioneer Park in Salt Lake City.

Movie in the park at Bryant Park in NYC

Bryant Park in New York City isn’t the first to embrace the concept of a publicly owned yet privately run park. And they certainly won’t be the last. But what they do have is a history. Looking at Bryant Park 20 years ago, you would have found a haven for drug dealers and a public bathroom for the homeless. The fountains long dried up and covered in graffiti. If you have visited SLC’s Pioneer Park in the last decade, this may sound familiar.Vision for Pioneer Park in Salt Lake City with Bryant Park example

So what changed? How did Bryant Park go from being a seedy NYC armpit to New York City’s beloved Town Square? It started with a vision. A public-private partnership between elected officials, NYC Parks and Recreation, and local businesses. It started with a commitment; and a group of people saying “This is OUR neighborhood. Let’s take it back.”Bryant Park is an example for Pioneer Park in Utah

This is how we know it can be done. Other examples include Millennium Park in Chicago and Civic Center Park in our neighboring Denver. These cities faced many of the same challenges we now face and they figured it out. They united as a city and rose above it, creating beautiful, thriving parks that are cultural activity centers.

Pioneer Park is uniquely located and positioned to be just as successful as these examples. And we are well on our way. A small taste of the large scale dream we have in mind include the Downtown Farmer’s Market and Twilight Concert Series, both which have found a home in the park and are run by private entities.

Are you ready to join us? Maybe someday soon you can wake up on a Saturday morning and visit the Pioneer Park website to plan out the day with YOUR family.

Contact us to get involved. We would love to have you be a part of the vision!

Good Neighbor Awards 2017 | Bryson Garbett | REALTOR® Magazine

REALTOR® Magazine 2017 Good Neighbor Awards | Bryson Garbett

REALTOR® magazine has completed it’s 18th annual REALTOR® magazine Good Neighbor Awards. The Pioneer Park Coalition is proud to announce that our Chairman, Bryson Garbett, is one of the five winners of this prestigious award!

The National Association of REALTORS®’ annual program recognizes REALTORS® who’ve made an extraordinary commitment to their communities through volunteer work.

Five winners will be announced in the November/December issue of REALTOR® magazine and at the 2017 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Chicago. The winners receive a $10,000 grant for their community cause, national publicity, travel expenses to the convention, and a crystal trophy.

“REALTORS® have a unique approach with their charitable giving,” says Stacey Moncrieff, REALTOR® Magazine Vice President of Business-to-Business Communications. “REALTORS® strive to empower people, families and neighborhoods to grow and achieve their highest potential.”

Bryson Garbett tells the story of how his charitable foundation, Escalera, was founded. In 1997, his family was set to take a family vacation. The planned trip was the one kids all over dream about: Disney World. At the same time, Bryson’s wife Jan had heard about opportunities for families to travel abroad to volunteer in third world countries and work together to help local residents in need of basic services. The Garbetts put the decision to their children. The questions? “Should we go to Disney World? Or go volunteer in Mexico?” The decision was unanimous. The kids chose Mexico and it was a trip that would change the course of their lives.

Watch this video to see how the rest of the story unfolded.

Escalara’s vision from their website is,

“We envision a world where everyone has access to a quality education, is aware of this opportunity, and has the resources to take advantage of it. Our work is grounded in the knowledge that an education gives people choices and leads the way to a better and healthier life. Educated moms and dads raise educated sons and daughters. It’s a cycle. The world still has problems, but billions of former students are tackling them.”

We are grateful to have Bryson Garbett as our Chairman and want to congratulate him on this award. He is truly a good neighbor in every sense of the word.