Sandy City Mayor Tom Dolan met his wife, Linda, when he came from Maryland to play football for Brigham Young University. Ask him if it was, Love at first sight?”, and you’ll get a great spirited laugh from Mayor Dolan who says, “You ask Linda that; she loves to say, “’Oh, for Tom it was!’”
It was the same way for Mayor Dolan with the city he has served since taking office in 1994, and holds the place in city history as being the first mayor ever re-elected. “I love my community and I love the people of Sandy.”
Caras – “How exactly did you and Linda meet and start dating at BYU?”
Mayor Dolan – “It’s one of those typical stories of her roommate was dating my roommate and they lined us up. Linda and I just celebrated 51 years of marriage.”
Caras – “You’ve said it’s the love of serving Sandy City that sees you in the leadership of a community of 98,000 and towering cranes in an unprecedented building boom in Sandy.”
Mayor Dolan – “I really never thought I’d get re-elected. Figured I’d serve my four years and move on, but that wasn’t the way it was to be. And what I have here is the love of a community where I can lose myself in service of my city.
That’s really what politics is about – giving service – finding yourself lost in service. So that someday you can be sure the children who grow up here can look back and know and proudly say they grew up in a great place.”
Caras – “What is it in your opinion that makes a city, town or community, a great place?”
Mayor Dolan – “What makes a great community are the people. It’s the people who give a community an advantage, which is what we have here in Sandy. We are seeing younger families in Sandy again, we have an average of 3.7 per household that shows growth – we are seeing kids again and we want that to be a long term thing in Sandy.”
Caras – “Driving along I-15 it appears Sandy has a monopoly on all of the cranes in the Salt Lake Valley. It appears as if The Cairns project for an urban city center is well on its way?”
Mayor Dolan – “We set a goal and created a plan many years ago for Sandy City to become a full service community. Five years ago Sandy did its 30 year master plan. With development of The Cairns and its home to Mountain America Credit Union, the Hale Centre Theatre, South Town Mall’s remodel – we realized things were moving much faster than that 30 year plan; so we revised it and moved it up to a 25 year plan.”
Caras – “Sandy and its Amphitheater have become well known for bringing in some of the top entertainment in the country, as well as playing host to some outstanding community theater. And with the full opening of the Hale Centre Theatre, Sandy City is taking a place as one of Utah’s arts communities.”
Mayor Dolan – “Beginning with the Amphitheater we realized as a city we wanted to make a commitment to the arts. With the Amphitheater we had a beautiful and perfect location. I love going there and seeing the community of it.
You see families on the hillside laughing and enjoying being together. You see neighbors meeting neighbors for the performance and they are talking and enjoying each other’s company – they ‘see’ each other, and that creates long term success for a city.”
Caras – “With the recent remodel of a middle school in Sandy the city made a unique move there?”
With a tinge of excitement and pride in his voice, Mayor Dolan – “Yes, in fact we did. With the remodel of Mt. Jordan Middle School we voted to put 1 ½ million dollars into the remodel of the theater.
That was done with an agreement with the school district for the community to have a shared use of the theater. This gives Sandy and the school a modern 600 seat theater – sound, lights it’s complete—perfect for the city’s symphony and they’re getting ready now for the first show – The Adam’s Family”
Caras – “Do you think Sandy’s showing of commitment to the arts helped bring the new Hale Centre Theatre to The Cairns city center?”
Mayor Dolan – “Having places for good family oriented entertainment is key to a community’s long term economic base by helping attract retail, housing, and office space; and in turn that brings sales tax and the fees that are the lifeblood of a community.”
Caras – “How is it that Sandy seems to have the ‘perfect’ spots for these places wanting a place to locate or relocate?”
Mayor Dolan – “Our location along I-15 is perfect and we’ve bought parcels of land along it in key spots for the community. That is all part of that master plan we’ve put together and that way we can go after the type of development that is going to create jobs in our community and give families a reason, and chance to stay here.
The pieces of the puzzle fall into place that way. And this spring when the new I-15 interchange at 106 South opens its going to be an amazing area to do business or visit”
Caras – “Ok. So I have to ask because it’s even a part of your campaign logo – the mustache. There has to be a story or something behind the mustache?”
The laughter is fun to listen to as Mayor Dolan tells the story of the mustache.
Mayor Dolan – “So in 1970 my wife and I went on a date and saw the movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” I was clean shaven up to then, but Robert Redford had the mustache so I thought I’d give it a try and grow one!”
Laughing even harder, Mayor Dolan – “Can’t you see the resemblance? And now after all these years my wife doesn’t want me to get rid of it.”
Growing up in Maryland, Mayor Dolan shares that in that environment near Washington, D.C. he was surrounded by politics, especially with the D.C. and Baltimore area at that time being about the same size as the population of the Salt Lake Valley.
Mayor Dolan – “Politics was just a big part of your life. My dad was a firefighter and mom was a nurse who was elected to be part of leading a couple of the nursing associations.”
Caras – “So you still have family back there.”
Mayor Dolan – “My sister is there and a lot of nieces and nephews. And a brother-in-law who is always asking how things are going in Iowa.”
By Clark H. Caras