Court ruling allows city to evict craft house that provides services for veterans

Court ruling allows city to evict craft house that provides services for veterans (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) A non-profit organization that's been a fixture in the city of South Salt Lake for nearly 70 years, now faces eviction after a three-year court battle over the lease agreement comes to an end between the Pioneer Craft House and the city.

The craft services organization is located at 500 East and 3300 South across the street from the former Granite High School building and offers the pubic a variety of craft classes in pottery, jewelry and flute making.

The court ruling now allows the city to come in and evict the organization at any time.

"The city could walk in tomorrow and say 'time to leave' and we'd have three days to move,” said Jeff Hatch the board chair of the Pioneer Craft House. “We either have a new arrangement with the city or we pack our bags and try to find someplace else we can work.”

Right now about 370 students use the facility for weekly classes, but the biggest blow is to the dozens of military veterans who use the services to help them deal with health issues or post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.

"This has pretty much saved my life,” said veteran Michelle Kelley, 49, who suffers from PTSD. "It takes everything I got just to walk out the door every day."

“This is has given me a life,” said Mike Ferrin, 63, a veteran who deals with a variety of health issues. “This is definitely therapy. These are my friends. This is my family.”

The Pioneer Craft House, which leases the space at the Historic Scott School for one dollar a year, has been at the location for 66 years. It used to be owned by the Granite School District.

In 2007 South Salt Lake bought the Scott School campus and three years ago it gave the craft school an eviction notice. The case went to court and just this week a federal judge ruled in favor of South Salt Lake.

The city released a statement through its attorney, Kathryn Steffey. It said:

Although the City is committed to using the historic school for the promotion of arts programming, the City Council has not yet determined how to proceed with the future use of the building at this time.

The next city council meeting is set for Wednesday Sept. 21, but it’s unclear if the city council will be discussing the issue.

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