Syracuse, Utah was a great place to grow up, but like any town, it has flaws. In my 13 years living there, I have experienced some of the city’s problems firsthand. From tractors to construction to high housing costs, this quaint suburb has its downsides.
Here are 17 reasons–straight from locals–why moving to Syracuse, Utah is a bad idea.
Syracuse has a lot of farmland. It makes for some beautiful scenery! However, it also means there is a lot of farm equipment. Every once in a while, you will get stuck behind a tractor on the road. They are very obnoxious to drive behind because most tractors only have a max speed of 25 mph (source). It only happens every few months, but always seems to be when it is the most inconvenient for you.
16. Crummy Internet
Syracuse only has 2 Broadband internet providers: Comcast and Centurylink. Centurylink’s service is poor and isn’t much competition. Because of this lack of competition, internet companies can charge high prices for low-quality internet and the customer service is dismal.
15. Bike Races
No, I don’t mean motorcycle races. I mean dozens of people riding bicycles on the side of the road. Though the bikers pedal their hardest, they are not faster than cars. Bike races are held a few times a year on Antelope Drive, the main road in Syracuse. They slow traffic, stress out new drivers, and are a general pain.
There used to be a nice bike trail through the town, but much of that trail was torn up to make way for the Legacy Parkway. This means that there are more and more people taking their daily rides on the side of busy streets. I have spent several mornings sitting behind a biker, waiting for enough of a gap in the oncoming traffic to pass them.
14. Feuding Groups
Syracuse is growing, and there are two groups that have vastly different opinions about this. One group believes that this growth is good for the economy and for the city. The other group wants everything to stay the same; they want more space and fewer people. There have been a lot of debates for and against high-density housing. City officials seem to go back and forth on the issue, and it has not been resolved for years.
13. High LDS Population
Like many other cities in Utah, most of the population of Syracuse are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. If you are a member, the wards are large and most of your neighbors will probably be members. I knew almost everyone in my neighborhood because we all went to church together. All of my friends in school were members because the kid you sat next to at lunch was statistically more likely to be a member than not. If you are not a member, prepare to be the odd one out.
The members are, in general, nice and respectful. However, nonmembers can often feel alienated. Nonmembers can also expect a decent amount of attention from members and be on the receiving end of some member-missionary work. Depending on your neighborhood, you might be invited to Church events that you don’t really want to go to. Many members are very interested in convincing nonmembers to come to church and can be almost aggressively persistent about it. If you are a nonmember who doesn’t want to receive visits, invitations, and homemade treats from members, I suggest you move elsewhere.
12. Commute to the Freeway (And Everything Else)
The I-15 highway is how a lot of Utahans get around. I take the freeway to visit home. However, Syracuse is an obnoxious distance away from it. On a good day, it takes about 15 minutes to get to it. That is fifteen minutes through streets with low speed limits and lots of stoplights. When the traffic is heavy, the drive to it can seem endless. In fact, most everything is a decent drive away from Syracuse. A lot of my neighbors had long commutes to work every day because, though Syracuse is not in the middle of nowhere, I would say it is on the outskirts of civilization.
11. Lack of Public Transportation
I used to take a city bus home from school every day. It usually took about 45 minutes to get to a stop I could drive to in 10 minutes. That stop was 2 miles away from my house. None of the bus routes went any closer to that area, which had several major neighborhoods. The transit system is a pain everywhere, but in Syracuse, it is truly ridiculous and time-consuming. The Front Runner, which is a train that runs through much of the Salt Lake area, has an unreliable schedule and infrequent stops.
10. Smell the Great Salt Lake
Syracuse is a 20-minute drive away from the Great Salt Lake (source). It is a great area for camping and day trips. However, the lake is very stinky. Organic material and gases are trapped at the bottom of the lake. The gases from these decaying organisms bubble up and are released, causing a rotten-egg smell (source).
There are days in Syracuse when you can very clearly smell the lake. I can tell you, with certainty, that it does not smell good. You can mostly smell it in the spring and summer, usually about 3 or 4 times a year. The scent of the gases from decaying plants and animals that reside in a watery, salty grave can ruin an otherwise relaxing summer afternoon.
I’ve visited Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake a few times, and the thing I most remember is having to constantly swat away bugs. They are EVERYWHERE! On one camping trip, I remember being followed around by a large and persistent fly. To have kept the bugs away, I think we would have had to be consistently spraying bug spray.
Because of its proximity to the Great Salt Lake, Syracuse is plagued by almost as many bugs, particularly mosquitoes. The city sprays repellent every year when it gets bad, but it does not help. My friends and I would often run around outside in the late evening, and we would end up covered in mosquito bites. I would end up with four or five on my legs alone, and that wasn’t even close to as bad as it got. If you move to Syracuse, be prepared to be dinner for a lot of blood-sucking insects.
8. Closest Airport is Small
The nearest airport to Syracuse is the Salt Lake Airport, about 30-45 minutes away (source). As airports go, it is small and does not have a wide variety of flight options, especially internationally. There are only two terminals, one of which was built within the past two years. If you love to travel, get ready for limited flight and airline options, long lines, and small, crowded airplanes.
7. Mediocre Restaurant Choices
Syracuse is mostly neighborhoods. The areas of town with businesses are small and not very full. Syracuse does not have a wide array of restaurants to choose from. Most of the restaurants are part of chains, and the locations are small. When my family went out to eat, we would often have to go to Layton, the next town over, to eat somewhere we could all enjoy. All of the best places to eat are at least a 15-minute drive away.
The restaurant locations are also very small, which means that, during mealtimes, they are very crowded. The fast food is not fast, and the sit-down restaurants are impossible to get a table at. You have to either eat lunch at some weird times or wait endlessly for your food.
6. No Nearby Warehouse Club Stores
Syracuse has a few supercenters, such as Walmart and Smith’s. Unfortunately, if you are looking to shop at a Warehouse Club Store like Costco or Sam’s Club, you are going to have to drive a long way. The nearest Costco location is in Ogden, about 20 minutes away (source). The nearest Sam’s Club is in Layton, like all the other interesting things nearby (source). My family had to meticulously plan out our trips to Costco, because if we forgot to get something, we had to go all the way back.
5. Growing Quickly
With a new LDS temple and the Legacy Parkway, Syracuse is getting a lot of newcomers. This is great for the economy, but it also means the city is getting more crowded. More and more people are packing into the town. There is also a lot of house construction. If you move into a neighborhood with a lot of vacant lots, be prepared for a lot of houses to be built relatively soon. That means a lot of noisy construction, trucks blocking narrow streets, and dirt coating everything nearby. If you appreciate a lot of space and want views with no buildings, I would choose somewhere else to live.
4. Construction of Legacy Parkway
The Legacy Parkway is being extended to pass through Syracuse. In a few years, when it is finished, it will be very convenient. As I said before, the freeway is far away from Syracuse, so having one running right through the town will be very helpful. Residents have been looking forward to its completion for years.
Right now, it is a mess of construction, closed down streets, and demolished houses. In the past year, Antelope Drive (the main street used to get around) has closed down twice in areas between several neighborhoods and the rest of the city (businesses, freeway, etc.), forcing residents to take alternate routes to work and school. There are orange cones and blocked lanes all over the city, making traffic a nightmare.
3. Rising Housing Prices
Legacy Parkway, the significant growth, and the LDS temple have all come together to inadvertently raise the housing prices in Syracuse. It is getting more and more expensive to live there. The housing market is bad all over Utah, but Syracuse in particular is suffering. My parents’ house is worth twice as much now as it cost to build it. Now is not the time to be buying a house in Syracuse.
2. Bad Air in the Winter
Utah has a big problem with pollution. The smog gets really bad in the winter. In elementary school, there were always a few “red air” days every winter that meant we had to have recess inside because the air was too bad. There were even more days when everyone could go outside but the kids suffering from asthma.
The pollution is so bad because of winter weather inversion. This is when hot air traps a layer of cold air beneath it, also trapping the pollutants (source). This leads to high concentrations of pollutants that are also closer to the earth’s surface. That and the greenhouse gas emissions from cars and manufacturing result in some horrible air. Pollution causes significant health problems and can result in death (source). Living in Syracuse could literally kill you!
1. Issues with Racism in Schools
Davis County School District has been in the news a lot lately for quite a few race related problems. Syracuse does not have a very diverse population, so racial representation is low. There have been reports of bullying in schools, and the administration in schools are not doing as much as they can (source).
There have even been teachers and other school staff members that have been discriminating against students based on race. One of the most well-known cases is when a Davis County bus driver, John Naisbitt, was accused of closing the doors on a biracial child’s backpack and dragging him alongside the bus (source). These situations have only recently come to light, and Davis County School District is not doing as much as it should stop the discrimination. As a native of Syracuse, I know it is not a very inclusive or diverse place to live.
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