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The City Journals

Improvement plans for acreage west of the new Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center still being finalized

May 28, 2019 03:42PM ● By Carl Fauver

The manmade mountain on the left isn’t quite as tall as the snowcapped peaks behind it, but it is continuing to grow as construction continues on the Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center. (Carl Fauver/City Journals)

By Carl Fauver | [email protected]

“It was the best of times … It was the worst of times ….”

Or, in this case — south of Taylorsville City Hall on two large patches of land — it’s the busiest of times. And still the slowest of times.

The tortoise versus the hare — destined to finish in a tie, about a year and a half from now.

“The only timeline we have for finishing work on the acreage west of the new Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center is that we are going to cut the ribbon on both sides together in late 2020,” said Taylorsville Mayor Kristie Overson. “But, to be honest, I’m not sure when the work will have to begin in order to meet that goal.”

On the acreage closer to the belt route to the east, a groundbreaking ceremony was held just before Christmas, and the site has since displayed a steady parade of large, heavy equipment and hard-hatted workers. 

Hundreds of those construction workers are expected to fight the clock to the bitter end to complete Salt Lake County’s new performing arts center by the end of next year. But that’s a $40 million project.

The cost of putting in landscaping, possibly some type of water feature, perhaps a more formal entryway near 5400 South and other proposed improvements on the acreage to the west is expected to be more in the neighborhood of $3 million. And fewer dollars mean a shorter construction time.

“People probably won’t see much work on the acreage west of the new performing arts center until the end of this year, or maybe early in 2020,” said Taylorsville Community Development Director Mark McGrath. “We are now completing negotiations with the design firm we have selected to lay out all of the plans.”

McGrath headed up the team of city employees and contract engineers that chose Sandy-based blu line design to transform their vision onto paper. 

“[blu line] designed the plaza area outside the new Hale Centre Theatre and another attractive plaza in Park City,” McGrath said. “We were really impressed with their design flair that does not seem overly modern. They have an interesting use of traditional materials that we think will blend the more modern look of the new theater with the more traditional look of city hall.”

Taylorsville has $1.5 million earmarked for the project, squirreled away years ago from the sale of a portion of that same land parcel on the northeast corner of 5400 South 2700 West. That area is now occupied by the St. Mark’s Hospital Taylorsville Emergency Center.

City leaders also anticipate receiving a matching amount from Salt Lake County to raise the total budget to $3 million.

“The county has not yet officially approved the $1.5 million in matching funds, but we are confident they will sometime later this year,” City Administrator John Taylor said. “Just like us, they want the area around their new performing arts center to be attractive. So, we are proceeding (through the planning process) as though we have a $3 million budget.”

At this point, it appears one thing the acreage will not include is a restaurant, after as many as two eateries had been previously discussed.

“No restaurants are in the picture at the moment,” Overson said. “The types of restaurants we would want for that space have not expressed an interest. I think we want this to instead be a gathering space where food trucks can park in the summer, where we could have a farmers’ market. I envision a lovely green place where residents can enjoy one another.”

One person who hopes to see a little restraint in the project is Taylorsville City Council Chairman Dan Armstrong.

“I hate to see us get too carried away because, the problem is, 5400 South is a very busy and loud road,” Armstrong said. “I do a lot of walking, and I know whenever I get near 4700 South or 5400 South it is very loud. I also would not want to see something like a splashpad for kids because, again, 54th is just so busy.”

The city council still has several months to review design concepts and come to an agreement. So far, council members have all agreed it will be nice to finally see a completed city center, first envisioned well over a decade ago.