City officials plan to unveil gathering place next to new performing arts center
Jan 29, 2019 05:07PM
● By Carl Fauver
With ground now broken on the new performing arts center southeast of Taylorsville City Hall, the race is on to also complete work on this acreage, southwest of the city building, so both sides can open together late next year. (Carl Fauver/City Journals)
By Carl Fauver | [email protected]
Now that ground has been broken on the new $45 million Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center southeast of Taylorsville City Hall, changes will be coming fast and furious to all the open acreage between the city building and 5400 South. After sitting empty for about a decade, the entire area will undergo a radical facelift over the next 20 months.
“Now that work is underway on the new arts center, we want to also make improvements to the area west of the new center, so that both sides can open at the same time late next year,” said Taylorsville Mayor Kristie Overson. “We want to make this a wonderful gathering place for residents to see a show in the arts center and to enjoy other things on the other side (of Centennial Way, the road leading to city hall from 5400 South).”
Clearly the plans for the open acreage to the west are not as ambitious as a multi-million-dollar state-of-the-art performance hall, which means whatever ends up being built on that side will not take as long to construct.
“We want to create a synergetic relationship between all three areas — city hall, the new arts center and the open area to the southwest — so people feel it all ties together and is aesthetically pleasing,” said Community Development Director Mark McGrath. “We have had a master plan for this complex for many years. But now it needs updating.”
The first step in that process is already underway, as city officials have received six bids from consulting and design firms.
“Staff will meet and discuss their qualifications and make a recommendation to the mayor,” McGrath said. “We want to see construction and landscaping recommendations that will tie the entire area together.”
Funding for the consultants and the work to follow is coming from two primary sources.
“The city set aside about $1.2 million several years ago when we sold the southwest corner of the property to the developers of the St. Mark’s Taylorsville Emergency Center,” said City Councilman Brad Christopherson. “That money has always been set aside for developing this acreage, and now is the time to use it.”
Mayor Overson said a similar chunk of money came courtesy of the Salt Lake County Tourism, Recreation, Cultural & Convention (TRCC) Advisory Board.
“We requested about $1.4 million in grant funding from the TRCC board, which was approved as the county was going through its budgeting process last December,” Overson said. “We want to make this area outside the performing arts center shine and make this a wonderful gathering place. The TRCC funding will help make that possible.”
With design consultants coming on board soon, the next question is this: What will the open acreage contain?
“We believe there is space in the area for one or two restaurants, although no decision has been made yet to include those,” McGrath said. “It will be up to the designers to lay it out, and then we will have to see whether there are restaurant operators interested in locating there.”
“There’s been talk of a nice restaurant — to capitalize on the arts center audiences — along with more of a faster-serve place,” Christopherson said. “But we need to study daytime populations to see whether that is feasible. If we do this right, that area (west of the arts center) will be a great community gathering place. That is the goal, to create a sense of completeness. So, now we just have to figure out the best way to do that.”
The open acreage is also expected to include pieces of art and an amphitheater area suitable for events such summer outdoor movies, which were revived last season. The food truck Saturday nights launched last year are also expected to find a home in the new configuration.
“As for the area farthest south — up against 5400 South — we want to create some kind of grand entrance into the city complex, with signage and possibly a short wall or water features,” McGrath concluded. “Again, at this point we need to get the consultants on board and start looking at options.”
But it appears the one thing that is not optional in the midst of all these discussions is the completion date for the westside acreage.
“I have been hearing for years that the city needs to take care of this dirt in front of city hall,” Overson said. “So, I can promise you, when that new arts center opens (expected in December 2020), it will not open next to raw dirt.”