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Taylorsville Journal

Taylorsville City officials briefed on plans and designs for the new Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center

Apr 10, 2018 04:29PM ● By Carl Fauver

Members of the Taylorsville City Council and Planning Commission have finally gotten their first look at artist renderings of the planned Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center to be built near City Hall. (Carl Fauver/City Journals)

Nearly a year-and-a-half after plans to construct a new $39 million Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center were announced, backhoes, cement trucks and people in hard hats are still nowhere to be seen. But designers of the facility — to be built southeast of Taylorsville City Hall (2600 West 5400 South) — insist they remain on schedule, with singing and dancing, to commence sometime in 2020.

“We’ve been talking about construction of this center for about 10 years now,” Salt Lake County Cultural Planning and Project Director Phil Jordan said. “Now we just want to be sure we get it right.”

Last fall, design team members hosted representatives from the various arts groups expected to make use of the center for a public meeting, to solicit input. With that, they went back to their drawing boards, literally, to craft a design they believe is both attractive and functional.

In late February — a few months after the brainstorming meeting — members of the art center design team presented drawings and answered questions at a joint gathering of the Taylorsville City Council and the city’s planning commission.

“Thank you for showing us things — and using artistic words to describe them — to get us excited about the project,” Planning Commission Chairwoman Lynette Wendel said. 

 “This was exactly what the council and planning commission needed to see,” said Taylorsville Mayor Kristie Overson. She and other city representatives have been meeting regularly for months with Salt Lake County officials and professional designers to work through plan details.

Those sessions led to the February meeting, where designers unveiled drawings of the center and answered questions. One of the biggest issues raised was whether parking will be adequate.

“We plan to add about 180 parking stalls east of city hall, where about 100 already exist,” said design team member Todd Kelsey, a vice president with Method Studio of Salt Lake. “Studies show, about 2.7 people are in each car that parks at events like those the arts center will host. So, we believe parking will be adequate, even if multiple events are taking place at the same time.”

 This project holds special significance for Kelsey.

“I grew up in a home just a few blocks from where the arts center will be built and attended Taylorsville High School,” he said. “This is the type of project you love to do—near your old home, working with friends and neighbors. I’m very excited about it.”

 After questions were answered about the arts center design, Taylorsville Community Development Director Mark McGrath appeared before the council and planning commission to describe the work being done to tie the new structure and city hall together — with landscaping and other structural amenities — to reimagine the city center master plan.

“We might integrate a water feature — possibly a short waterfall — at the gateway entrance, near 5400 South,” McGrath said. “We’re also looking at creating a ‘movies in the park’ kind of setting, where people can gather in the summer. And we are now reviewing what types of restaurants might fit well into the area. Different types of public art are also being discussed. Our priority is to tie it all together in a cohesive, attractive way.”

Planners believe a 65-foot-by-80-foot restaurant would fit well into the area. But McGrath said the challenge with that will be that the building will have “no back side.”

“This restaurant would be seen and walked around from every side,” McGrath said. “So, it will take some design work to make it attractive from 360 degrees. There won’t be a side for a garbage dumpster, for one thing.”

As part of the city center development, McGrath also encouraged decision makers to try to find the funding necessary to bury utility wires, now seen overhead along 5400 South.

City Councilman Ernest Burgess is impressed with what he heard.

“It’s going to be a fabulous building and site,” he said. “It’s been well thought out. The design team has looked at many similar buildings and has incorporated some of the best things from many of them. I’m excited.”

As for a timeline, Method Studio Principal Architect Joe Smith said it will still be a few more months before crews break ground.

“We will complete the design by mid-April,” he said. “But it will take another month to complete the request for proposal and a month after that to gather and review bids. So, it will probably be late fall before work begins.”

But Smith also added that once the equipment and hard-hatted workers do arrive on site, they’ll be able to build through the winter.

“We’ve promised from the beginning the new Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center will open in 2020, and we’re still on schedule for that to happen,” he said.

The Taylorsville arts community continues to count the days.

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