LEHI — An NFL stadium at Point of the Mountain? How about a Disneyland-style amusement park?
Those are a couple of the more far-fetched ideas Utahns shared Monday with Envision Utah, the group the state hired to figure out how to develop some 20,000 acres of land between Sandy and Lehi, including the soon-to-be-vacated state prison site.
About 150 government and business leaders and residents with a vested interest in what happens to the area huddled around tables in a mass brainstorming session at Adobe, one of the companies that helped launch the building boom at the Salt Lake County-Utah County line. They were to not only come up with big ideas but also outline some of the challenges the future will bring.
“This is something we all have an interest in, a stake in,” said Jonathan Francom, Adobe senior director of workplace solutions, who oversaw the selection of the company’s Lehi office just off I-15 seven years ago.
“Wow, how things have changed since then. What a burgeoning part of the state. It’s just exploded,” he said.
And the explosion is expected to continue. Robert Grow, Envision Utah president, said the undeveloped land could likely be built out by 2050.
“We’re not looking at a century or a half century. We’re looking at a very rapidly growing market,” he said.
The area has grown organically and opportunistically, Francom said, but now needs a vision to be sustainable.
Some of the big ideas brainstormers came up with?
A university akin to Stanford. A tram or gondola connecting Point of the Mountain to the Wasatch Mountains. A kayak park on the Jordan River. A new political entity to govern the area, possibly combining cities. Revitalizing Utah Lake for enhanced recreation.
One group even suggested relocating Camp Williams to enlarge the development area.
Among the challenges, transportation, air quality, funding, housing and green space topped the list. Also mentioned was creating a “work, stay, play” environment.
How can planners make the area attractive to millenials? How should they deal with new modes of travel such as self-driving cars, on-demand transit and company and housing shuttles?
Abby Osborne, Salt Lake Chamber government relations director, said the area will become another hub on the Wasatch Front.
“It will be our second Salt Lake City, our second capital city, so to speak,” she said.
Envision Utah will work with real estate, engineering, design, environmental and finance professionals over the next year to draw up a development plan to present to the Point of the Mountain Development Commission.
Monday’s meeting was the first in a series of meetings Envision Utah will hold with interested entities and residents. Suggestions can also be made online at pointofthemountainfuture.org.
The second phase will focus on developing scenarios, followed by more outreach to the public and stakeholders as leaders develop a vision for the area. The third phase involves implementation of the vision, breaking down costs and exploring public and private funding options for various aspects of the plan.
“I think it’s going to test what Utah does best, and that’s our collaboration, our coordination, working together as communities, as private entities, as government,” said Vale Hale, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.