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Lawmakers seek funding for new TRAX lines, Point of the Mountain development

By Jacob Klopfenstein, | Posted - May 16, 2018 at 9:11 p.m.

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DRAPER — As state lawmakers ponder the future of the Point of the Mountain area, officials are proposing a comprehensive redevelopment of the state prison site in Draper, complete with a town center, research facilities and new TRAX lines.

The Point of the Mountain Development Commission has gathered input, researched and developed a vision for what they want the area to look like by 2050.

Now, they are considering how to finance their vision. Commission representatives presented the work they’ve done so far at a meeting of the Utah State Legislature Economic Development and Workforce Services Interim Committee meeting on Wednesday morning.

The plan includes 12 “signature elements,” 21 goals and 126 strategies.

There’s still a long way to go, but representatives from the commission are stressing the importance of getting the area’s development right.

“The one thing we know for sure is this area will be fully developed in the next 30 years — it will fill in,” Consultant Robert J. Grow said at the meeting. “That 20,000 acres is an opportunity which no other region in the country has.”

Grow is president and CEO of Envision Utah, a consulting firm with which the Point of the Mountain Commission has a contract to study the 20,000-acre area’s projected growth.

About 150,000 high tech innovation jobs are projected to come to Utah by 2050, Grow said. Many of those jobs would pay $40,000 above the average Utah salary, and only a third would be located in the Point of the Mountain area.

To deal with the growth, Point of the Mountain Commission officials are proposing massive new infrastructure projects, including several new TRAX lines and a new boulevard that would connect Salt Lake and Utah counties without requiring commuters to get on I-15.

“It is a unique — absolutely unique — opportunity,” Point of the Mountain Commission Chair Rep. V. Lowry Snow, R-Santa Clara, said at the meeting. “There’s nothing else like this in the country.”

The population of Salt Lake County is projected to be 1.5 million by 2050, while Utah County’s is projected at 1.3 million. That would mean more than half the state’s residents would be located in those two counties, Grow said.

That’s why the Point of the Mountain area — located right in the middle of the two rapidly growing metro areas — is so important, Grow said.

“This bottleneck, this narrow neck between Salt Lake County and Utah County becomes a real state level issue where you’ve got half the people in the state trying to get through,” he said.

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At the heart of the area is the 700-acre state prison site.

Located just southwest of the intersection of I-15 and Bangerter Highway, the area will free up when the prison moves to the northwest quadrant of Salt Lake City in 2020, creating a prime real estate area in Draper.

Representatives presented a design plan for the prison site that includes housing, offices and research areas, as well as a mixed-use area that would include a town center, retail and public transit lines.

Both Snow and Grow stressed the importance of keeping the momentum going.

Snow’s H.B. 372, signed by Gov. Gary Herbert in March, creates the Point of the Mountain State Land Authority. The board will include 11 members appointed by the legislature, the governor, the mayors of Draper and Salt Lake County and the Utah System of Higher Education and will guide the development of the area.

“That 20,000 acres is an opportunity which no other region in the country has, right in the middle of two closing major metropolitan areas,” Grow said. “The opportunity to really make a difference in the future of our region, but we know that that opportunity is an opportunity for now and will continue to take dedicated action now.”

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