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'A long time coming': Clearfield begins work on city-changing transportation community

Clearfield leaders, Utah Transit Authority executives and others break ground on a massive transportation community project Monday. City leaders say it may take two decades for the project to be completed.

Clearfield leaders, Utah Transit Authority executives and others break ground on a massive transportation community project Monday. City leaders say it may take two decades for the project to be completed. (Jeffrey Dahdah, KSL-TV)



Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

CLEARFIELD — As Clearfield Mayor Mark Shepard got to Clearfield Station on Monday, he looked over a light post and reflected on a conversation he had about 15 years ago with a transportation consultant about the future of 56 acres owned by the Utah Transit Authority in the area.

After years of meetings, discussion and more iterations than what Shepard jokes he'd "care to think about," Clearfield and the UTA are now ready to embark on a massive project that will drastically change the city in the next two decades as it prepares for its next century of existence.

They, along with private developers, broke ground Monday on a future transportation-oriented development that aims to add 1,000 new residential units, 600,000 square feet of office space and about 67,500 square feet of commercial space near UTA's FrontRunner station in the future.

"This has been a long time coming," Shepard said, standing not far from where project discussions first began. "We understand what we're trying to create and we're creating a new city. ... This is a massive development and we're excited to see it happen."

Clearfield was first incorporated in 1922 and is on the verge of another wave of growth as it celebrates its centennial. The city first surpassed 1,000 residents in the 1940s and reached 20,000 in the 1980s. It's hovered around more than 30,000 over the past two decades.

But more is on the way. Shepard said the city has already approved 4,000 housing units since 2018, which are in various stages of planning and development. That project now underway on UTA land by the Clearfield Station adds to what's in line for the future.

"This is a massive undertaking for a city that everybody said had been built out," he said, later adding that it may take another 15 to 20 years to complete the full development of the station.

Andrew Gruber, the executive director of the Wasatch Front Regional Council, contends that a transportation-oriented development is a great way to address population growth without changing the character of the remaining parts of the city. It will provide new roads, trails and spaces in addition to the mixture of residential, office and commercial spaces.

The Clearfield project is similar to Station Park in Farmington; however, the mixture of workspaces and homes will eventually look more like a transit-oriented "community" than a development, said Beth Holbrook, a member of UTA's board of trustees.

Shepard said the final idea came down to a balance between all three options instead of adding only housing or only offices. He added there could be alterations to the master plan along the way, as well. Hamilton Partners and Stack Real Estate were brought into the project to assist with land development.

The one thing that won't change is the idea of having a community connected by an array of transportation options. And given its location next to FrontRunner, it has easy connections to Salt Lake, Utah and Weber counties, as well as other cities in Davis County.

Gruber said the project offers a template for other Wasatch Front communities as they figure out how to handle the brunt of Utah's growth.

"By coordinating housing with transportation at this FrontRunner station, it will mean increased access to opportunities for Clearfield residents," he said. "It will provide access to jobs, education and all the wonderful things that our region has to offer."

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Carter Williams is an award-winning reporter who covers general news, outdoors, history and sports for KSL.com. He previously worked for the Deseret News. He is a Utah transplant by the way of Rochester, New York.

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