From State of the Union to State of the City
Mar 02, 2020 10:18AM
● By Mimi Darley Dutton
Mayor Walker, in Washington, DC on Draper City business, met with Utah’s entire congressional delegation, including Senator Mike Lee. (Photo courtesy Draper City)
By Mimi Darley Dutton | [email protected]
Fresh off a visit to the nation’s capital for city business, and having attended President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address while there, Mayor Troy Walker delivered his State of the City address at the annual event sponsored by the Draper Area Chamber of Commerce.
City Manager David Dobbins was first to address local business leaders. He went through a list of recently completed or nearly complete projects including Pluralsight phase 1 — whose world headquarters here will have 2,000 jobs — the opening of the TownePlace Suites hotel, Onset Financial, and a Starbuck’s under construction just west of the freeway on 12300 South. Dobbins said Divvy will move from Lehi to the corner of I-15 and Bangerter Highway, that the Minuteman Office Park has an anchor tenant, and the Lone Peak Bio-Tech Business Park has nine buildings planned totaling 600,000 square feet.
“There’s not much empty land left. I think you’ll see a lot of in-fill because a lot of large-scale projects already happened,” Dobbins said.
Dobbins also spoke about road improvements to 13800 South, widening Lone Peak from 11400 South to 12300 South, improvements to 700 West from 12300 South to 11400 South, widening Bangerter Parkway from Highland to 13800 South, and Highland Drive widening from Bangerter to roughly the Frontage Road.
“There’s a lot of construction. We have a great team on the city side. I want to thank everyone that’s been involved,” Dobbins said.
Walker began by talking about growth and the traffic that brings, which he said is the main topic city residents voice concern about. He noted that 78% of the growth that happened in 2019 came “from our own children” with the rest being “people moving here because our economy is so good, specifically the tech sector.” As a member of the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) board, he touted a microtransit serviced called Via that is currently operating on a trial basis and encouraged those in attendance to take advantage of the service. “It’s like Uber but not quite,” he said.
In addition to transit, the mayor touched on air quality, the role of transit in helping to clean the air, and how that shapes his thoughts on the development of the prison site. “If we don’t have quality transit in the initial phase, it’s not worth doing. My goal is to move the transit conversation,” he said. He indicated that the new prison will be built about two years from now. He expects plans for the development of the existing prison site to be released in the next six to eight months. “We’re committed to doing it right, but I don’t know what that is yet,” he said. Walker serves on two advisory committees for shaping the site’s development.
Walker mentioned the two recently opened baseball fields at Galena Park, the new Jordan River Trail Bridge and the new SunCrest Park. He spoke about upcoming city projects including the Peak View Trailhead opening summer 2020, an all-abilities playground which will be funded 50% by the city and 50% from grant money, and a Jordan River boat launch in the Rotary Park area which will be designed for non-motorized boats, such as canoes, to take advantage of the river. He mentioned the county’s new recreation center, built in Draper, which will open at the end of March. Both Draper City and Canyons School District contributed to that county project.
Walked said the city now has 4,700 acres of dedicated open space and a trail system he called “unparalleled.” He said the city set up counters at four area trailheads and 357,000 trail users were counted. “That puts us in the top 10 of state parks. We think it’s a lot more than that since we just counted in four spots.” He also indicated that Corner Canyon is second only to Whistler on the Strava app for runners and cyclists.
The mayor said the mountain west is experiencing good economic times and that the “biomedical sector in Utah is a huge economic driver.” He said human heart valves are being made at Edwards Lifesciences with more biotech companies coming to Draper. “That part of our city economy is amazing,” he said.
Walker and Dobbins were in Washington, DC on behalf of the city in early February. “The purpose of my trip was to advocate for federal funding to install a waterline in Corner Canyon. This line would provide water for fire mitigation purposes to help protect city-owned open space, Forest Service property and the private property and structures in the area. Navigating through the federal funding and approval process can be difficult and time consuming so I truly appreciate the support of our Utah Congressional Delegation. The meetings were very productive and I will continue to work with city officials and members of Congress to pursue funding for this important project,” Walker said.
Walker and Dobbins’ invitation to the State of the Union came from congressman Ben McAdams, the former mayor of Salt Lake County. Dobbins called it “the chance of a lifetime.”