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South Valley Journal

The Point’s master plan progresses and should be finished this summer

May 25, 2021 01:06PM ● By Mimi Darley Dutton

(Photo via The Point website)

By Mimi Darley Dutton | [email protected]

Plans for The Point are progressing to shape the future of the 600 acres of state-owned land that bridges Salt Lake and Utah counties where the Utah State Prison currently sits.

“We’re at an important stage of our planning process where we’ve just received a draft of the framework plan. It’s an early draft and we wanted it to be early so we can get public input for a plan this summer,” said Alan Matheson, The Point’s executive director.

To that end, The Point held two virtual open houses earlier this month to solicit resident feedback.

They also sent out a survey that anyone from the public can take. The survey closes at 5 p.m. May 28. It can be accessed by visiting bit.ly/planthepointsurvey

The survey takes approximately five minutes to complete. It includes questions on ranking preferences for what types of entertainment, retail, open space, and activities the public would like to see at the site. It asks what types and sizes of parks people would like to see, preferred forms of transportation including options of electric vehicles, autonomous shuttles, trolleys or passenger vans. It asks about the character of streets people desire and types of housing, whether high-end including designs for retirees, or more affordable homes for families and people in the workforce.

The survey also asks what types of training and education should be offered, whether traditional K-12, training and education geared toward trades, or university-level courses. Finally, it asks how much of an environmental focus there should be at the site including the possibility of solar and wind power and the conservation of water.

The firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill began work in January 2021 on the first stage of developing a master plan. That phase involved gathering information on previous public input, data, demographics, etc. The second stage was developing planning concepts and evaluating them to see how they performed relative to 25 key performance metrics.

“Essentially we tested 25 different ideas by developing a range of concepts and using analytical tools to test how they’d perform,” Matheson said. That involved analysis of how much traffic each idea might generate, what the mix of uses would be, how many jobs might be created, impact on air quality and access to open space.

The next stage was to take what Matheson called “the best-performing and most exciting elements” from those concepts to further develop the draft plan. Some of the concepts included are:

1)      A central park, or a roughly 5- to 10-acre park in the middle of the site for public events and gatherings.

2)      A range to river trail connecting Jordan River Parkway to the foothills of the Wasatch, providing a migration corridor for wildlife and recreation throughout the site.

3)      Neighborhood circulator, or a system to get people through the districts of the site so people could access any area by taking the internal circulator. It might be an electric, autonomous vehicle that would still maintain opportunities for people to walk safely and do so in quiet surroundings.

4)      An entertainment and retail center that might include performing arts, theatres and shopping experiences.

Beyond the two virtual open houses held in May and the public input survey, a finalized plan is expected in July.

“Just a reminder, we’re calling it a framework plan because it’s not going to have every detail of where each building will go. It’s designed to provide a good understanding of the types of uses that will be there, but we’re building in flexibility, recognizing that over time there will be changes in the market, preferences of consumers, technology, and we want to be able to adapt over time to those changes. We want to make sure this is a project that is relevant and future-focused well into the coming decades,” Matheson said.

In mid-2022, inmates will be relocated to the new correctional facility and some site preparation work for future development will begin.

“This is becoming much more real and more exciting as we have some compelling ideas that we think will set the standard for a sustainable, future-focused development in Utah, a place that will attract the attention of the world and will be a beloved community in Utah,” Matheson said.

Information, recorded meetings and opportunities for public engagement can be found at www.thepointutah.org.