Communities along the Wasatch Front are getting some extra help planning for population growth. Salt Lake County is partnering with the Wasatch Front Regional Council in a new pilot program that gives communities technical and financial aid to brace for demands on services and transportation.
Thirteen communities in the Salt Lake, Davis and Weber counties were each awarded between $10 thousand and $55 thousand-dollars worth of consulting to resolve difficult planning issues.
Ted Knowlton is the Deputy Director of the Wasatch Front Regional Council.
“So we have a lot of communities across the metro area that, for example are reaching build-out,” Knowlton says. “They don’t have a lot of land left and they’re naturally taking a look at well, how do we remake places that we have developed in the past? Those are challenging questions to answer.”
Millcreek Township and North Salt Lake need help developing a plan for an identifiable town center. Such a layout is believed to promote pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods, smarter development and more accessible recreation opportunities. Other communities like Cottonwood Heights and Salt Lake City are focused on transportation. Cottonwood Heights Community and Economic Development Director Brian Berndt says his city is focused on redeveloping major transportation corridors.
“If you look at the areas that we requested funding, Wasatch Boulevard and also Fort Union Boulevard, both are regionally significant roads and both have needs that need to be studied to determine where we want to go with those,” Berndt says. “We want to change land use, help protect neighborhoods, redesign parts of the street so they become more effective.”
Berndt says this project ultimately plays into the Wasatch Front Regional Council’s Choice for 2040 Vision, which considers how growth, transportation, and open space can be shaped for the next few decades when the population along the Wasatch Front is expected to double.