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Midvale Journal

Midvale City continues plan to improve Main Street

May 23, 2018 01:56PM ● By Ruth Hendricks

Attendees at the city’s open house on Main Street improvements. (Ruth Hendricks/City Journals)

By Ruth Hendricks | [email protected]

Midvale City is midway through the process of creating a small area plan to revitalize historic Main Street. A follow-up open house was held on May 9 at the City Hall.

Midvale City staff received input and feedback from the first open house held on Feb. 28 and through a public survey. They then worked on developing goals and strategies for phased investments in the Main Street neighborhood in the near term, the mid-term and long-term.

Urban planning and landscape design company VODA was hired as a consultant to help make the plans to meet the goals of the city and residents. Bryce Bushman with VODA explained that a small area plan outlines what the city hopes to achieve. It’s more about guidance.

“Once you have a plan, you can say this is what we want, what we need money for,” said Bushman.

Part of the goal is to attract more business to the area. “We can’t tell anyone to come here,” said Bushman. “But when a business does come, we can choose to make sure that what they build will fit with the overall goals, so that it will work together as a neighborhood instead of random choices that are made independently.”

Annaliese Eichelberger, project manager with the Redevelopment Agency (RDA), explained that one of the most important next steps will be to form a business association. “This will really create one voice for our Main Street businesses and gather their input as the process moves along.”

One of the first projects identified is that there are power poles that need to be buried. “It’s a huge problem for different companies who are not able to fully develop because there are power poles in the middle of their property,” said Eichelberger. “It’s important for the business owner to have more opportunity.”

“We are really excited, and we want to make this process something that’s true and feasible. Everyone is more than ready to see Main Street revitalized, and we want to finally make it happen.”

The city conducted a community survey online from January to April, which had 20 questions. Of the 501 responses, 87 percent strongly agreed or agreed with the statement, “A strong Main Street is good for Midvale.”

When asked “Which improvements would you support on Main Street?” the top answers were storefront improvements at 86 percent, historic preservation at 76 percent, streetscape improvements at 67 percent, family-friendly amenities at 66 percent, and public space/plaza at 55 percent.

At the first open house in February, public input was gathered through two exercises. The first asked participants which activities they would like to see on Main Street and the time-of-day and day-of-week when they would come to participate in those activities. Participants were asked to write their ideas on sticky notes and put them on a board.

The second exercise focused on funding priorities. Visual examples of seven different project types were presented. Each person was given four mock $100 bills and used them to choose which of the project types they would pay for. The project types were: facade improvements, public space, connectivity, public art, infill development, streetscape and housing choice. The top response was facade improvements.

Phase One of the plan, which would go for one to two years, identified the projects of creating a Main Street business association and updating the electrical infrastructure by removing existing utility poles and burying the lines.

Additional goals of Phase One include implementing a continuous and consistent streetscape design and façade improvements, and creating a small business incubator to recruit and help new businesses become established and self-sufficient enough to succeed.

Phase Two, which is two to five years out, has two projects identified. First is Main Street infill, which would construct new buildings in vacant and underutilized parcels of land that will expand business and contribute to a continuous development pattern. The second is to redesign the Center Street streetscape to calm traffic, increase pedestrian activity and include it in the Main Street neighborhood visual identity.

Phase Three, which is five or more years out, has projects for Holden Street. There is an infill goal to construct new buildings in vacant and underutilized parcels, and reclaim Holden Street as a pedestrian friendly road that connects the neighborhood.

Ben Hill, a resident on Main Street, attended the open house. “I just hope they make it very pedestrian friendly. We’ve had problems with Center Street and Main Street, with people getting hit and low lights on Main Street.”