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Midvale Journal

Who is funding Midvale’s Main Street updates?

Jun 14, 2021 10:59AM ● By Erin Dixon

Midvale Redevelopment Agency is partnering with other local taxing entities to fund the revival of the Main Street area. (Erin Dixon/City Journals)

By Erin Dixon | [email protected]

Have you seen the construction on Main Street? 

Midvale’s Redevelopment Agency (RDA) is fanning the flames of change. The RDA board is the same as the current city council, but operates under a separate budget than the main city budget. 

The RDA is investing and cooperating with businesses to revive the area. 

The agency’s budget comes from Canyons School District, Unified Fire Service area, Midvale City, South Salt Lake Valley Mosquito Abatement District and a few other neighboring taxing entities.

“Why would they redirect their tax dollars to support an art center on Main Street?” asked Cody Hill, the Redevelopment Agency manager. “The basic philosophy is you have an area that is not growing for whatever reason. It's been stagnant for 11 years. We can do nothing and we’ll get the same tax dollars.”

The property is currently worth $53 million.

Each taxing entity that is diverting some of their future funds will benefit from the revival of the area. 

“If [they] will funnel 60% of the increased value over $53 million, we can increase the total taxable cost in this area,” Hill said. “They’ll get 40% of the increased value, which is projected to cover growth. Once that cap is hit, the school district will get 100%.”

This is an old process commonly used in Utah since the 1960s. However, “You should not do this unless development will not occur without that help. Otherwise you’re just subsidizing something that’s going to happen anyway,” Hill said. 

The Midvale RDA can provide “loans of up to $250,000,” said Kate Andrus, Midvale community development executive assistant. There are also other incentives the city can offer to entice businesses to invest in the area. 

“We want to be able to approach these developers and say, ‘We want to work with you,’” Hill said. “We want you to go vertical. You can do your small boutique on the first floor and we’ll support half of the project for the second floor, the third floor...and priced for affordable housing.”

Buildings are not just getting renovated on the inside, the whole area is getting new parking, taller buildings and buried power lines. 

This overhaul is made possible by the form-based code Midvale adopted for the area. Rather than designating Main Street as solely commercial, the form-based code allows for mixed commercial and residential.

“Form-based code is the balance of form and function (the look and the feel),” Nate Rockwood, Midvale community development director, said. “It’s the way we shape the area. If we let the market go to town on Main Street, and we incentivized it, we could very easily destroy what makes Main Street feel like a Main Street which we don’t want to do.”

“This can be a very special place in the valley,” Rockwood said. “This is where you come to experience art, culture. When you have those draws that’s when you start to get those restaurants and you get that unique feel. I think we can get there in a short amount of time.”

Existing houses next to Main Street are within the project area, but nothing will change for them. 

“We don’t force anyone to do anything,” Matt Dahl, city manager said. “We can incentivize people to do something but if they don’t want to, they don’t have to.”

“That neighborhood provides a type of housing that is kind of unique (small yards, small house, single family). If that is a successful neighborhood, it will help, he said.”