FARMINGTON — Covered in a blanket of white, the neon green signs stood out: "Help save Farmington."
Despite snowfall and 30-degree temperatures, residents of Farmington rallied Saturday to oppose the Glovers Lane option for the Utah Department of Transportation's West Davis Corridor. Between 100 and 150 people lined the edge of Glovers Lane with signs and red cheeks and noses, and with their tractors, cars, air boats and horse trailers.
"Keep the 'farm' in Farmington."
"This is NOT the place."
"It's Farmington, not Freewayton."
"We're trying to show UDOT how many people actually care about Farmington Bay," resident and event organizer Bruce Bassett said. "UDOT is trying to figure out if they want to go north along the I-15 corridor where they originally planned to do it 17 years ago or whether they want to now cut through Farmington Bay and we're trying to say, 'No, if you cut through Farmington Bay, you're effecting all of us.'"
And so in Carhartt jackets and camouflage, pink Cadillacs and SUVs and with some even on bicycles, the residents land their supporters lined Glovers Lane for more than a mile representing nine constituencies: from bird and wetlands enthusiasts, hunters and farmers to families, businesses, bicyclists and boaters.
"I am pleasantly surprised," Julie Ann Prescott said. "I'm just very proud of people for getting out here in the storm … to show just how much they care about this area and how unique it is. It's special and it's worth taking the time to try and save and keep in its natural state."
The proposed project is a 24-mile long expansion of the Legacy Parkway that would run from Centerville to Marriott-Slaterville between the Great Salt Lake on the west to I-15 on the east. UDOT is currently considering two location options for the corridor, the Glovers Lane option in Farmington and Shepherd Lane option in Kaysville.
Those at the rally Saturday were mixed on the best solution, with some hoping that the project will be scrapped altogether and others encouraging UDOT to choose the Shepherd Lane option.
That option would take the homes of 10 residents making either option life-changing for some of the residents in each community.
"Personally, I think that if you don't build a road people will find other ways," Prescott said. "It's kind of like they want to take the easiest way, the path of least resistance, everyone's guilty of it. But it's kind of a good way to say, 'You know what? It's not there, find a way to carpool or use FrontRunner or make fewer trips or to coordinate trips."
John Gleason, spokesperson for UDOT, said not building is always an option. But the department is trying to keep up with population growth. He said an environmental study evaluating the impacts of both alternatives is scheduled for completion by spring.
"After we release the results of the evaluation and gather all of the information this spring, we're going to be holding public hearings," Gleason said. "I think it's important to consider both the community and environmental concerns and gather as much information on all sides as we can so we can make an educated decision for everyone in the area."
Lori Kalt, another organizer of Saturday's rally, said she was "thrilled" with the turnout.
"It feels better to have done something, to have made our statements, to say, 'Hey, we do not want this, this is bad for our community,' and I think it's good to see how many people this effects. … It's all of us coming together."
Kirt Peterson, who was there to represent "horse people," said he wanted to support and defend the home and community he knows and loves.
"I would like to preserve a rural community, but also just a community," he said. "By putting legacy along this corridor it would encircle western Farmington in freeways, so it makes it basically a circle. We want to see all the highway and transportation stay through the main corridor."
The rural, sleepy nature of west Farmington and its wide open views are what brought many to the area, including Brady and Kristy Crabtree. The couple moved to the area in 2010 and fell in love with its people and its proximity to cities while still feeling remote.
"We just don't want a raised freeway out here in the rural area. It doesn't make sense or seem to fit in at all," Brady Crabtree said. "I didn't want to be one of those people, if it happens back there where we don't want it, that just complains about it without doing anything about it."
"We wanted to show our kids that you can try," Kristy Crabtree said. "This is great. I think a lot of people aren't even from the area, they just care about the birds. People are powerful."
In addition to its threat to the rural landscape, the project would encircle Farmington in freeways and the city would not gain an economic benefit because the proposed on- and off-ramps bypass the city center and the developing Station Park area, Prescott said.
"We have boaters, hunters, bikers, bird lovers, the eagle sanctuary is right here, the Farmginton bay nature preserve, farmers, a pumpkin patch, it's just a way of life. It's our whole way of life and we think that UDOT and the cities should think before they plan things.
But there is another side.
Those in Kaysville think the Glovers Lane option is the obvious choice. Wendi Snell said UDOT's Shepherd Lane option would displace her and her family as it includes the destruction of 10 homes.
"We don't want to say anything against the other road for the Glovers area, because my heart goes out to them as well and I understand where they're coming from. But my home is going to be taken," she said.
"It's not just a freeway that's going to be built next to me or behind me, it's taking my home. I have no idea where I'd go. My kids absolutely love the schools they go to, they love their friends, and everything that we have built in our life was supposed to stay here."
Kaysville Mayor Steve Hiatt said he thinks the need for the freeway is there. He said UDOT has a tough decision to make. But he said top priority should go to homeowners.
"It is a huge impact to anyone's life to say, 'Hey you may enjoy your home, your place of solace, but it might be taken away from you,'" Hiatt said. "It's simply nothing that should be taken lightly. … We support wildlife, we support wetlands. Quite honestly when you compare the differences between the two, the impacts are much the same until you come down to the human aspect and you look at the 10 homes that are being taken."4 comments on this story
Gleason said a 100 percent consensus on an option is not likely. But UDOT officials are trying to communicate with the residents of each community and be transparent in their process. He said a decision isn't expected until 2014.
"It's far from a done deal," he said. "We're far from making a final decision."