While light rail may bring a lot of people into downtown once it's finished, it's pushing out at least one organization: the Utah Arts Festival.
After 15 years at the same location, this summer's festival, in late June, may be the last at the Triad Center. In July, light-rail construction is scheduled to start on South Temple between 300 and 400 West where the heart of the festival, the artists gallery, is located."With the changes that are going on downtown, we think it's prudent not to be caught short, but to be looking forward," said festival Executive Director Robyn Nelson.
The area is getting squeezed in other ways. A large, new inter-modal-transportation hub is being considered near the site as well as an east-west light-rail line. The Boyer Co. will soon develop a large tract west of the Union Pacific Depot that the festival uses for support services.
Nelson noted that should some of those plans change, particularly light rail (though that is unlikely), the festival may stay where it is.
While the search is still preliminary, possible alternative locations include the Gallivan Plaza, Washington Square around the City & County Building, the state Fairpark, Pioneer Park and locations in cities other than Salt Lake City.
A survey of last year's festivalgoers showed 78 percent preferred the Gallivan Plaza as the most desirable alternative location. However, the survey also showed most of them were unaware of the plans to spiff up the Gateway area surrounding Pioneer Park, said festival spokeswoman Cindy Gubler.
Festival organizers are now preparing a request for proposals by which cities can volunteer sites.