West Valley City, which has made a number of positive strides in the past few years, continues to move ahead admirably.
The latest is a visionary effort called the "Jordan River Overlay Zone," and it offers West Valley residents a promising portrait of what their city's eastern gateway can look like in just a few years.This municipal mosaic portrays a carefully planned patchwork of varied uses: small retail businesses, multistory office buildings, service-oriented shops, upscale restaurants and mixed-use housing that includes high-density residential units.
What the mosaic encompasses is carefully thought-out thematic landscaping - an "urban trails" system linked to the Jordan River Parkway, some works of art, open-space areas and possibly even a multicultural center on land the city recently purchased west of the river.
What you won't find in the project are car lots, tire stores, fast-food establishments, gas-and-go convenience stores, manufacturing businesses or an irksome montage of billboards and power lines.
In all, the overlay zone covers approximately 100 acres west of the Jordan River to about 1400 West and between 3100 and 3500 South. Much of the ground is still undeveloped.
What sets it apart from other areas of the city is a set of stringent planning controls that governs the visual flavor, mix of land uses and quality of development at the eastern entrance to the community.
City officials laid the groundwork for the development last fall by ordering a building moratorium for the area. While that drew protests from some developers, it was the right thing to do based on the overall dynamics and needs of the city.
Initially the move created some concern among property owners who were fearful the project might lower property values. The indications are, however, that the overlay zone will do just the opposite.
This latest development follows a series of events that have enhanced West Valley City and its image. Just last September city officials proudly unveiled the E Center, perhaps the finest minor-league hockey arena in the country. It's the kind of cornerstone the city can build on. It appears intent on doing so.
Add developments like the Jordan River Overlay Zone, and you have a formula that entices developers and businesses to take a serious look at West Valley City. It is one that encourages quality residential development and enhances community ambience as well.