Somewhere in West Jordan's historic downtown area, there's a "there"just waiting to happen.
It's an identity. A destination. A vision of the future. A recognizable core of the community pulled gently together with color, textures, pedestrian paths and a genial suburban atmosphere.West Jordan, Tomorrow A.D.
And while the "there" isn't here quite yet, it can be.
That's why a team of urban designers and planning professionals will link up with city staff and local residents this fall for what is being billed as a mini-RUDAT (Rural/Urban Design Assistance Team) study.
Intitially planned for mid-September, the study has been postponed until Nov. 12-16 to give city staff more time to organize the process and arrange schedules with participating consultants.
It's modeled after the RUDAT process that has been pioneered by the American Institute of Architects. In a regular RUDAT study, the AIA assembles a group of volunteer consultants from throughout the United States who work with communities to plan their futures.
Angelo Calacino, a planner in West Jordan's community development department, said the mini-RUDAT is different in that the local AIA chapter will bring together local consultants.
"Basically it's the same process," he said. "Most of the design team will come from within the county or the state."
The goal of the four-day study and a resulting report is to help the community decide what its "there" should be and suggest ways West Jordan can remold its downtown core into a destination with a vibrant, discernible identity.
Calacino said the study area covers about two square miles in the historic center of the city.
Unofficial objectives for the mini-RUDAT include:
- Coming up with a community-endorsed plan that reflects the desires, values and vision of West Jordan residents and business owners.
- Making the downtown area "a destination point" with a recognizable identity and a mix of commercial, residential and governmental uses served by a variety of transportation modes.
- Establish an economically vibrant area in which thriving businesses generate an enhanced tax base for the city.
- Develop an aesthetically pleasing and pedestrian-friendly city center that relies on physical and visual harmony to appeal to visitors and residents. This implies an integrated downtown design concept that is color-coordinated and uses various textures and construction materials to create an inviting atmosphere.
While the mini-RUDAT members will be volunteering their time, there are still a number of costs involved, including the team's expenses and transportation and printing the study.
Calacino said the city will cover part of the cost but is seeking public and business donations as well as in-kind contributions to help defray expenses. One of the principles of the RUDAT process is that various elements of a community should share the cost of doing a study.
Meantime, Calacino said, the city will conduct some preliminary meetings with people who will be most affected by the study, informing them about what it will and won't do.
"We don't want people to get the idea that a bulldozer is coming in to tear their houses down," he said.