TAYLORSVILLE — Howard Wilson said he's watched Taylorsville performers constantly struggle to find venues for auditions, rehearsals and performances.
Between scrambling to afford high school stage rentals and cramming into the Taylorsville City Council chambers for practice, the Taylorsville Arts Council chairman said it's been an ongoing challenge for years.
For example, he said, props are stored in a barn at Taylorsville's Bennion Heritage Center.
"They're stored at the diary, and so they smell like turkeys," Wilson said, laughing.
Talk of building Taylorsville its own performing arts center has been going on ever since the city incorporated 20 years ago, Wilson said. And Monday, city and county leaders celebrated the fruits of those conversations.
Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams and other local leaders announced plans to build a $39 million theater southeast of Taylorsville City Hall's campus at 2600 Taylorsville Blvd.
The Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center is slated to break ground in mid-2018 and be completed in 2020.
The estimated 60,000- to 70,000-square-foot theater will act as a new home to the Taylorsville Arts Council, other local arts organizations, and national and regional shows, McAdams said.
"It's so exciting," said Sara McDonald, a performer with the Taylorsville Arts Council. "It means so much that we'll get a venue we can afford, where we can have fun and focus more on getting the show ready rather than worry about where we're going to perform and rehearse."
The performing arts center is expected to house a main stage with roughly 500 seats, as well as a smaller, black box theater with about 250 seats. The project will be funded through $36 million from Salt Lake County's tourism fund and $3.3 million from Taylorsville.
Detailed designs will be determined over the next year, but county officials plan to model it after the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center in Salt Lake City, said Erin Litvack, Salt Lake County Community Services director.
"It's no secret that the Salt Lake Valley is growing at a rapid rate, especially in the southwest areas," McAdams said during Monday's announcement at Taylorsville City Hall. "That's why Taylorsville is the perfect location for the Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center."
Litvack said the county is eager to "broaden" arts and cultural opportunities on the county's west side, especially with Hale Centre Theater relocating from West Valley City to Sandy.
"This will be an icon for not only the people of Taylorsville but the whole west side of Salt Lake County," County Councilwoman Aimee Winder Newton said.
Taylorsville Mayor Larry Johnson said "it's a great day for Taylorsville," now that city and county officials have been able to "hammer" out the project's details after years of discussions.
"I know without a doubt the county and Taylorsville will be great partners throughout the years on this project," Johnson said, also thanking taxpayers for their contributions. "Without the county and the people of Taylorsville, this would have never happened."
McDonald said she can't wait for the Taylorsville arts community to step into the lobby of its new home.
"I wish it could come sooner," she said, "but 2020 is just around the corner."
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