West Jordan OKs $1 million for arts center

Author(s):    Rosemary Winters The Salt Lake Tribune
Date: December 11, 2009

West Jordan After seven years of dreaming up funding recipes, the Sugar Factory Arts Campus finally has more than crumbs in its cookie jar. The West Jordan City Council agreed in a 4-2 vote this week to chip in up to $1 million of parks impact fees if a nonprofit can raise a larger, matching amount by the end of 2012.
This step marks the first major funding commitment for the $14.3 million project, which would transform a 93-year-old defunct sugar factory west of City Hall, 8000 South and Redwood Road, into a regional arts center.
"We're going to do our best to move this project forward and make it something that's viable and valuable," said Mayor David Newton, who proposed the funding mechanism, "something that when people on TRAX ride by, they'll say, 'Hey, lets see what's going on there.'"
Construction of the Mid-Jordan light-rail line, which is expected to cart riders past the Sugar Factory starting in late 2011, was part of the impetus for pushing ahead the renovation. Newton, who leaves office in January, also hopes the city's "seed money" gives the arts center an edge when Salt Lake County begins using its new cultural master plan to determine which facilities get county cash.
But some West Jordan west-siders were unhappy with the city's use of parks impact fees, which they say accumulated from west-side growth and should be spent on west-side parks.
"The Sugar Factory is an awesome project," said Kathy Hughes, who lives west of State Road 111, "but we need our parks and trails developed. ... We don't have parks [on the west side], we have weed-covered drainage ditches."
Newton insisted it wasn't an "either-or" proposal.
"We can do both," he said. "This is going to take a relatively small amount of those impact fees, provided we get the match."
Once the Sugar Factory Arts Campus board raises matching funds, the nonprofit can begin drawing impact fees to start construction in phases.
Council members Ben Southworth and Melissa Johnson, who takes over as mayor next month, voted against the proposal, saying the city should evaluate all potential parks projects and come up with a spending plan.

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