Facebook Twitter

DRAPER SETS NEW SITE FOR CITY HALL

SHARE DRAPER SETS NEW SITE FOR CITY HALL

South Mountain will get a pool, but it won't get a Hall.

Five months after agreeing to build a new City Hall in the South Mountain development, Draper officials have shifted gears and are planning to build the city government's future home on a nine-acre parcel east of the Factory Stores of America outlet mall.The City Council's recent decision prompted about a dozen residents to call Mayor Elaine Redd with their approval. Only a couple of callers expressed disappointment, she said Friday.

That response is good news for Redd's administration since it will have to ask voters to approve a bond sale of $4 million to $5 million to pay for the new structure and renovate the current one. City Manager David Campbell said the bond issue is unlikely to appear on the November ballot. A special election probably will be held later in the year or early 1996.

City Hall is now housed in a former school building, a World War I-era stone structure at 12441 S. 900 East. The building, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, will be converted into a cultural arts center.

Also last month, the council voted to put the city's first public swimming pool - to be built with Salt Lake County funds - in South Mountain's proposed $6 million recreation complex instead of Draper City Park. Some residents opposed building the pool in the 1,700-unit development at the south end of town.

Many of the same people, including councilman Darrell Smith, felt uncomfortable with the decision to put City Hall in the development, arguing the site is too far removed from the city's population base and historic district.

"It was the happiest day of my life . . . as a councilman," Smith said of agreement on the new site selection, an alfalfa field at about 12100 South and 300 East.

The land, purchased by the city 18 months ago for about $30,000 an acre, has an unobstructed view of Lone Peak to the east. City Hall may be positioned so it faces the mountain and fronts the extension of 300 East that is to be built. The rest of the property would become an open-space park. Apartments, condominiums, small businesses, retail stores and perhaps a Salt Lake County branch library would be built around it in the future.

Ultimately, the decision came down to money. The city learned this summer it would cost more than $4 million to build City Hall at South Mountain, not $3 million to $3.5 million as was hoped. And not all of the money could be obtained through tax-exempt bonds because an entire floor of the building would not be used for public purposes but leased out instead.

About the same time, officials discovered that a nine-acre parcel was not needed for flood retention as was previously thought. Suddenly, there was another option.

Terry Diehl, a South Mountain partner, said the city's decision won't alter the developers' plans.

"It would have been nice to have them there, but we can live without them," Diehl said. "There are some politics that played into the decision for them to relocate it, and I understand those politics."

The two- or three-story brick building will include a courthouse and enough room for police headquarters should the city want to operate its own department again. Campbell said the cost of construction has not been determined.