The job of creating a world-class heritage park at This Is the Place - one that will be self-supporting while giving the public an authentic taste of pre-railroad Utah - has fallen to the members of an enterprise team.
The team evolved out of the earlier Old Deseret Foundation and reflects more ambitious plans for the heritage park as a centennial legacy.Among the enterprise team's responsibilities will be putting together business and marketing plans to ensure that the park will be financially self-sufficient, said Nancy Devenport, development coordinator for the Division of Parks and Recreation.
The team will hire a manager for the enterprise zone and establish an annual work plan, secure a line of credit and work with the Centennial Committee to generate endowment funds to maintain the park.
"They will do planning and marketing to bring in cottage industries to keep the village viable," she said. The vision for the heritage park goes beyond a mere walk-through of historical buildings. Park planners hope the buildings will be occupied by businesses that authentically re-create pioneer activities such as potters, weavers, blacksmiths, pharmacists, farmers and many more, while generating income.
Old Deseret buildings constructed as part of the heritage park project must be maintained over time, she said. The expectation is that the returns from such businesses, along with a privately funded endowment, will cover the long-term maintenance costs.
To date, the enterprise team has held one meeting. A smaller task force of four was created to work through definitions of the project so that detailed planning can proceed efficiently.
"We need first of all to define the animal. There are many unanswered questions," Devenport said. Task force members are Zeke Dumke, Leland Coleman, Mike Leventhal and Norm Anderson.
Others on the enterprise team are state Rep. Afton Bradshaw, R-Salt Lake, Hugh Barlow, Tom Coleman, E.R. "Zeke" Dumke Jr., Norm Johnson, Nancy Pace, Norma Matheson, Mike Leventhal, Dan Lofgren, Catherine Smith, Wilson Martin and Ann Brest Van Kempen. Ex-officio members affiliated with state government are Devenport, Courtland Nelson, Clayton Parr and Mike Barker of the parks division, and Kim Burningham, executive to the Centennial Commission.
Dumke is one team member who has an expanded vision of This Is the Place State Park. He sees it as one element of an "Emigration visitor district." The district also could include Hogle Zoo, the Fort Douglas Museum, the University of Utah's various museums and the Red Butte arboretum.
Such a district could bring numerous visitors to Salt Lake's northeast area and keep them there for a longer time. The concept will be part of the overall discussion of the centennial project.