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Layton Council, museum reach accord on expansion plan

The Layton Arts Council and the city's museum board have reached an agreement on the expansion of the Layton Heritage Museum and facilities surrounding Ed Kenley Amphitheater.

At a Thursday work meeting, the City Council approved a go-ahead for complete architectural plans. New restrooms to serve the amphitheater will be done first, with completion set for this summer.After that, the rear of the museum is where most of the major building expansion will take place.

Since last fall, the two parties had disagreed on facilities proposed for the revamped museum.

Mayor Jerry Stevenson was surprised at the two groups reaching an agreement and said that several months ago he thought there was a better chance of bringing peace to Jerusalem.

Layton recreation director Dean Allen said he's had many meetings with the two groups since December. The biggest change is that the price of the expansion has increased from $400,000 to $550,000.

The city has $400,000 available now for the project, with another $150,000 expected to be allocated by the City Council in its 1998-99 budget.

For that extra money, the museum plans have abandoned some "pawn shop-type gates" that would screen amphitheater performers warming up. Instead, a "green" room for such warm-ups is now to be included in the museum, complete with some dressing rooms.

Some additional pods or side wings have also been added to the museum, increasing floor space and storage. Air conditioning and heating systems have also been upgraded.

However, one drawback to the restroom/museum construction is that the large bowery near the museum will have to be relocated and will not be available for use this summer.

Museum board members wanted the museum to become more visible and accessible to the public and they get that in the revised plans.

The Arts Council wanted better facilities for staging outdoor events.

"It's a great facility," said Steve Handy, president of the Layton Arts Council.

He said he feels the new plans are a vast improvement on the initial proposal.

However, he said he still believes the city will eventually need some sort of an indoor amphitheater, too - hopefully located somewhere near the Davis County Convention Center.

"But this will be fine for summer," Handy said.

Ray Balhorn, president of the Heritage Museum board, said most Layton residents still don't know the city even has a museum.

He's hoping the city will plan its own sesquicentennial celebration in the next two years. He said two Mormon Battalion veterans picked out a farming spot in the Layton area in October 1849.

Kaysville was officially settled in April 1850. Layton was part of Kaysville until the turn of the century.

"It might be kind of fun to do something then," Balhorn said.

Harris Adams, a museum board member, said a city celebration in either 1999 or 2000 could also coincide with two other key events - the 20th anniversary of the museum and the completion of its $550,000 expansion.