HERRIMAN — This is a town of pastures full of railroad ties and dairy cows.

It's a town where you'll find tractors parked in front yards and horse equipment in driveways.

This is also a town that is home to an ambitious development, a development that will likely quadruple the size of Herriman's scant population of 2,000.

Called Rosecrest, the development spans 2,200 acres in the southwest portion of Salt Lake County. It will be the birthplace of nearly 2,400 homes. Half of it sits in Herriman, while about 1,000 acres curl east into Bluffdale.

By the time Rosecrest is finished — maybe 10 years down the road — it will be home to about 7,000 people.

In addition to homes and upscale condominiums, Rosecrest includes plans for schools and commercial space. Some 660 acres will be dedicated for a multiuse trail system and open space.

Beyond the multiuse trails, it will feature neighborhood parks that are a stone's throw away from homes and larger regional parks for residents to enjoy.

The first phase of Rosecrest is well under way and is being celebrated Saturday with an open house from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

To get there, take Bangerter Highway to 13400 South and turn west to 5600 West.

This is the kind of community Utah needs, said Stephen Holbrook, executive director of Envision Utah. Holbrook emphasized that Envision Utah doesn't endorse particular developments. But his personal opinion is that Rosecrest integrates several healthy elements, including "housing for various life stages, regional open space, trails and eventual nearby commercial development, so people don't have to drive everywhere. And that helps keep the air clean." Larger developments such as Rosecrest have room, Holbrook said, for residential and commercial zones, so fewer people have to leave town for work or shopping.

But Rosecrest has its detractors, who want to see the fields of sagebrush remain untouched.

"I was raised out here in Herriman," said Mayor J. Lynn Crane. "If I could turn things back to the way things were in 1960, I would, and most of the people complaining about the growth today wouldn't be here."

Crane, the first mayor of a town incorporated just a year ago, has come under attack because of Rosecrest.

"This is one case where the general perception of the public is completely inaccurate," he said.

That perception is that Herriman is the town that the Sorenson family built.

Rosecrest is the brainchild of Jim Sorenson, who is developing land his father bought more than 20 years ago.

A grandson of the original purchaser, Luke Sorenson, is the man selling it. Thus far, 275 of the first 300 lots have already been sold.

Rosecrest had been on the drawing boards and received its approval from Salt Lake County before Herriman incorporated.

But Crane says because Rosecrest was being planned, sketched out and plotted at the same time Herriman moved to become a town, people tend to make an evil link between the two.

"The idea that the town would not have survived without Jim Sorenson and Rosecrest is wholly and completely without any merit," Crane says.

Jim Sorenson agrees.

"People drew their own conclusions," he says. "But Herriman is an area that values tradition, its history and independence, and people want to maintain that."

Luke Sorenson says Rosecrest, if anything, is a master-planned community that has every detail sketched out — right down to the streets being named after roses and the rose stamps put on sidewalk corners.

"The size of the project presents a real opportunity," Luke Sorenson said. "Instead of planning 40 acres at a time, you're able to master plan the entire area. It will have all of the elements of a city within a community."

Critics may wonder how Herriman, which is still in its infancy, can provide the services to support such a project, but Crane is confident.

"It is always a challenge to provide municipal services to citizens," he said. "As we develop retail services, we will have a chance to develop additional services for people."


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