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Legacy looking at scenic-byway status

To qualify, the parkway will need a master plan

FARMINGTON — Although its fame may never match that of the venerable Route 66 or spawn a catchy song, the Legacy Parkway may one day become Utah's seventh National Scenic Byway.

But before planners can go down that road, they have to make sure travelers can get their kicks on the Davis County highway.

Some people may scoff at Legacy's scenic status, said Davis County tourism coordinator Neka Roundy, but there's plenty to admire from the road.

Snow-crested Wasatch Mountains line the eastern edge of Davis County, and Antelope Island looms in the west. There are thousands of acres of wetlands and nature preserves, and during the spring and fall, thousands of migratory birds call the Great Salt Lake's wetlands home.

The lake actually has global significance as birds make their transcontinental journeys between Canada and South America.

Utah thinks Legacy is scenic, too. The highway received state scenic byway status in 2002, a status that will take effect as soon as the first car drives through in 2008.

Scenic status means people will drive Legacy just because it will be marked with little blue dots on a map. People will know there's something special there, Roundy says.

But the parkway needs a master plan and a coordinated effort among five Davis County cities and the county's government to make it happen.

The plan would ensure that development along the Legacy corridor wouldn't take away from the natural views seen from the parkway.

Roundy is working with Sharen Hauri, a land planner with the Grassli Group, to get a master plan and ordinances in place in Farmington, Centerville, West Bountiful, Woods Cross, North Salt Lake and Davis County to set the foundation for applying for National Scenic Byway status, a process that could take years.

The most recent designations of National Scenic Byways were in 2005.

Participating county entities each kicked in about $5,000 for Hauri to develop a model ordinance and design guidelines for development in the Legacy corridor.

Hauri's proposed plan will set the rules for the parkway's theme, which is to be pastoral, simple and human-scale.

Guidelines include color suggestions: subdued hues, non-reflective materials and natural textures. Already, the parkway's overpasses are designed with earth-toned bricks, and areas around pedestrian walkways will feature trees, boulders and ponds.

None of the trees should be conifers, though, the plan says, because conifers aren't normally found in Utah's flatter parts.

Streetscapes should have a unified theme, standard lights, benches and trash receptacles and coordinated signage.

"The whole point is to have it look pretty unified," Roundy said.

More information on National Scenic Byways is available at www.byways.org.


E-mail: jdougherty@desnews.com