BY JENNIFFER WARDELL
Clipper Staff Writer
NORTH SALT LAKE – City officials are hoping North Salt Lake’s west side will prove more appealing than the east.
The North Salt Lake City Council is still seeking approvals for their Redwood Road Community Development Agreement, which would give the city funding to add lighting, vegetation and sidewalks. City officials hope that the improvements will be more successful in attracting retailers than the Eaglewood Village development, which so far only has apartment buildings.
“Every redevelopment project area has some unique challenges,” said North Salt Lake Community Development Director Ken Leetham. “For Eaglewood Village, it’s the high-speed road and the fact that it was once a gravel pit. It’s going to take time for people to realize it’s a great location.”
Though Redwood Road faces the same challenge, officials hope that making the area look more attractive will help speed up the process.
Plans include the addition of medians, a network of sidewalks and improved lighting for both cars and pedestrians. In addition, the city will increase the greenery along the roadway.
“We’ll plant trees and grass everywhere it’s missing,” said Leetham. “We’re trying to beautify the area.”
Whether or not any of this happens, however, depends on the opinion of other taxing entities in the county. North Salt Lake and the Davis School District have both approved donating a portion of any future property taxes they might get from the area, but the county and other groups haven’t yet. According to Leetham, the city is planning to seek those approvals over the next month.
After that, property owners and developers come into play. Though the CDA will allow the city to offer benefits to those who build in the area, Leetham said that the city’s actual financial investment in the area would remain strictly with the aesthetic improvements.
“There’s no real way for us to lose money on the project,” he said. “It’s the developers who are taking the risk. We’re simply putting the tools in place to help cultivate businesses.”
He added that the city hasn’t lost money on Eaglewood Village, located along Highway 89 near the city hall building. Though the development has yet to attract any of the office or retail it promised during its 2007 groundbreaking, Leetham said that the city only invested in road and drainage improvements.
On the west side, however, city officials are hoping for more. Leetham said officials hope for a mix of retail options to come into the area, and would even consider a big box store such as Walmart or Target.
“We’d love to see all different types,” he said. “The residents on the west side are under-served.”