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WEST VALLEY CITY - By 2010, Utah's second-largest city hopes to have a thriving downtown, a walkable marketplace teeming with life and mass-transit options.

Now it has an old mall struggling to survive.

"In five years, this city center will be quite different," predicted Joseph Moore, West Valley's community and economic-development director.

"We deserve to have an area where we can shop and feel good about," added Dick Flack, who managed the mall for 28 years, ending in early 1998.

Flack was one of 20 residents - 400 invitations were mailed out - who attended City Hall meetings Tuesday as part of an ongoing effort to keep them informed about redevelopment plans.

The block adjacent to the aging Valley Fair Mall - bounded by 3500 South, 2700 West, 3650 South and 2950 West - is slated for a new transit hub, walkable plaza, lots of parking and lively, mixed-use development.

"We're proposing form-based zoning for this area," Moore said. "We may be the first in Utah to try it, and we think it has merit." Under such zoning, each street - with wider sidewalks and medians, plus landscaping - has its own theme and feel.

Residential portions, intermixed with office and retail space, will sport bay and recessed windows, balconies, cornices and pitched roofs. Commercial buildings could have parapets, arches and other design treatments - all intended to convey an urban ambience.

"The ordinance has photos of what we're aiming at and standards to achieve that," Moore said. "It's not a cookie-cutter ordinance and won't work elsewhere."

Some commercial uses will be barred - such as check-cashing establishments, car lots, landfills, sexually oriented businesses, tattoo parlors, jails and storage units.

This block is currently home to City Hall, Staples, Toys "R" Us, America First Credit Union, an LDS church and several older homes, some of which are rentals owned by the Utah Transit Authority.

The church - in need of significant renovation - is being purchased by the city and will be torn down for parking.

Under the new plan, Market Street will close between Lehman Avenue and 3650 South, and an attractive plaza will be installed. Market Street from 3500 South to Lehman will be straightened to accommodate the new transit hub.

The hub's first phase will feature 10 bus bays and a terminal for current bus service and the future bus rapid-transit line. By 2012, light rail also will feed into it, rounding out the mass-transit options planned to converge in West Valley City's new downtown.

This 10-mile BRT line will extend from 8400 West in Magna to the Millcreek TRAX station at about 200 West and 3300 South in South Salt Lake.

BRT service provides more frequent, faster buses, which in some areas have dedicated traffic lanes and TRAX-like stations. The pilot project is intended to show that more frequent, faster buses will increase ridership, UTA project manager Hal Johnson says.

Resident Janine Coltrain, who lives near the church, has attended meetings on the subject for two years.

"We're tired of the uncertainty, tired of people knowing more than we do," Coltrain said. "But I feel good tonight. We need the security of knowing what our future is - all we want is the truth."

Timeline for WVC center and transit hub

* Major Investment Study (MIS) completed in March 2001 for transportation corridor connecting West Valley City to Salt Lake City. Light rail was recommended between 2100 South TRAX station and West Valley City's transit hub to be built at Valley Fair Mall. That hub plan failed.

* The city, in December 2004, adopted its City Center Vision Plan to redevelop the block encompassing City Hall at 3650 South and 2700 West. Hub plans shift to this location. Bus rapid-transit (BRT) service is identified as part of a multimodal solution to congestion along 3500 South.

* City teams with Woodbury Corp. in August to develop the mixed-use city center. Officials work with Wilbur Smith & Associates in October to select a preferred alternative for a new transit hub west of Market Street, between 3650 South and Lehman Avenue.

* What's next: Environmental Assessment for new hub will be submitted in February to the Federal Transportation Administration, which could respond with a decision in March. If favorable, hub construction could begin in July with an early 2007 opening date. BRT service could be offered around the same time.

Valley Fair Mall plans

* Sandy-based Satterfield Helm Management Inc. purchased the mall in October. By spring, Satterfield Helm hopes to unveil significant renovation plans, which could bring new tenants to the mall property adjacent to the nearby transit hub.

* Total investment in the mall could range from $20 to $50 million. Renovation could begin in the spring of 2007.