This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
West Jordan • Big fields of yellow cheat grass stretching for miles along both sides of Mountain View Corridor could be a financial gold mine for Salt Lake County's west-side cities if developed properly.
So the mayors of Salt Lake County and several south-valley cities gathered Monday to announce formation of a commission to guide a collaborative approach to economic development along the still-developing highway at roughly 6000 West.
"We must seize this opportunity for the economic benefit of our regional community and cities," county Mayor Ben McAdams said, adding that the county will contribute $200,000 to the cause.
The need for a collegial approach became evident during the fractious fight over West Jordan's efforts to woo a Facebook data center with about $250 million worth of tax incentives, McAdams said.
He led the county's fight against the incentive package West Jordan assembled with state support, but in the process, he came to realize the prospective Facebook property was among a treasure trove of lands along the billion-dollar highway corridor.
McAdams said he expects his proposed Mountain View Economic Development Commission will take "a reflective and deliberative approach that creates an environment that makes sense for economic development," he added.
Joining McAdams at a news conference in a Rio Tinto distribution center parking lot were the mayors of Herriman and Riverton, a South Jordan economic development official and County Councilman Richard Snelgrove.
While West Jordan officials did not speak, two city representatives were on hand to hear what McAdams had to say, West Jordan City Manager Mark Palesh said later.
He wasn't certain what to make of McAdams' proposal, wondering whether it might duplicate the activities of a growth group formed several years ago by cities in the southern and western valley.
That group met monthly, sometimes more frequently, to "talk about all the growth going west," Palesh said. "Is this [new commission] going to be a duplicate of something better than we have? I'm waiting to hear the substance of it. Until then, I can't really make a determination. I support any ideas that might benefit our city."
Dave Robinson, McAdams' Republican opponent this November, called the announcement a "simple election stunt. … Six weeks prior to the election, McAdams now takes notice of the west side."
The mayors at the news conference were enthusiastic about the commission's prospects.
Herriman Mayor Carmen Freeman said Mountain View Corridor is his southwestern city's primary access route to downtown Salt Lake City, so it's incumbent to "develop it in a way that is satisfactory to all."
To Riverton Mayor Bill Applegarth, McAdams "has a vision of what needs to happen. It's important to bring us together to plan what this great asset [Mountain View Corridor] can be."
There's no time to waste, McAdams noted, pointing out that the news conference was in an area where several industry titans have established a presence. Nearby, additional streets cross empty fields in anticipation of serving future businesses.
On Prosperity Drive, for instance, a massive Boeing manufacturing plant dominates one side of the street, across from the offices and warehouses of PRC cold storage, Intermountain Ornamental, and Black and McDonald, a global contracting company.
Sysco, Dannon, SnugZ, Würth and Royal Wholesale Electric have sizable plants in what's called Bingham Business Park, the kind of orderly development McAdams foresees for the emerging corridor.
In 2012, the Utah Department of Transportation completed the first 12 miles of the highway with two lanes in each direction between 16000 South and 5400 South.
Eventually, the highway will extend north to 2100 South.