Federal grant to enhance entry to Magna
Even more of Magna's historic Main Street will be spruced up, funded by a newly secured federal grant.
Salt Lake County will receive a $791,809 "Livable Streets" grant from the Federal Highway Administration to extend roadside amenities street lights as well as curb, gutter and sidewalk along Main Street (2700 South) from 8800 West eastward to about 8300 West.
"Those who live in and visit Magna will see lasting effects on the vitality of this community," County Mayor Peter Corroon said Wednesday at a news conference in the new Magna Library, a linchpin in the Main Street beautification project.
In 2005, as one of the first initiatives of his administration, Corroon launched the makeover of Magna's Main Street as a means of attracting more people and businesses to the historic mining town.
"First thing we want to do is stick a shovel into Main Street," he said in March of that year. Since then, the county invested more than $1.2 million into reconstructing 2700 South down to the ground from 8800 West on west to the town limits.
Sidewalks were widened on both sides of the street, curb and gutter were installed, parking turnouts were figured into the road design, pedestrian crosswalks too. Ramps were added to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. "We made it more user friendly," said County Public Works Operations Director M. Leon Barrett.
Now that the county is one of 83 recipients of the federal grant (out of 600 applicants), it's time to extend those amenities east along the main entryway to the business district.
"We intend to make it look as similar as possible," said county transportation engineer Andrea Pullos. "It is one community and this will make it more cohesive. We want it to look like one place."
Library Manager Trish Hull, also a Magna resident, said the improvements made to the town's west end have generated steady foot traffic to her facility, which serves 20,000 customers a month.
"To unify the community, we needed a place to identify as the center of town," she said. "This [road beautification project] gives Main Street that feel. Businesses won't come here if there's not a nice, attractive street to be on."
Dan Colosimo, a second-generation proprietor of Colosimo's Standard Market, said the earlier roadwork gave merchants and the community a boost.
"I can't tell you how many visitors have come through who say, 'Nice little town. It reminds me of home,' " he said. "If the county hadn't done up the streets the way they did, we'd be in shambles here. It's an honor that they invest that much money into the infrastructure. All we can say is thanks."
At another Magna institution near the east end of Main Street, Peel Funeral Home, funeral director Rick Zern welcomed news that improvements are headed his way.
"Any kind of upgrades we make on Magna Main Street enhance the opportunity to get more and better businesses, which brings more people into the community," he said.
Pullos said the county now will prepare an environmental design and buy a few small land parcels before seeking bids on the project next fall. Construction is expected to begin in spring 2014.
The Federal Highway Administration said its $792,000 grant for improvements to west 2700 South, Magna's Main Street, will "create a complete system connecting two redevelopment areas, multiple public facilities, private sector housing and commercial construction in Magna."