Saratoga Springs Planning for Walkable, ‘Heart of Community’ Downtown Area

Saratoga Springs Planning for Downtown Area

Written by Starhaven Villas

April 24, 2024

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There’s no doubt Utah County has grown tremendously in the last 10 years with Saratoga Springs being one of the cities on the rise. The city is working to keep up with the increase by developing more areas, including erecting a new City Hall and, more recently, ambitions to establish a “thriving downtown.”

Released just last week and first reported by KSL.com, the most recent downtown master plan was characterized by city officials as a vision framework that will assist the city in exploring ideas for the future downtown and as a joint effort between the city and property owners. Approximately 1200 North to 600 North, the 200-acre tract would be situated between Pioneer Crossing and Foothill Boulevard, soon becoming a part of Mountain View Corridor.

Central Gathering Space

The proposed downtown plan aims to create adaptable open areas suitable for various events throughout the year, such as festivals, markets, and recreational activities. City officials emphasize the inclusion of art installations and features that connect the area to Utah Lake and the surrounding mountains. The plan envisions a pedestrian-friendly space with plazas and amenities at its core, offering opportunities for performing arts, outdoor dining, and recreational pursuits. We designed the central gathering space to be versatile, accommodating mixed uses while maintaining a cohesive architectural style and an inviting atmosphere that reflects the character of Saratoga Springs.

The master plan for Saratoga Springs’ downtown area was inspired by Mountain View Village in Riverton, Utah, and the Pearl and Riverwalk districts in San Antonio, Texas. City planners organized two public events to gather input from residents on their vision for downtown. Public feedback played a significant role in shaping the project’s vision, guiding principles, and design. City officials aim to develop a downtown with diverse uses to attract more residents and foster economic activity in the city center. They aspire to create a central space that serves as the civic hub and primary employment center of Saratoga Springs.

Planners Propose Five ‘Place Types’

The plan outlines five distinct “place types” that will constitute the downtown area, although these concepts are still in the early stages and subject to change.

  1. Walkable Urban Center: Designed to be a pedestrian-friendly “urban core,” this section will span eight blocks. Main Street, which runs along Pioneer Crossing, will operate as a center for neighborhood events, including food trucks and outdoor cafes. Saratoga Square, a 2.8-acre open area in Main Street, will host events and meetings alongside shops and restaurants. Saratoga Square will have the focal point of a distinctive structure that emphasizes the arts. The urban center, with plans for a landmark at the end of Main Street, will occupy around 28.7 acres.
  2. Neighborhood Commercial Area: Encircling the city center, this area will include a mix of townhomes, retail, and office buildings.
  3. Business Park: The idea is to offer various job options close to homes by including office buildings, light industrial areas, and retail stores.
  4. Town Neighborhoods: The range of housing alternatives close to the urban and commercial hub will cater to different requirements and tastes.
  5. Regional Retail: This area will have big and small retail structures thoughtfully located at significant highway and transit corridor crossings. The proposal calls for residential buildings to be built in nearby locations, even though housing will not be directly included in this area.

City Leaders Studying Transportation Logistics

The downtown development will include frontage road extensions to provide access, with Medical Drive and Market Street serving as collectors that traverse the region. Before installation, city authorities promised to conduct more research on the link to the transportation grid network and potential transit stops.

The concept stressed regulating the heights of all structures to retain unhindered vistas of the mountains and lake by taking advantage of the grade variation of the land’s terrain.

Planners say the design promotes “park once and walk,” combining surface and structured parking and short- and long-term parking alternatives in several smaller parking facilities rather than a single, massive one.

Saratoga Springs has a young population; hence, family-friendly areas are essential to the downtown. The master plan notes that designers also want the downtown area to have a “small-town feeling” where people might shop, run into neighbors, and assemble for events based on public input.

Leaders said that by generating more money and “helping to balance fluctuating sales tax revenues with more stable property taxes,” the planned downtown area will have a “significant part in the city’s overall financial health.”

Though completion may take up to ten years or more, the planned downtown area will most likely be executed in stages, starting in the next two years.

To see the full plan, please view
https://www.saratogasprings-ut.gov/DocumentCenter/View/139/City-Center-District-Area-Plan-.

Living in Saratoga Springs

We’re excited to see these changes happening in Saratoga Springs and are proud to be part of this growing community. If you’ve reached retirement age and are considering a city in Utah to move to, consider our senior living community, Starhaven Villas, right here in Saratoga Springs. Our new homes are a short distance away from the proposed downtown area of Saratoga Springs, putting you close to shopping, dining and more. Contact us to learn more about our 55+ homes or to schedule a walkthrough of our community.

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