Never mind about the route for Phase 3 of the streetcar, or parking and congestion in downtown Sugar House. What the heck has happened to all the street trees?
On both sides of 2100 South, there are holes where the trees used to be. Seventeen trees were removed last spring from the Monument Plaza and the sidewalks north and south of it. Without the foliage, passersby have a disappointing view of tired old buildings and empty commercial spaces.
In anticipation of re-modeling the plaza and adjacent streetscape improvements, the healthiest of the large honey locusts were dug up and put into storage, to be replanted on the plaza in the fall. Other trees were relocated to City parks. As an additional mitigation measure, Salt Lake City Redevelopment Agency is paying for 62 large-caliper trees to be planted elsewhere in the City.
By October, the sidewalks will be repaired with new non-slip concrete and pavers, and all the holes on both sides of 2100 South will be replanted with the surviving honey locust, robust American elms and ash trees.
Ben Davis, project coordinator for the RDA, said, “We are excited about the Monument Plaza expansion and Sugar House streetscape plan. It was designed in collaboration with the community, through an extensive outreach effort that started two years ago. The public wanted a large open space with trees and vegetation, which could accommodate major Sugar House activities like the Farmers’ Market.”
Remodeling of the plaza will begin July 7, and be finished by the end of October. Davis said it won’t be a vacant plaza; people of all ages will gather in shaded, outdoor rooms, or rest on seating walls, with their feet in the water of the shallow skim pond.
A mid-block walkway will extend south from the plaza, through the entire block to the S-line streetcar station on Sugarmont Ave. The 32’ pedestrian walkway, called a Paseo, creates additional retail frontage for several new stores in Mecham Management’s “Vue of Sugar House Crossing” on the east, and the Rockwood building on the west.
The missing trees exposed the need for a facelift for the Rockwood property, and new doors and windows on the north and east sides of the building will activate the midblock walkway, as will outdoor seating for the restaurants that will open when the plaza and Paseo are finished.
It won’t be long now before all of the holes are filled, with the right trees in all the right spaces.