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Fundraising underway for $50 million arts center in Wasatch County

Wasatch Arts Center.jpg
Wasatch County Arts Council
An unofficial rendering shows the concept of an arts center planned in Heber City.

A Wasatch County nonprofit is seeking to raise $50 million to build an arts center in Heber City.

Plans for a 40-acre arts district near the Utah Valley University Wasatch Campus include an amphitheater, sculpture park and school facilities. The Wasatch County Arts Council is planning a cultural hub for arts groups to work and perform.

The city and a developer are collaborating to pay for most pieces of the district. The arts council nonprofit is in charge of funding the community center within that district.

“This is a big project; we’ve got to go out and raise $50 million,” Joshua Jewkes, a lawyer representing the arts council. “That’s a lot of money, but it’s in progress, and it will happen.”

The target date to begin construction is by 2029, but planners said they hoped to be ready before that year.

He said fundraisers will mostly seek contributions from private donors but may try to get local governments to help as well.

He said the facility will create a much-needed place for Heber Valley musicians, actors, visual artists and others. He also said the arts council would bring in outside performers and boost tourism.

At Tuesday’s regular meeting, the Heber City Council unanimously approved an agreement to lease 4 acres to the arts council for the center for $1 a year. Councilmember Mike Johnston said he was more than happy to do so.

“This is amazing, and it’s going to be amazing for 100 years,” Councilman Mike Johnston said.

Members of the Wasatch County arts community came out in strong support of Heber City using taxing districts to help fund an arts district in February. That money will go to other projects within the arts district like the amphitheater and parks, as well as infrastructure within the development.

These projects are eligible for RAP tax funding, which is a recreation, arts and parks tax. Wasatch County will vote on whether to adopt that sales tax in the amount of a penny for every $10 spent this November. In last year’s election, the county also tried to pass a RAP tax, but it failed by eight votes.

Follow this link for more on the proposed community arts center.

Ben Lasseter reports for KPCW in Wasatch County. Before moving to Heber City, Ben worked in Manti as a general assignment newspaper reporter and editor.
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