Fundraising underway for $50 million arts center in Wasatch County

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

The city and a developer work together to pay for most of the parts in the neighborhood. The non-profit arts council is responsible for funding the community center in this district.

“It’s a big project; we need to go out and raise $50 million,” Joshua Jewkes, a lawyer representing the arts council. “It’s a lot of money, but it’s happening, and it will happen.”

The target date to start construction is by 2029, but planners have said they hope to be ready before this year.

He said fundraisers will primarily seek contributions from private donors, but may also try to get help from local governments.

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

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

“It’s amazing, and it’s going to be amazing for 100 years,” councilman Mike Johnston said.

Members of the Wasatch County arts community spoke out in favor of the town of Heber using tax districts to help fund an arts district in February. This money will go towards other projects in the Arts District like the amphitheater and parks, as well as infrastructure for the development.

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

Follow this link to learn more about the proposed community arts centre.

William E. Bennett