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Monday, November 17, 2008

University Healthcare at Daybreak

Kennecott Land released a statement today about a new medical care facility that will be built right here in Daybreak. While this facility is not as massive as the hospitals located near the University of Utah or in Murray, the statement indicates that the facility will only be the first phase of a medical “campus” to be built in the coming years as Daybreak is built to completion.

This first phase will feature a 150,000 square ft. building that will be situated on about 10 to 15 acres. To get a perspective of the size of this first facility, the Rio Tinto Corporate Center that presently stands next to Oquirrh Lake is 175,000 square ft. So it will be a little smaller, but not much. Within this space the University plans to incorporate primary and specialty care along with radiology. They will also have a pharmacy and vision care center there as well. Not a bad start to what will be a regional medical center.

Future plans include an expansion of the campus that will take up to 50 acres to be situated near TRAX and the Mountain View Corridor. This future medical campus will include a full-service hospital, surgery and imaging center and an AIRMED base. From my perspective this facility and future campus will be a major boost to Kennecott Land’s Daybreak plans. Having quality medical care nearby is an attractive proposition to the massive demographic wave of baby boomers. These are people who will need medical care close at hand and will move to a neighborhood like Daybreak to be near it. Hundreds of workers will be employed and will be spending their lunch breaks at nearby cafes and might decide that it would be nice to be able to walk to work. While many of the workers will be support staff, other employees will include doctors, nurses, technicians and managers. Professionals that will seek a nice neighborhood nearby to live in.

All of these benefits along with the impact it will have on the local economy and tax base has convinced me that this move is a true stroke of genius by Kennecott Land. However, as I have mentioned in earlier posts, this medical facility will need to be integrated into the community seamlessly. This can be accomplished with good planning and design of which Kennecott Land has certainly demonstrated so far with Daybreak. Hopefully this trend will continue. However, I can’t help but notice a peculiar yet increasingly common sequence of events in this case. First Kennecott donates a mass of money to support the new Utah Museum of Natural History at the University of Utah and now the University plans its new regional care facility to be in Daybreak. Of course we have seen this with many other capital projects in which Rio Tinto has an interest. You scratch my back and I will scratch yours.

Monday, November 3, 2008

East / West Mobility - The 114th South Corridor

If you live in in the Southwestern portion of Salt Lake County (South Jordan, Herriman, Riverton) and commute, then you probably already know how difficult it can be to drive eastward toward I-15 in the mornings and back again after work. This East - West mobility issue has been a problem for decades. While different roads have been widened to help alleviate traffic, it has always been too little to late.

For Daybreak residents, this new corridor will provide a straight line connecting the community to the largest transportation artery in Utah. This aspect of the plan definitely gets a thumbs up from me. However, to accomplish this, we will be displacing long-time residents of South Jordan. That is the price of progress, but I consider it a costly one. While many may argue that building another road is not the answer, I would have to disagree. This simply provides another option and relieves the congestion on 106th and 123rd. This road will accomodate the current population with TRAX and the Mountain View Corridor addressing future population growth.

Construction could begin as early as late November 2008 with a completion date of fall 2010. Construction will widen the road from four lanes to five, add bike lanes and sidewalks as well as a bridge over Union Pacific and Utah Transit Authority tracks near the Jordan River. The road will connect to I-15 using the usual interchange seen on 106th and 123rd.

Early Light Academy Enrollment to Begin

The Early Light Academy, a new charter school in Daybreak opening in fall 2009, will begin the enrollment process in combination with a parent information night on Thursday (Nov.6) at 7:00 pm. This free session, open to the pubic, will be held at the Daybreak Community Center. In addition to learning about the enrollment and lottery process, parents will have the opportunity to meet the Early Light Academy’s governing board and their chosen team of experts
including Academica West, Atlas Architects, and K12 Inc.

Granted approval by the Utah State Board of Education, the public school will accept kindergarten through eighth grade during its first year, adding the ninth grade in Fall 2010. At full capacity, total enrollment will be at 750 students. Classroom size will not exceed 25 students.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Trees for Daybreak

The street that I called home when I was a child was lined with trees. Any memory that I have while playing in my neighborhood includes these long-lived giants. They were planted long before I was born and will probably outlive me even if I live to be 100. The shade they gave during the hot summer months, the brilliant colors and piles of leaves in the fall, the climate and peace of mind that they provided was more valuable than any other amenity. Sara Ebenreck said that trees outstrip most people in the extent and depth of their work for the public good.

Considering these memories, I am glad that the landscape plan for Daybreak calls for the planting of 100,000 trees among the 4200 acres that will eventually make up the whole of the community. It is one of the major reasons that I moved here. Most of the trees in Daybreak are just getting started, but given time will grow to be the same green sentinels that I enjoyed in my old neighborhood.

This transformation will dramatically affect every aspect of life in Daybreak. For example, one of the main underlying philosophies of Daybreak is conservation and smart growth. We are building homes that are energy efficient, planting water-wise plants and reducing runoff among other things. All of these efforts will be reinforced by the planting of trees.

  • "The net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day."—U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • "Landscaping can reduce air conditioning costs by up to 50 percent, by shading the windows and walls of a home." — American Public Power Association
  • "The planting of trees means improved water quality, resulting in less runoff and erosion. This allows more recharging of the ground water supply." —USDA Forest Service

Trees help the environment in more direct ways as well. Especially in Utah, the temperature underneath a tree can be much cooler. By using trees in our neighborhoods, we moderate the heat-island effect caused by the heat radiated by pavement, buildings, and other hardscapes. The quality of the air we breathe is improved by trees as the leaves filter dust and other particulates. Trees also absorb other pollutants such as carbon monoxide, ozone, sulfur dioxide and recycle it into oxygen.

One of the most interesting affects trees have is on your pocketbook. Besides saving money by lowering energy costs, trees can increase the value of your property. A house with mature trees can be worth 5 to 20 percent more than homes of similar size and quality.

But when will these benefits be realized? While the full benefits will not be realized for at least a generation, proportioned benefits will be realized along the way. Depending on the growth rate of the variety of trees planted in Daybreak, some will take much longer. I personally look forward to a fall day 20 years from now when the trees are turning colors and the children are crunching the leaves under their feet. If you have any other reservations about planting trees in Daybreak, then just look at the two pictures below. The same street photographed at different times (no digital manipulation) one with trees and one without. Which street would you rather live on?