FARMINGTON -- City officials want to make Layton the most walkable city in Utah.
On Wednesday, they asked the Davis County Tourism Tax Advisory Board for help.
At the TTAB's monthly luncheon, Bill Wright, Layton's community and economic development director, gave a presentation concerning the first segment of the Conference Center Walkway. The project, when complete, will be a trail connecting the hotels, restaurants and businesses surrounding Davis Conference Center.
"It's an area in which we, as a city, need the trail," said Layton Mayor Steve Curtis, who also was at the meeting. "Just coming up with the resources necessary is the key."
Layton is proposing to split the costs of the first segment with the TTAB as well as local, private businesses.
"The cost of the segment should be shared by all who will benefit," Wright said.
The first segment will be a walkway north of the conference center, from Woodland Park Drive to 700 West. Layton estimated the total cost of the first segment to be $242,000.
Layton is prepared to put up $100,000 and asked the TTAB to do the same. City officials are confident that the remaining $42,000 can come from private businesses if the first $200,000 is put up front.
The TTAB group, consisting of area leaders, recommends to the Davis County Commission how the tourism tax revenues are to be spent. The county's tourism tax revenues are generated from the hotel, restaurant and car- rental taxes.
Wednesday's meeting ran long, so the board decided to meet again Oct. 25 at Davis Conference Center. If weather is cooperative, the board members will walk the area to judge the value of the proposed trail.
Layton broke down the proposed $242,000 into the following:
- 8-foot sidewalk connecting Woodland Park and 700 West ($56,000)
- Directional node at conference center stairway along the trail ($25,000)
- Lighting ($65,000), street furniture ($1,500), signage ($1,800) and green wall ($35,000) along trail
- Woodland Park Drive street crossing ($26,000)
- Total project contingency ($31,700)
Scott Lunt, general manager of Davis Conference Center, said connecting the area around the conference center is vital to bringing in more business. With 700 to 750 events at the conference center each year, Lunt said, tens of thousands of people are visiting the area each month.
"Not all of them have rental cars," Lunt said. "Some of them take shuttles or taxis from the airport."
Once those visitors are in Layton, Lunt and several hotel owners in the area say, those people often ask where they can walk around the hotel.
There are 1,830 hotel rooms available in Davis County, and 1,043 of those are in Layton. Because the majority of the county transient room tax comes from hotels that serve conference center visitors, Layton officials are confident the TTAB's investment will be returned as more visitors choose to come to Layton.
Barbara Riddle, Davis Area Convention & Visitor's Bureau CEO and president, said Davis County has lost business that would have gone to the conference center to like-sized cities because the visitors wanted a walkable downtown.
"Things are there, clustered together, but there's no real connectivity," Riddle said. "A connecting trail is needed and is no longer the frosting on the cake."