LAYTON — “If you build it, they will come.”
Not only is that one of the most-quoted lines in one of Hollywood’s favorite baseball movies, “Field of Dreams,” but the saying also describes Gabe Garn’s feelings about a potential concrete walkway trail system that would create a shorter, more pedestrian-friendly path between the Davis Conference Center and the hotels surrounding it.
“I sincerely believe this is the same thing,” said Garn, general manager at the Home2Suites in Layton. “Once we build it and create an atmosphere, we will get larger groups staying with us.”
Layton city officials hope business owners, whose restaurants and hotels are near the center, share Garn’s opinion.
City officials plan to ask local businesses and restaurants, which will benefit from the trail, to chip in a total of $41,000.
While business owners have not been asked yet for a specific amount, some are already planning to help out.
“I want to see it happen, so I’m willing,” said Kym Buttschardt, who, along with her husband, Pete, owns Roosters Brewing Companies.
“We’re calling it ‘paying to play,’ and we’re in support of it. We’ll invest in the project, because it’s a good improvement for the area, and part of our business philosophy is living a healthy lifestyle.”
Developer Kevin Garn, who owns multiple hotels in the immediate area, including the Home2Suites, declined to comment for this story.
The first phase of the trail system will be a lighted 8-foot-wide walkway running in an east-west direction from the north end of the conference center parking lot, costing an estimated $241,000.
Layton city has pledged $100,000, and the Davis County Tourism Tax Advisory Board has agreed to recommend to the Davis County Commission that Layton city receive $100,000 from the tourism revenue fund.
The rest is up to those who could profit from having hotel visitors walking.
Gabe Garn said having the trails would help hotels attract bigger groups, which would put more money into the fund to pay for part of the trail.
“When we can get bigger groups, that’s more dollars. A lot of our hotels fund this (tourism revenue) fund, so it’s only going to add to that fund.”
The tourism tax advisory board receives its funding from the county’s tourism tax, which consists of a hotel room tax, a restaurant tax and a vehicle rental tax.
That revenue, around $4.4 million per year, must be used for projects that promote tourism for the county.
Because local businesses are already contributing to the fund that will pay for part of the trail, Buttschardt admits it kind of feels as though businesses are being asked to pay a second time.
But, she said, the trail will be worth the extra money.
“You can’t foresee everything. In this economy, it needs to happen, and people need to share the cost.”