CLEARFIELD -- Moving forward with the Clearfield Station project, a $120 million mixed-use development just east of the FrontRunner station, all hinged on Davis School District agreeing to get into the mix as a partner.
At the recent school board meeting in Farmington, a motion to enter into a resolution between Davis School District and Clearfield Community Development and Renewal Agency passed with a 6 to 1 vote. Just two weeks prior to the vote, it wasn't looking like the board would agree to the partnership, citing concerns over the district's limited budget.
Clearfield City and Davis County had already approved interlocal agreements with the renewal agency in previous months, with the school district being the last piece of the equation before the project could move forward.
The board's concerns at a board workshop earlier in January were met with a plea from former Clearfield Mayor Don Wood.
"We have been working on this project for 10 years, and this is our third developer while the land sits in its current deteriorating state," said Wood. "It's imperative we have sufficient funding for this project. For 10 years you have forfeited every dime of tax dollars that property could have developed."
Jason Burningham, consultant with the development agency, expressed concern if the board didn't agree to the interlocal agreement, saying the project would not be able to move forward without the contributed funds from the district.
The 126-acre project is slated to go in at 1150 S. State St. in Clearfield, which includes 70 acres of currently vacant land next to the Clearfield FrontRunner station and another 56 acres just east of the Freeport Center. The plan is to convert the unused property into fully taxable property that tax entities can benefit from, which includes the school district.
Since Utah Transit Agency owns part of the land, UTA's vested interest in the project involves promoting ridership on FrontRunner, through means of additional jobs in the area and multifamily housing units close to the station. Originally UTA wanted 3,000 apartment units built, which Clearfield immediately vetoed. Eventually, the two entities were able to come to a compromise with 550 units.
The project expects nearly 1,600 jobs to be created, many of them in the technology sector, and 900 of them expected to be new to Davis County, according to Burningham.
As part of the plans, a certain portion of the acreage needs to be developed as community development. Burningham said the project is looking at the possibility of a charter school, though the space could be used as a library, ball field, or other school facility.
Before giving his consent to the agreement, board member David Lovato said, "This is a solid project and good for north Davis County, and in the long run, will benefit Davis School District."
Board member Burke Larsen said it was the most difficult development question he's seen as a board member.
"At first I was inclined to say no, but what Mayor Wood said about how difficult it has been to put together swayed me," said Larsen. "It's not a 10 in terms of nice development, but I'm comfortable voting for it."
Board member Peter Cannon was the dissenting vote.
"Clearfield City probably would have done this long ago, but now we are being forced into doing something rather than letting us develop it the way we want to," Cannon said.
Now that the interlocal agreement is in place with the school district, Clearfield's Renewal Agency plans to immediately move forward with the 20-year-long project.