BOUNTIFUL — Bountiful has a new town square complete with separate ice skating and water features, and boosters are hoping it heralds big things for commerce and activity in the city center.

“It’s a serious investment by the city in the downtown (area) and keeping downtown alive,” said Bountiful Engineer Lloyd Cheney, who was instrumental in development of the project.

The Bountiful Ice Ribbon, as the skating feature is known, is a 520-foot-long loop and officials inaugurated it last Saturday.

“It’s been received extremely well,” said Mayor Randy Lewis, who sees the ice feature as a draw to the city center in the colder winter months. “It looks more kind of like a river, a winding river.”

The rest of the Bountiful Town Square was completed earlier this year and though new, it’s already generated positive feedback. A shallow water feature meant for wading winds through part of the plaza area and when it was turned on earlier this year “we couldn’t keep the kids out of there,” Lewis said. That’s meant to draw visitors during the summer and warmer months.

The town square is located off the southwest corner of 100 South and 100 East, just east of Main Street and Bountiful’s main commercial district. The old Stoker School building, constructed in 1904, sat on the property and it was torn down in 2017, to the chagrin of some, to make way for the new development. By and large, though, the project has the support of the community. “This will be a huge attraction, already is,” Lewis said.

A parking area is equipped with electrical connections for food trucks while the northern portion of the town square, featuring large shade trees, will host a farmers market in warmer months.

The plaza didn’t come without cost. The town square project cost came in at a little under $8 million, with about $3.5 million of that attributable to the ice skating feature, according to Cheney.

‘VISION FOR A COUPLE YEARS’Bountiful leaders have been discussing and debating the town square plans since at least 2017. “This project has been a vision for a couple years,” Lewis said.

The ice ribbon feature even generated support from surrounding communities as a project completed jointly with the South Davis Recreation District. Indeed, leaders from other cities served by the district, North Salt Lake, Woods Cross, Centerville and West Bountiful threw their support behind the proposal, paid for by Bountiful and a state grant, and it’s expected to draw residents from those locales.

“This joint venture, between Bountiful city and the South Davis Recreation District, will provide the community with an outdoor ice skating experience not found anywhere else in Davis County,” reads a press release announcing opening of the ice ribbon. It’s only the second ice feature of its sort in Utah and it generated honors as landscaping/urban development project of the year for 2020 from Associated General Contractors of Utah, a trade group.

Given the COVID-19 pandemic, ice ribbon users will have to reserve a skating time through the recreation district website, southdavisrecreation.com, to prevent overcrowding. Users also have to wear face coverings. Fees apply, though recreation district members will get “a large discount.”

Contact reporter Tim Vandenack at tvandenack@standard.net, follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/timvandenackreporter.

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