Vineyard continues to surprise city leadership with its steady growth. Even City Manager Jacob McHargue has been caught off guard.
According to city information, Vineyard is the fastest growing community in Utah. In 2010, there were only 130 residents. As of October, there are more than 15,000, according to McHargue.
“We are adding about 5,000 a year to the population,” McHargue said.
The small establishment of Vineyard has been around for more than 100 years. Most of the residents had either Holdaway or Gammon as a last name. During World War II, the Geneva Steel Mill was built in the city’s boundaries on 1,750 acres. The mill was in operation from 1944 to 2001.
The town of Vineyard was incorporated in 1989.
In 2005, the mill site was sold for $48.5 million to Anderson Geneva, a subsidiary of Anderson Development in Salt Lake City.
Over the next decade, efforts were in force to clean all of the mill’s hazardous waste and land so it could be developed for the city.
In Vineyard’s new commercial zone, north of the Vineyard Connector at approximately 1600 North, projects continue to be approved and transportation and businesses are opening up on a weekly basis.
“We just approved a 680-unit development,” McHargue said. “They are on an aggressive timeline.”
“I have seen Vineyard turn from a small hamlet into a thriving city,” said Julie Fullmer, Vineyard’s mayor. “Vineyard is growing faster than you think it is. We have new developments churning, and retiring farmers selling their properties and asking for rezones.”
Fullmer said her staff, city leaders and board members are constantly planning, reviewing and revising the 1-, 5-, 10- and 30-year plans, making sure that movement and growth are fluid.
“Things that a different city might regularly plan for in five years can happen in a few months for Vineyard,” Fullmer said “We are in a place where growth is a part of us and is part of how we function in our community currently. It’s exciting when you drive past new construction, and you know something new and refreshing is going to change the face of an area. It draws you in. You want to be a part of the change, the newness, the up-and-coming areas.”
Fullmer added, “Everywhere in Vineyard is like that. We have several new parks developing, commercial, schools, churches, houses, etc., and it’s not in a corner of our city. It is happening in the very center of it all. We are all in the middle of the action.”
She said it feels great to see signs popping up on the doors of restaurants, and to have parks become accessible for residents.
“There is something so refreshing about meeting the neighbor moving in and watching the construction truck drive away to another part of the city,” Fullmer said. “I know we are all excited to go eat before we head to the movies and stop at Starbucks on our way to work. It is only the beginning.”
Fullmer can’t give away names at the moment, but did say Vineyard has several new companies, grocers, and venues looking to shape the city. A handful of eateries built in front of the Megaplex Theatres are scheduled to open later this month.
“Our town center that was master planned a few years ago for 10-15 years in the future, we revised it a year ago to make sure our new residents had the same vision,” Fullmer said. “It is under revision again as we speak because (we need to be) on par with the growth happening in Utah, 6,000 new residents moved in this past year in Vineyard, and we are suddenly at the building phase of our city center and retail spaces.”
Vineyard has put in millions of dollars to prepare the cleanup and grading of the town center land located north of the Vineyard Connector and adjacent to the planned FrontRunner station between 800 North and 1200 North, Fullmer added.
“We are working without pause on our infrastructure to make sure our residents, visitors and incoming commercial can move through the city safely and with ease,” Fullmer said. “We are seeing Vineyard transform into an interconnected, multimodal city, with beautiful parks and exciting commercial. I can’t say what it will look like in the next few years, but the future holds so much more for Vineyard.”
Added to the Vineyard design are a lakeshore boardwalk along Utah Lake at Vineyard Road and approximately 1200 North. Fullmer said the city’s business center, located between 800 North and 1400 North, and wrapped by the Vineyard Connector to the west and south, is an entirely walkable and connected city from south to north and east to west. Besides the city center, a research park, UVU’s master campus and sports facilities (which has already been set in motion), a hotel district and shopping centers will be built between Center Street and 1200 North, west of the FrontRunner tracks and business center, according to Fullmer.
“Vineyard’s public works director and I have been meeting with UDOT and UTA regularly to determine the scope and design of the FrontRunner Station,” Fullmer said. “As you drive across the Vineyard Connector or north on Main Street, you can see the road infrastructure being laid down in the town center to prepare for the FrontRunner station.”
The footings for the station are in, and the design of the platform and the station is underway. McHargue said the completion of the station is slated for December 2019.
“Vineyard FrontRunner Station is going to breathe life into UVU’s Master Campus, and Vineyard’s Town Center,” Fullmer said. “The first designs have just been sent out for review by the stakeholders and City Council. It will include multimodal transit connectivity for pedestrians, bikers, cars, buses, shuttles, autonomous vehicles, and more to use the FrontRunner and eventually light rail.”
Fullmer said the station, located just north of the Vineyard Connector at about 800 North, is planned to be ADA accessible. It will allow people to walk right off the train, onto the platform, into the station to their next destination without stairs or ramps. It will open up into the town center to the west facing the walkable promenade that will stretch to the lake.
A pedestrian bridge is planned to connect to the eventual light rail platform and UVU’s Master Campus at the FrontRunner station on the east.
“We are working with experts in multiple fields to make sure we capture the vision of an easy flow of traffic, pedestrian-friendly corridors, and unique and lasting structures,” Fullmer said. “The station is being designed to have retail, a place that allows people to grab a coffee or smoothie in the morning and some breakfast on the way to school or work. There will be places to grab headphones or magazines for your ride to our international or regional airports. It will be more than a place to wait for a ride, but a place to socialize, connect, work, and transition.”
The design will incorporate special structural designs for parking and business to avoid a sea of parking and allow for better land use while accommodating the need for vehicles. It is planned to have future-facing technology to create an adaptable and yet specific platform needed in Vineyard. Glycol liquid hydro-technology is being reviewed for use to heat the platforms and reduce electrical risks/costs, according to Fullmer.
“Center Street overpass has been sent out to bid and is going in to create another access for our residents,” Fullmer said. “The Promenade in the city center is being donated to the city, and the structure is being laid this year. The rail line that runs along Geneva (Road) through Vineyard is under contract to be removed.
“I think the important thing to remember with growth is that while we don’t control the market, we can control how we grow as a city and make it sustainable,” Fullmer said. “We can’t stop growth, but we can plan for it, we can lay down infrastructure, we can put our vision into the growth. Vineyard is a beautiful city, with amazing people, and we have a bright future ahead of us.”