The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced this week it will start a significant makeover on the plaza on Temple Square.

The plaza sits between the Church Office Building, the Church Administration Building, the Joseph Smith Memorial Building and the Relief Society Building.

This project is part of the extensive and larger renovation of the Salt Lake Temple that began Jan. 1, 2020.

“The plaza currently has a system of circulating water for the fountain and other areas, surrounded by trees, flower gardens and grass. The renovation is needed because the water system and the concrete deck have been leaking for several years — a hazard for the parking garage underneath,” according to a church statement.

The new plaza will feature a new waterproofing system as well as ample green space and gardens that will enhance the visibility of the Salt Lake Temple.

“Our design of the landscaping on this plaza and around the temple will open up access and views to the temple and make it more inviting for people to feel welcome here on the grounds of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” said Andy Kirby, director of historic temple renovations for the church.

The redesign also will emphasize and celebrate the global makeup of a church of more than 16.5 million members in 196 nations and territories.

“We will remove this fountain, and we’ll have a large circle of flags here from many nations of the world to celebrate the international nature of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” Kirby said.

The plaza area reconstruction will last approximately 18 months. Construction will then focus on the Main Street Plaza.

When the Salt Lake Temple renovation was announced in the spring of 2019, Church President Russell M. Nelson said the project would “enhance, refresh and beautify the temple and its surrounding grounds.”

When the entire renovation is complete, the landscaping around Temple Square will feel like a natural extension of the temple grounds.

By the time the plaza renovation is complete, Kirby said, “the landscaping around the temple, Main Street Plaza and the church headquarters block will all be very similar. We’re trying to make it like it’s the same landscape and it all relates to the temple.”

In the meantime, the plaza will be closed to pedestrians and visitors. Construction is expected to begin by the end of January.

Daily Herald reporter Genelle Pugmire can be contacted at gpugmire@heraldextra.com, (801) 344-2910, Twitter

@gpugmire

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