DEDICATION & RIBBON CUTTING - MONDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2007 - 5:00 PM RECEPTION • 5:30 PM CEREMONY - CLICK HERE FOR MORE
The Heart of Our CommunityDIXIE SPIRIT
Heritage, pride, and perseverance are all synonymous with the pioneering spirit that made St. George what it is today. While looking through archives of historical photos and reading journals from those who settled this beautiful yet desolate land, one gains a better understanding of the term, “the Dixie Spirit.” It was that spirit that led to the creation of irrigation systems that brought flourishing life to this small western town during the mid part of the 19th century. Irrigation water brought crops to life, quenched the thirst of both man and beast and laid way for a city to be cut out of sandstone and sage brush. After more than 140 years a memorial has been created to celebrate the history and importance of irrigation in St. George. Welcome to the Water Walk on Historic Main Street.
The Water Walk begins at the northern most end of Main Street with the creation of the Brooks Nature Park and Cox Pond. The Cox Pond, located on the east side of the street was created in the 1900’s as an irrigation pond that supplied water to residents and businesses in the downtown area and made a great swimming hole on hot summer days. The Brooks Nature Park envelopes this pond and features a small amphitheatre, nature trail, shade structure parking lot and connection to the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve trail system. The pond is fed by a series of springs and serves as the head waters for the Water Walk.
The focal point of the Water Walk can be found just north of the existing St. George Social Hall at the Pioneer Center for the Arts. There you will find a new plaza and parking lot adorned with plants and flowers and a memorial to the legacy of irrigation in Southern Utah. The Water Master, a bronze created by L’Deane Trueblood and Annette Everett and donated to the City by the Cox family, will tend a head gate symbolizing the importance of the water turn to irrigators.
A system of irrigation ditches will convey water along a retaining wall in front of the U.S. Post Office on Main Street all the way to St. George Boulevard where the water will be captured in a pipe to feed the water features at the Main Street Plaza building.
Historically, the parcel of land south of the Woodward School all the way to 100 South Street was known as the Parade Grounds. It was here that soldiers returning home from war were honored for their service to country and community. It was very important to Mayor McArthur and the City Council that this area remain a gathering place for events and activity.
The St. George Town Square is more than just a park. It is a space specifically designed with events in mind. It’s hard not to notice the Square’s most prominent feature: Heritage Tower. This 45-foot structure includes four, eight-foot stained glass windows that depict moments in St. George’s history. This feature, known as “Portholes of the Past” will be backlit at night and stand as a reminder of the areas proud heritage. It also provides theatrical sound, lighting and power for performances and other activities on the Square. Other features at the Square include: a splash pad, winding river, traditional pioneer crops, restrooms, additional power outlets for events, interactive irrigation water feature, bronze exhibit areas, a flag memorial, parade grounds, festival grounds and an amphitheater. As you walk around the Square see if you can identify the historical and geographical symbolism of the features.
The Water Walk and Town Square and other new improvements in the downtown are far more than simple beautification projects. Utilities such as water lines, sewer lines, storm drains, gas lines and communications cabling were all in need of serious attention due to aging and were incorporated into the improvements. While utilities were being replaced it made sense to also reconstruct parts of north Main Street to fix existing drainage problems and eliminate rough driving conditions. Improvements have also been made to make area roads and sidewalks more convenient and safer for pedestrians.
Mayor McArthur and members of the St. George City Council firmly believe that the health and economic vitality of a community is best reflected in its downtown, the heart of the city. Creating a destination in the heart of our city is the principle motivation for the improvements. These improvements represent the beginning of a bright future for what will always be referred to as historic St. George. The State of Utah will soon begin construction of a new Fifth District Courthouse on the property currently known as West Elementary. This will undoubtedly spawn more economic progress and development in the area.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints decided to take the opportunity to address some landscape and parking lot issues around the historic Tabernacle building as part of the Town Square project. The church agreed to pay for brick pavers in its parking lot to match those at the new county library and redo some concrete and landscaping around the building. Washington County, Washington County School District and the LDS Church have all played a pivotal role in making the Town Square a reality.
Funding for the Town Square and Water Walk comes from a Redevelopment Agency (RDA) created in the 1980’s. Existing RDA’s in the State of Utah allow cities to use property tax from a specific geographical area and spend it on improvements within the same area. These monies are earmarked to improve blighted areas through capital expenditures and cannot be used for ongoing maintenance, personnel or to buy equipment. The Brooks Park and Cox Pond are funded through park impact fees paid by new development.
DEDICATION AND ACITIVITIES
We hope you, your family and neighbors will join the Mayor and City Council on Monday, October 15 at 5:00 pm for a special evening of food, fun and entertainment at the Town Square. For a full schedule of events for the Town Square during the month of October please go to www.sgcity.org.
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