Restart for Scenic Byway Center
November 28, 2012
Self named new project coordinator
With anticipated approval from the Idaho Department of Transportation, Driggs will get another chance at establishing the Teton Scenic Byway Visitors Center in its vacant space adjacent to city hall.
There is a lot of water under the bridge for Driggs, its Urban Renewal Agency and the Teton Valley Chamber of Commerce with regard to the Scenic Byway Center, but all three entities were united in a restart proposal this month that was sent to ITD.
On Monday, Nov. 26, Driggs Community Development Director Doug Self received confirmation from ITD’s Planning and Public Involvement Supervisor Bill Shaw that Driggs’ restart proposal was accepted and that Self would take over as project coordinator of the effort moving forward.
“I’ll be writing you a letter next week informing the team that we accept your startup plan,” Shaw wrote. “I will accept the change in PMs [project managers] with the letter.”
With ITD’s acceptance, Driggs plans to put $589,167 remaining from a Federal Highway Administration grant together with a 20 percent cash match from the Driggs Urban Renewal Agency to total more than $743K for the project that has struggled to become a reality for nearly four years.
Self said the Scenic Byway Center is anticipated to fill between 2,500 and 3,000 square feet inside the Driggs City Center, and he believed construction could begin as early as October 2013. Obligations to fulfill the FHWA grant include a Scenic Byway Center that will include 24-hour restrooms and information services, interpretive
Teton Scenic Byway displays, a collection of art from Thomas Moran and William Jackson, as well as wayfinding displays and an information desk for byway travelers, including map boards of the Teton Scenic Byway and adjacent byways.
As part of the restart proposal, Driggs acknowledged that the previous design of the Scenic Byway Center would not be used and that a request for proposals for design services would be necessary for moving forward.
As the coordinator for two other significant grants with Driggs, Self will be in a position to orchestrate more than $1.6M in funding, including $743K for the Scenic Byway Center project, $830K for a transit center through Federal Transit Administration grant, and $50K from an Our Town grant that must be spent on design of a plaza outside the city’s building and public art within the plaza.
“It makes a lot of sense to have one person coordinating all these efforts,” said Driggs Mayor Dan Powers, who met with Shaw and ITD District 6 Engineer Blake Rindlisbacher last month to try and pave the way for the restart of the Scenic Byway Center.
“I hope to merge all these projects so there is collaborative design,” Self said.
Driggs Recreation Center
With between 4,000 and 4,500 square feet of the Driggs City Center occupied by a Scenic Byway Center and a transit center, Self said roughly 8,500 square feet would be left in the city’s building to offer recreational space for Teton Valley Recreation Association, including space for current tenant Teton Indoor Sports Academy as well as the anticipated Teton Rock Gym and Yama Judo. A teen center, a multi-purpose area performance space and additional tenants would fill the space, Self said.
As a part of the restart plan submitted to ITD, Self explained that acquisition of property west of the city center for a Park and Ride lot would mitigate the potential loss of some parking on the east side of City Hall, and that convenient visitor parking would likely be maintained on the north end of the new plaza to establish more parking.
“Excitement and momentum has been generated with these projects,” Self said. “We put the plaza design RFP (request for proposals) out on November 2, and we’ve already received submissions from 14 design firms.”
Powers acknowledged that conversations will continue with National Geographic magazine to consider future partnership within the Scenic Byway Center, but his hope was to first fulfill an obligation to provide a financially feasible facility.