As a decorative concrete contractor, there is nothing more satisfying than walking through a finished project with the landscape architect, while both of you admire the beautiful finished work. Some people may think I’m a bit crazy for thinking concrete deserves an adjective such as beautiful, but walking the new promenade and plaza in West Valley, Utah, that’s exactly what this concrete is.
Flowing through the new grassy promenade is a concrete stream. Before you start thing of a boring gray trickle channel…let me explain. This stream is paced in a delicate integrally colored Sandscape with blue glass Lithocrete sparking in the water channels. The stream contains little islands that bumps in and out of the water while the stream meanders through the landscape. Crossing the stream are three Bomanite imprinted concrete bridges with a refined 6″ boardwalk plank pattern. The craftsmanship on the streambed and bridges is perfect. But the fine quality is not all that makes this concrete beautiful. What makes it beautiful is what I witnessed at the grand opening of this park. As I scurried around taking pictures and taking it all in, a woman stopped me to chat for a bit. She was there with her grandchildren. She told me how they anxiously awaited for the park to open and watched it being built. Kids and adults flung off their shoes and were playing in the stream. Children raced sailboats from one end to the other. Other kids climbed up and down boulders within the stream, playing in their own imaginary worlds. Mothers sat with their children eating snow cones while dancing their feet in the water. Toddlers splashed gleefully. Little boys raced up and down the stream seeing how big they can make the water splash with each stride. And some kids showed no mercy to the stream and laid their whole bodies in it, letting the water hit them and run over and around them.
The beauty of the design is also the transportation hub of the location. Buses and a light rail system both have major stops at this West Valley location. Across the tracks from the Promenade is another new beautiful piece of the landscape. At the grand opening celebration, a speech was given from the new stage. With blue skies above, a decorative new shelter shaded participants, and water peacefully spilled over the steps along the stage. After the speech of welcoming this new city center to West Valley, a brass band began to play. The music danced in the air. The plaza features more beautiful concrete. With simple, uncolored Sandscape and specialty exposed aggregate, the radial design embraces the stage. The stage itself is made of Sandscape, but on one side the steps transform into an elegant water feature as water spill out from the steps, over the Sandscape and blue glass Lithocrete and into ripples of Sandscape and Lithocrete into the plaza below. The sound of water flowing, music playing, children playing, and people laughing made the scene perfect.
You see, I visited this site over a year ago, before it even went out to bid, and it was a deserted lot. There were abandoned houses nearby and trailers across the street. Flanking one side was West Valley’s town hall. Every day, city employees would cross the parking lot, or look out their windows to see their dismal view of West Valley. Yes they had a great transportation hub of buses and a rail line, but it was not a place to play, congregate, or even spend more than a brisk walk through. Now it is vibrant and full of life. A place where the city employees and residents alike can be proud to call their city.