DSU Considers Project Near Amphitheater
This page provides the community information concerning Dixie State University's interest in developing options for their land near the O.C. Tanner Amphitheater in Springdale.
While recovering from the recent flash floods and mudslides is top of mind right now, Town officials want Springdale residents to be aware of potential development that Dixie State University is considering on land it owns in town just west of the O.C. Tanner Amphitheater, which the school also owns and operates, and which would be renovated as part of a potential project.
You may also recall that DSU previously considered development of the site in 2019, which generated a fair amount of controversy about the project’s potential impacts.
Given that, Mayor Smith and Town Council Members want to inform community members about what is known about the proposed project to date, and how the Town is interacting with DSU officials to share local concerns about developing the site.
Over the past couple of months, Town officials have had several constructive meetings with DSU leadership to understand their goals for development, and to communicate the need to work together to find mutually acceptable solutions to limit or avoid undesirable impacts.
Most importantly for the Springdale community to know at this point is that development is not imminent. As of June 18th, DSU has decided to postpone its process for seeking development proposals until spring of 2022, to provide time for further discussions with Springdale and other stakeholders, and to refine the school’s vision for a potential project. This is good news and allows Springdale more time to share the Town’s concerns with DSU, and to learn more about the school’s needs and ways to meet them.
Here’s what we know about DSU’s potential development:
- DSU wants to revitalize its O.C. Tanner Amphitheater and create a hospitality management program. The school is considering additional development on its property, which could include a hotel, possibly with conference facilities, to complement a future training and management program.
- The University is in the initial phases of developing a vision for this development. At this time, the University has not developed a concept plan, much less detailed plans, for development on its 81-acre property, the majority of which is steep hillsides not suitable for building.
- DSU may request proposals from interested development firms sometime next spring (2022) to seek further-refined development concepts. A decision on this would come after further consultation with the Town and other stakeholders.
- The Town supports DSU’s goals of revitalizing the O.C. Tanner Amphitheater and developing a hospitality program, particularly one that partners with local hotels, restaurants, and other businesses.
- The Town has voiced significant concerns about additional, intensive development of the foothills parcel and is working closely with DSU leadership to familiarize them with our General Plan and design and development standards. Among the Town’s concerns are protecting the area’s viewshed, noise and light pollution, traffic congestion, parking, and challenges to provide infrastructure and utilities to support the project. We’re encouraged that DSU officials have verbally indicated they intend that the development will not be visible from the valley floor.
- Additional concerns are safety-related and include the potential for future flash floods and mudslides similar to those that recently occurred near the amphitheater, as well as the potential for wildfires and structure fires, which raise questions about available water pressure and the need for more than one way to access the site.
- We have communicated to DSU that Springdale approaches all development proposals cautiously and mindfully, given its unique location at the mouth of Zion Canyon and constrained resources, including water and road capacity. As the gateway to Zion National Park, the Town of Springdale is one of Utah’s most-visited places and is among the nation’s most-beautiful and unique towns. For the past 30 years, the Town has worked hard to preserve the Town’s village character and special relationship to the Park.
- Town officials requested to be involved in DSU’s process for this project, and DSU has agreed. We greatly appreciate this cooperative and open-minded approach to our joint working relationship up to this point and into the future.
What happens next?
- Again, it’s important to note that development, while anticipated eventually, is not imminent. DSU is still determining how and when it might proceed with a project.
- We’ve opened the door to working together respectfully with DSU to understand their goals and share our community’s concerns. It is our mutual intent to continue to listen to each other to build trust and cooperation.
- Town officials will continue working with DSU as concepts and plans are developed, with the intent of preventing and limiting potential impacts to the Town.
- Town officials commit to keeping Springdale residents informed as the proposal unfolds. To that end, we have added a page to the Town website to share information. Please stay tuned for further updates.
Development issues are always of significant concern to Springdale residents, and this proposal is no different. Town officials are determined to do all we can to ensure this development, if it comes to pass, is as compatible as possible with Springdale’s decades-long approach to honoring the soul-soothing beauty of our natural environment.
Springdale Town Council