Kayenta expands with new arts center, fire station; more developments on the horizon

The Kayenta desert community, Ivins, Utah, June 24, 2013 | Photo by Alexa Verdugo Morgan, St. George

IVINS – The unique desert community of Kayenta will soon complete two new additions, the Kayenta Center for the Arts and a fire station, with more developments forthcoming to accommodate its booming resident and visitor population.

The new Kayenta fire station, Ivins, Utah, June 24, 2013 | Photo by Alexa Verdugo Morgan, St. George News
The new Kayenta fire station, Ivins, Utah, June 24, 2013 | Photo by Alexa Verdugo Morgan, St. George News

“(Kayenta) not only provides a significant sales tax base for the city, it also provides a home to many very talented artists and entrepreneurs,” Ivins City Manager Dale Coulam said. “It is a wonderful and relaxing place to shop, enjoy delicious food and beverages, to walk or bike ride, and has become a unique destination that brings many tourists into the area.”

Kayenta fire station

The rapidly growing Kayenta community supports the Ivins Fire Department by providing a fire station within the Coyote Gulch Art Village. The station allows for fast response to emergencies in the area, along with wildfire response support. A number of Ivins’ volunteer firefighters also live in Kayenta.

The current station is located in a commercial building attached to Whitaker Studios, which will soon be expanding, forcing the city to accommodate its firefighting personnel and equipment elsewhere. Kayenta Development Inc. proposed building a new station within the art village, which the city will lease from the community.

Construction began in May and is expected to be complete sometime in the fall. The station will house two trucks to fight wildland fires, one to fight structural fires and a portion of the Ivins Fire Department‘s 35 firefighters and EMTs. It is located adjacent to the arts center construction site.

“It provides good access for fighting any type of fire that might occur in the Kayenta area, whether it be commercial, residential or wildland,” Coulam said. “The Kayenta developer is constructing the new fire station without any involvement by the city, other than the normal approval and permitting processes. The residents of Kayenta and the developer appreciate having the firefighting equipment located within the development and so the developer only charges the city nominal rent for the space.”

Kayenta Center for the Arts

The Kayenta Arts Foundation, Kayenta Development Inc. and a group of private donors, most Kayenta residents, all came together to establish the Kayenta Center for the Arts, a state-of-the-art, environmentally-friendly designed haven for Southern Utah’s creative talent.

“It was determined by all involved that a fully independent arts center was needed in the Southern Utah area for the performing arts,” said Garry Morris, co-artistic director of the Kayenta Arts Foundation. “It is the foundation’s vision to be the premier venue in the greater Southern Utah area for awareness, appreciation, education and enjoyment of diverse artistic endeavors.”

Kayenta is a unique place, from the perspective of our stunning natural environment to the residents who call it home,” said Matt Marten, vice-president of Kayenta Development Inc. and the son of Kayenta founder Terry Marten. “We have an extremely active community of residents who get involved and support endeavors and advocacy for our community. In fact, the arts center is being built largely with donations by residents who want to be involved with something big that will enhance Kayenta and the greater community.”

The 9,400-square-foot center will house a 3,200-square-foot black box theater designed to accommodate a variety of events, along with dressing rooms for talent, ladies’ and men’s lounges, rehearsal space, a lobby, concessions, backstage areas for props, costumes and sets, a shop, offices, box office and garden courtyard. The total cost of the project is approximately $1.6 million, $650,000 of which has already been raised through a building fund campaign. The land was donated by Kayenta Development Inc.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held at the construction site on May 31, with Ivins Mayor Chris Hart, the Ivins City Council, city officials, members of the local business community, representatives from Kayenta Development Inc. and residents and patrons of Kayenta in attendance. It is scheduled to be complete in May 2014 and will be the only independently owned arts center of its kind in Southern Utah.

Once open, the center will be home to a year-round theatrical season that will fill the void currently left by the seasonal production schedule of the Tuacahn Center for the Arts and Utah Shakespeare Festival. Additionally, the Kayenta Arts Foundation’s four annual plays and numerous performances from local talent will be held there. The building is designed for a variety of uses, including theatrical productions, banquet functions, film screenings, meetings and exhibits.

“It is anticipated that the center will provide a venue for more local artists to share their talents, as well as a venue for teaching the arts to those aspiring to develop their artistic talents,” Coulam said. “I fully expect this project to be successful and a great addition to our arts community.”

Future developments

Kayenta is home to a diverse resident population, including retirees, business professionals and families. Due to the continual expansion of the community, developments are always in progress behind the scenes. Marten said he could not comment on anything specific, but additions in the near future are likely to focus on transportation, retail, hospitality, services and specialty grocers.

Kayenta Center for the Arts construction site, Ivins, Utah, June 24, 2013 | Photo by Alexa Verdugo Morgan, St. George News
Kayenta Center for the Arts construction site, Ivins, Utah, June 24, 2013 | Photo by Alexa Verdugo Morgan, St. George News

“Kayenta is a continually growing area of Ivins,” Marten said. “With nearly 500 homes and an expanding residential and commercial draw, we will continue to develop a variety of options to meet the needs of a diverse community. We envision creative solutions for the community that support our residents, community values and natural environment.”

There are many artistic and recreational opportunities in Kayenta throughout the year. For more information, contact the Kayenta Arts Foundation at 435-652-8318 or visit Kayenta’s website.

“This is an exciting time to live in Southern Utah. We are finally coming out of the recession and new commercial and residential construction is starting up again; good news for our local economy and our local arts scene,” Morris said. “The arts are an integral part of any cultural heritage and they need to be nurtured and celebrated. The new Kayenta Center for the Arts will be a participant in preserving that cultural heritage by helping local talent be seen and recognized for the wonderful gifts they offer our community. Also, the new arts center will bring more tourism to the greater Southern Utah area, which will not only showcase our local artists to a broader audience base but will assist our local businesses as well.

“The brave men and women of the fire department will keep all of our residents and visitors safe. I feel we are on the brink of a new, burgeoning cultural renaissance in Southern Utah and I for one am excited about what’s in store for us in the future. Timing is everything, and now’s the time for Kayenta.”

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

The Kayenta desert community, Ivins, Utah, June 24, 2013 | Photo by Alexa Verdugo Morgan, St. George
The Kayenta desert community, Ivins, Utah, June 24, 2013 | Photo by Alexa Verdugo Morgan, St. George

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1 Comment

  • Jared July 21, 2013 at 10:35 am

    This is very much needed – excited for the new performing arts center!

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