Plans for Ridge Top Complex forge ahead

ST. GEORGE – A plan to convert the Ridge Top Complex, the location of the former St. George Municipal Airport, into a technology and business park drew one step closer to reality last week as the St. George City Council unanimously approved a change to the city’s general plan. The change allows for commercial development in the area which city officials hope will be spurred by construction of the Dixie Applied Technology’s College’s new campus.

A map overlooking the location of the Ridge Top Complex, formerly the St. George Municipal Airport | Image courtesy of the City of St. George, St. George News
A map overlooking the location of the Ridge Top Complex, formerly the St. George Municipal Airport | Image courtesy of the City of St. George, St. George News

“We’re going through several steps,” St. George Mayor Jon Pike said prior to the Dec. 17 meeting of the City Council that saw the approval of the general plan amendment. “What we’ve done in the past is to change the general plan in terms of the types of uses we will have at the Ridge Top Complex.”

Prior to the general plan change on Dec. 17, approximately 184 acres of the of the Ridge Top Complex had been zoned to accommodate various residential uses to suit the needs of a potential buyer of the overall property in 2008. The purchase of the overall parcel, valued at around $42 million at the time, Pike said, didn’t happen.

Now plans are rolling forward to create the Ridge Top Technology Park in which the new 30-acre campus of Dixie Applied Technology College is anticipated to act as an anchor.

The general plan amendment needed to be addressed sooner rather than later due to DXATC’s desire to break ground for the campus early next year, Pike said.

In order to preserve views of the area, City Manager Gary Esplin said that single-story buildings will be set back from the ridge 50 feet, while two-story buildings will be set back 100 feet.

“… So it won’t be imposing for the community when they look up at the old airport and see highrise buildings, but we can take advantage of the site and the landscaping to build what we would consider a state-of-the-art technology park,” Esplin said.

City officials want the Ridge Top Technology Park to become for high-tech and bio-tech groups and companies what the Fort Pierce Industrial Park has become for manufacturing, Pike said.

The old airport terminal at the Ridge Top Complex currently serves as the Dixie Applied Technology College's Emergency Response Training Center, St. George, Utah, Dec. 23, 2015 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
The old airport terminal at the Ridge Top Complex currently serves as the Dixie Applied Technology College’s Emergency Response Training Center, St. George, Utah, Dec. 23, 2015 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

“So let’s use (the land) for something that is really important to and in proximity of downtown St. George,” Pike said. “This is the best use, we felt, for this property.”

The location of the Ridge Top Complex gives potentially incoming companies immediate access to the downtown area, plus an unfettered view of the eastern portion of the city. While plans are in the works to get the project rolling, the city will also face the eventual challenge of creating a second access point into the tech park.

“The biggest challenge as we go along is, at some point, we’ll have to build another road on the south, probably the southeast end of near Black Ridge Drive – that’s going to cost several million dollars,” Pike said.

In order to hold off the need for the road for a while, the city will be focusing on developing the northern end of the tech park first.

Overall, members of the City Council and staff said they are looking forward to seeing the Ridge Top Complex continue toward development.

Beyond the fence lies the old St. George Municipal Airport, now known as the Ridge Top Complex. It will soon be the site of the new campus of Dixie Applied Technology College and a proposed technology and business park, St. George, Utah, Dec. 23, 2015 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
Beyond the fence lies the old St. George Municipal Airport, now known as the Ridge Top Complex. It will soon be the site of the new campus of Dixie Applied Technology College and a proposed technology and business park, St. George, Utah, Dec. 23, 2015 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

“I think it’s a brilliant opportunity,” outgoing Councilman Gil Almquist said.

“We think it’s exciting, we think it’s a great plan,” Esplin said.

A number of businesses have already begun to show interest in the Ridge Top Complex, Pike said, which is another reason why the city moved on changing the general plan that night.

“We anticipate it’ll probably take 20 years to really develop the whole thing, but it’s time to start,” Pike said.

The City Council unanimously approved the proposed amendment to the city’s general plan. As the new tech park develops, proposed plats and plans will begin to come before the City Council for approval, starting with those related to DXATC.

DXATC currently uses the old airport terminal as a part of it’s Emergency Response Training Center.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

 

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8 Comments

  • holger December 26, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    In related news, the St. George City Council is being retained as consultants by a couple of other municipalities: Manhattan looking to “develop” their Central Park into something more productive; and by the Shizuoka Prefecture in Japan looking to “develop” the top of Mount Fuji.

  • .... December 26, 2015 at 11:25 pm

    That will never happen now that the word is out. Because the LDS leaders will order another temple to be built there. Really ! ask any Mormon and they will tell you. all Utah land belongs to the LDS fanatics.

    • Ladyk December 28, 2015 at 1:47 am

      Good grief, don’t you ever get tired of constantly complaining about the LDS church? Aren’t you intelligent 0enough to know when you are saying something so stupid that everyone else is just laughing at you? Enough already, get off the gripe wagon and get a life.

      • .... December 28, 2015 at 9:58 am

        Is that all you do is whine and cry about people that make anti moron uh I mean anti Mormon comments. Aren’t you intelligent enough to know all people do is laugh at you…get off the bandwagon and get a life…..Ha ha ha ha ha.

    • tcrider December 28, 2015 at 9:53 am

      I would rather see another Lds temple on that hill instead of another development with a bunch of houses that will only benefit one person or one family, depending who develops it.

      • .... December 28, 2015 at 1:47 pm

        Ohhhh I bet LadyK will fall in love with you for saying that….

  • .... December 28, 2015 at 9:51 am

    Not a chance the Mormon leaders just filed a LDS land grab request LOL ! HA ha ha

  • .... December 28, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    Maybe the city can build a place where people can dance without getting arrested for it.

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