This Wall,Not That! | Urban Living

This Wall,Not That!

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There are walls, and then there are walls. The wall we hear the most about these days is the one at the U.S. southern border. The wall I remember learning about as a child was the Great Wall of China, which is about 5,500 miles long, is an international UNESCO protected historical site and can be seen from space. I grew up hearing about the Berlin Wall that separated East and West Berlin during the Cold War and then watched in 1991 when people from both sides of the wall tore it down. There's the Korean Wall blocking North and South Korea from traveling to either side, walls to stop people in India, Israel's West Bank and myriad of defensive walls in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Vatican City. Art walls, like the Bondi Sea Wall in Australia, are all over the world adorned with graphics by taggers, street artists and professionals.

What's the most famous wall in Utah? It's likely the one surrounding Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City. I've always been impressed that the wall around the block has not been regularly tagged because it's one large canvas for artists and those with evil intent. Plus, the church has always kept the property there in super clean shape and decorate it nicely for the holidays. I've also hated the wall because it makes the place look foreboding and off limits and keeps the views of the gothic architecture of the temple hidden from tourists and passersby.

Well the wall is about to change (finally) because The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced a massive upgrade to Temple Square. This multi-year project will include the renovation of portions of the wall that will be opened and modified to allow more inviting views and better access to temple grounds. The existing Visitors Center will be demolished and replaced with two new guest and visitor pavilions. Following the renovation, temple patrons and guests will enter through the new pavilions to the north and proceed to a grand hall. The formal temple entry point will sit underneath large skylights that will provide natural light and generous views of the temple above.

Other renovations include upgrades in mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems and a significant seismic upgrade to the temple itself. The church reports that anywhere between 3-5 million people visit Temple Square every year—almost as many folks who visit Utah's national parks! 

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