The new library that no one in Logan asked for, that very few residents are clamoring for and that is being proposed for a location that should be used for retail shopping just will not go away.
It’s back! And it just as bewildering to sensible people as ever. I covered <a href=”http://www.cachevalleydaily.com/opinion/article_6022ea40-01fa-11e6-aa80-4b0327b8c1d4.html” target=”_blank”>this subject a year ago</a>. I thought that this short-sighted idea would fade away with the implausibility of the premise.
For the uneducated, allow me to offer a primer.
Logan Mayor Craig Petersen last year suggested that Logan City needed a new library, which he believes would double as a community center. He has suggested using the space known as The Emporium, which is located on Main Street between Center Street and 100 North. Mayor Petersen apparently spoke about this idea as a definitive project that was green-lighted. It was not.
Conversations I had last year with multiple people in Logan city government told me that the mayor went “off the reservation” when he announced his desire for a new library. Such a proposal would need the approval of the Logan City Council and, depending on how the money for such a project would be raised and allocated, it would need to be brought to the voters of Logan.
And these facts should have put that ugly, orphaned baby to bed. I was fairly certain a year back that many members of the city council were opposed to funding a new library, and putting it on the street that has been recently coined City Block. I am even more certain that the large swath of Logan residents that have given voice to their disapproval of this idea would also have added to the dissuasion of such a silly project.
Yet, here it is again. Like an axe murderer from an 1980’s slasher movie, rotting and inconceivably alive, the new Logan library keeps hacking away at the unsuspecting babysitters and camp counselors who thought they killed this beast with a reasoned lack of enthusiasm.
Have minds changed on the Logan City Council? Has a deal been struck? And what salient facts about the lack of a vibrant downtown would have to be ignored if such a compromise was made between Mayor Petersen and the council?
Let’s ask them. I will send a copy of this column to all parties mentioned and offer them, with the permission of my editor, a chance to rebut on cachevalleydaily.com.
And if Mayor Petersen or any proponents of this eye-rolling idea do take up the offer to explain their proposal, I would hope they would consider the following questions:
1. What motivations, other than a personal desire for a new library, compels you to believe a new library is necessary? What burgeoning demographic has raised their voice in unison demanding this happen?
2. When you add the cost of buying The Emporium to the rebuilding costs for a new structure, how can The Powers That Be in Logan guarantee these costs can be met without raising any taxes on Logan residents?
3. Why that location? Why not one of the many empty spaces currently littered in Logan?
4. In an article related to this subject posted by the Herald Journal, Mayor Petersen stated that he hopes the new library will raise daily visitors from an average of 750 per day up to 1,300. How did he come up with that number? What data has he that would back up that somewhat implausible hike?
Explain it to me. Because I have spent the past year trying to figure out what Logan’s business and political leaders have planned to resurrect a downtown that has been flatlined for the entirety of the 13 years I have lived here. The only answer I have seen is a new library that will not make any money.
The number one issue that should be addressed by those who care about the welfare of Logan and its residents should be our scandalously dirty air. A close and imperative second place to that issue should be downtown, which is embarrassingly underutilized and woefully lacking in entertainment, vibrancy and initiative.
Consider, if you will, that a few weeks back I went with my daughter and a friend to Provo to see the Utah State Aggies hockey team play in a double-header. It was a Friday, and we all just wanted to get out of town. To get to Provo’s ice center we traversed through the heart of downtown.
It was landscaped. Businesses that you would want to visit on a Friday night – restaurants, cafes, bars and other places where people can frequent to socialize – lined the street. It looked like a downtown I could enjoy on multiple visits. My daughter agreed with me that we should take in future hockey games down there and hang out a bit.
Let that sink in a moment. I would leave Logan to enjoy a fun Friday in Provo.
When a man who drinks beer and tea with my regularity wants to leave Logan for Provo so he can enjoy himself on a Friday night, Logan has a serious problem.
And what is Mayor Petersen’s answer to my taking entertainment money to Idaho, Ogden, Layton Hills, Salt Lake City…and Provo? A library. Madness.
Build a new library if you must, but not in prime space that should be occupied by businesses that will bring foot traffic to downtown. It is time for publicly-elected officials as well as the Cache Chamber of Commerce–whose only job appears to be to hold luncheons and give each other awards—to speak directly to the residents of Logan about what they are doing to bring life to an area that is dead. Anyone involved in this process should be humiliated by their lack of progress and appalled by anyone that suggests only certain ideas are acceptable.
And, yes, that means keep your religion out of decisions affecting the city. It is time to woo businesses that serve alcohol and wish to be open on Sunday. That money taxes as easy as any other. You know who is taxing my Sunday “sin money”? Idaho. Logan gets nothing from me and those of my ilk. Maybe if more businesses were recruited to keep me in Logan, I—and others like me—might not undertake a mass exodus to the Gem State on a weekly basis.
Idaho loves Logan for being dead on Sundays. Idaho loves Logan being immobile in fixing its downtown. Idaho makes money off such unnecessary incompetence.
Logan does not need a new library. It certainly does not need a new library at a high price in such a prime location for businesses. Now is the time for Logan residents to explain that to its elected representatives. Otherwise, downtown will continue to be dead. And that seems to me too big a price to pay for such an arcane idea as a new library.