LOGAN – Logan Mayor Holly Daines presented the “State of the City” address during the first Municipal Council meeting of the new year Tuesday night.
Daines outlined a number of goals, summarized the successes of 2019 and highlighted the accomplishments of each department in the city.
“My number one goal and priority is fiscal responsibility, and we continue on that path with reserves in all significant areas, conservative budgeting and realistic spending,” said Daines.
“Goal number two is to invest in infrastructure, and that budget number increased by 11% this year,” she added.
The additional infrastructure money was used in part on the newly-completed Center Street project. The project included replacing all aging infrastructure under the street, widening sidewalks and adding a pedestrian crossing.
“The next step as we focus on Downtown is dealing with vacant crumbling buildings, many of which are over 100 years old,” said Daines. “In addition to the physical problems of the structures, part of the challenge is to bring new uses which draw people downtown.”
That focus on Downtown had Daines spending a good portion of last year working with a developer on a plan to revitalize Center Block. The plan drew both praise and criticism.
The proposed plan – which is on hold – included the demolition of the Emporium and several adjacent structures. In place of the buildings – a potential $28 million public-private development with a plaza, ice rink, housing and parking structure.
The Historic Preservation Committee denied the city’s request to demolish the buildings “primarily because of concern that the project might not go forward, but also concern that two of the facades had some historic value,” said Daines in her address.
“If there is beautiful history worth saving, I am the first to advocate for that,” she said. “There are always tradeoffs: for a price, anything can be fixed. But if you spend a lot of money to save marginal buildings that will continue to be ‘old’ and not function well, nor attract new uses even after the investment, that doesn’t make sense to me.”
Daines said the city is working with the developer to bring a more detailed plan including finances, to council. That plan, along with alternate proposals from downtown business owners will be considered at a council meeting on February 18.
During the address, Daines announced that Logan recently received an $875,000 grant from the state of Utah.
“Per our Trails Master Plan, it will allow us to further continue our trail system north along the river from Trapper Park, and will get us part way to the planned 600 South Park (at 1900 West), property which the city owns, providing a great park and significant connection when funding allows completion,” she stated.
The Mayor talked about teamwork and recognized the over 400 city employees who serve the residents of Logan “every single day, sometimes in the middle of the night, sometimes in bad weather, so we have water to drink, power that turns on, trash that gets picked up, parks and trails enjoy, orderly development, books to read – and much more, including fire and police when we need them,” said Daines.
“In summary, our city is progressive, proactive, well managed and we are planning for the future,” she said.