LOGAN – Logan City leaders and downtown business owners agree something needs to be done to revitalize Center block, but have yet to agree on what that something should be.
Three proposals for redeveloping the area were presented to city council members Tuesday night. Two were new to the council, one is a revised version of a previous plan.
Mayor Holly Daines and developer Dan Lofgren are sticking with their original plan to demolish the Emporium and adjacent buildings, replacing the structures with a public plaza, ice rink, apartment building and parking structure. The proposal has been tweaked and modified several times after input from business owners, the public and the Historic Preservation Committee which denied demolition of the Emporium in December.
“We pledged to come back with a more detailed plan. We need to get this right,” said Mayor Daines, who provided new renderings to city council.
The revised plan includes adjustments made to parking as well as a more historic look to the façade of several buildings on Main Street.
The changes “better reflect the character of historic downtown,” she said.
Eugene Needham III has never liked the idea of demolishing the Emporium and nearby structures.
“My stand is that we should not tear it down or use it for anything other than business purposes,” he said.
The longtime downtown business owner proposed 11 different projects as part of his overall plan.
One calls for the demolition of U & I Furniture and Al’s Trophies and Frames to make way for parking. Those two businesses would relocate into the Emporium.
Needham also proposed building a new library near 300 North and Main. He currently owns that land and offered to trade it for the Emporium.
The old library would be renovated. A community center and art museum would be established in the area.
Another project would convert the former Wonder Bread site near 400 North and 100 South into thirteen townhouses. Apartments and retail stores make up the remainder of Needham’s proposed projects.
James Clawson, who owns Great Harvest Bread on Center Street, represented a group of downtown businesses and landowners.
“We just need to clean up some stuff,” he said. “We’ve got some blight and some vacant businesses. We’ve got a lot that we can do to lift it up and make it better.”
Their alternative plan for making things better includes building the public plaza (which Clawson said “we love”) off of Center Street.
“We feel like…it’s more of a user-friendly space,” he said. “If there’s a stage or concert going on, we feel like it would be better used on Center Street. Also we can close off Center Street on the weekends, have a concert and it’s more of a
The plan includes a parking terrace behind the plaza, relocating U & I Furniture to the Emporium, Al’s Trophies and Frames would move to the old Poco Loco building and Plaza 45 would become a food hall.
The façades on Main Street structures would get a new, but old look – “a 1900’s glass façade,” according to Clawson. Housing is not part of their proposal.
The meeting concluded with a brief discussion that has been a source of contention for George Daines, CEO of Cache Valley Bank and part of the Clawson group. The downtown business owner contends the city can’t legally build on land that is currently a parking district behind the Emporium.
City Attorney Kymber Housley stated, “It’s always been the position we’re not going to force this on the property owners…and it may be that we have to litigate that issue.”
Council members asked very few questions after the presentations. Several wanted additional time to review the alternative plans.
The public is invited to review the plans here.
A public hearing on the three proposals will be held March 3, 2020.