LOGAN – Looking back on the year 2020 in her annual State of the City address, Mayor Holly Daines noted Tuesday that Logan had weathered the coronavirus outbreak in the spring, peaceful protest demonstrations in the summer and a windstorm of unprecedented strength in early fall.
“We have worked hard to serve our citizens in this difficult year,” Daines said in praise of the collective efforts of elected officials and city staff members. “I know that we all hoped when the calendar changed to 2021 there would be a magical improvement. Of course, things are improving as the (COVID-19) vaccines are given to the population over the next months. But all the challenges have not gone away.”
Those challenges, she added, include emergency preparedness, fiscal accountability, downtown redevelopment, infrastructure improvements and environmental concerns.
In addition to making strides in those areas in 2020, the mayor also listed several bright spots in the past year.
“When the pandemic hit in March, just as our budget was taking shape,” she recalled, “we took a step back on some projects and expenses, to be cautious and prudent. As the year progressed, our overall revenues did not take the dramatic turn that other cities have experienced. Our local economy has continued to grow.”
The mayor also noted that NBC News did a story on Logan in November, highlighting the very good news that, despite the business disruption caused by the coronavirus, the city had the lowest unemployment rate in the nation.
Several long-term plans to revitalize downtown Logan also moved ahead in the past year. Thanks the combined efforts of the city’s Economic Development Office and city council members acting as the Logan Redevelopment Agency, those initiatives have included two new residential housing developments on 100 South and 100 East streets; planning for construction of a new city library; property acquisition for a future development in the 300 Block of North Main Street; and, the resumption of planning for the redevelopment of the Center Block on Main Street.
“Although we paused for a while on our Center Block Plaza, we are moving forward again,” Daines said, referring to the somewhat controversial project to replace the now-vacant Emporium building with a downtown plaza where citizens could gather. “Plans are nearly complete as we work to finalize the budget for (city) council approval and then submit designs to the Planning Commission in the next few months.”
The mayor also credited the city’s Community Development Department for important steps toward transforming the downtown area into “a destination for living, working, dining, art and entertainment.”
A significant part of that effort, she added, was the recent completion of a Public Art Master Plan for the city, much of which will focus on the downtown area.
Although the normal activities of Logan’s Park & Recreation Department were severely curtailed by cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Daines emphasized that the city’s extensive network of parks and trails still provided much-needed recreational opportunities for local residents.
“Usage (of parks and trails) experience a dramatic uptick,” she reported, “as folks enjoyed the ability to get outdoors and recreate safely.
“The other really good news item is that golfers returned in droves to the Logan River Golf Course. Our staff there built on improvements they made (in 2019) and worked hard to make golf safe during the pandemic.”
Finally, Daines urged local residents to join her in being grateful for Cache Valley’s beautiful mountains and recreational opportunities. She also saluted local residents’ work ethic, determination, civility, kindness, helpfulness and public spirit.
“I realize that many of our citizens, businesses and organizations struggled (during 2020) and there have been rough times,” the mayor acknowledged. “But, overall, as a city, we have been fortunate.”