LOGAN – City officials have now moved closer to their $2 million fundraising goal for the Center Block Plaza project thanks to a recent $200,000 donation from the Emma Eccles Jones Foundation.
The latest gift to the downtown revitalization effort was announced by Mayor Holly Daines during a regular meeting on the Logan City Council on Sept. 7.
“We are so grateful to the Emma Eccles Jones Foundation for this wonderful gift and their continued investment in Logan and Cache Valley,” Daines said. “The significant private contributions we have received will allow us to offset the costs of the plaza and make our downtown development funds stretch much further.”
The gift from the Emma Eccles Jones Foundation brings the city’s fundraising efforts for the plaza project to $1.5 million. That total includes a previous gift of $1 million from The Jim and Carol Laub Family Foundation and Cache Valley Electric.
“If the city successfully secures $1.75 million in contributions,” the mayor explained, “the George S. and Delores Doré Eccles Foundation has previously pledged a ‘last dollar’ grant of $250,000 to achieve our $2 million goal.”
“I am confident that Aunt Em would have been thrilled to support the redevelopment of downtown Logan,” said Spencer F. Eccles, a trustee of the Emma Eccles Jones Foundation.
“This Center Block Plaza will provide a wonderful new space for the community to gather for concerts, enjoy ice skating and fire pits in the winter and waterplay in the hot summer months.
In recognition of the recent donation, Daines said that the plaza’s water feature will be named in honor of Emma Eccles Jones.
That water feature, which will include lights and music, will use high-tech nozzles and jets. Despite recent concerns about its water use in the midst of a statewide drought, city officials say that feature will have a seasonal water budget of 1 million gallons of water in the period from Memorial Day to mid-September.
By contrast, a typical home in Logan uses an average of 35,000 gallons of water per month during the same time period. So officials estimate that the plaza’s splash pad will use the same amount of water as eight homes during those months.
Emma Eccles Jones has longstanding ties to Cache Valley, according to city officials. After receiving a degree from the Teachers College at Columbia University, she became the first kindergarten teacher in northern Utah in 1926.
Construction of the Center Block Plaza is set to begin in spring of 2022 with completion by the end of the year.
The city’s redevelopment agency has invested more than $4.3 million in the plaza project, including about $1.3 million for the demolition of the Emporium and adjacent structures to the north; about $2.1 million for construction of the public plaza; around $400,000 for the portable ice rink; and about $440,000 for construction of an outdoor stage and an administration building.
City officials also requested another redevelopment grant in the amount of nearly $1.6 million for the remodeling of structures adjacent to the proposal plaza to the south at 41 and 45 North Main Street.
If the city reaches its $2 million fundraising goal, about a third of those RDA funds will be returned to city coffers.