During tonight’s council meeting there was a request by a member of the public to see the transportation plan we were scheduled to vote on. I was surprised to hear that our city website limits the file size which we can share online and so our only method of getting the public a copy of this was to hand out compact discs of the plan upon request.
It’s important that the public be able to access the same data as their elected officials, particularly when it directly affects the roads to be built in front of (or sometimes behind) their homes. I have uploaded a copy of the proposed Transportation Master plan here - anyone interested is welcome to link directly to it.
A few weeks back we held our meeting to discuss what can be done to better preserve the many historic properties found in Provo. During that meeting we discussed the process which Provo previously had.
In 1994 Provo established a Landmarks commission which within a year or so began a process which resulted in roughly 80 properties being identified as needing protection. This effort was nationally recognized and Provo even received a national award for its successes in preservation. Sadly, since then the list of properties recognized as historic has stagnated. Some of the originally protected properties have been demolished. There have been no new structures designated for historic preservation in the last 10 years.
Interestingly, Provo has quite a few tools, such as the historic sites list, with which to formally recognize and help protect historic properties without taking away the property rights of the site’s owner. We are yet to use this option, but it seems like an easy win for the city. We are able to provide an incentive to preserve without overstepping our role as a city.
Economic incentives are great tools for preserving historic properties and directly contribute to the intangible improvement in city appearance as well as the very tangible increase in property values. As a city we have rolled out programs to incentivize historic downtown businesses with historic facades as well as blade signs. These programs provide small incentives for businesses to improve their appearance at little cost to the city. While a good start for preserving some historic buildings, I believe that with minimal effort Provo has the potential to restore its once famed reputation for historic preservation.
During our meeting the council voted in favor of meeting with the landmarks commission to move forward in finding ways to improve our preservation efforts in Provo.
Some years back our council executive director Matt Taylor made an amazing map of historic entities in Provo. Take a minute to explore it and comment if you noticed anything we missed.
View Historic Resources: Provo City, Utah in a larger map
A number of residents have written and called asking for additional information regarding this proposed law. As always, the recordings of the discussions as well as their minutes are available on the city’s website. I would like to clarify a few points of concern:
I’d like to end by sharing this email I received.
Dear Mr. Beck,
I was a homeschool kid in California and I was often stopped by police and harassed and interrogated for being out and about during school hours. We would ride our bikes from one side of town to the other to attend orchestra at the junior high. My parents made us school id cards and still this was not enough. We were told it looked homemade and not official enough. We then had to get a state issued id and a letter from the school district, both of which we had to keep on us at all times. To this day I still have an anxiety attack every time a cop pulls up behind me. Every time we were stopped it made me feel like I was a bad kid and heaven forbid is someone I knew saw me being questioned by a cop. There is already a system put in place to deal with truant kids. Lets enforce the system we have. I don’t think any kid, especially if they are not breaking the law, should be subject to or treated as a second class citizen. I know there are many kids who, like me, graduate early at 16 or 17 years and go on to attend college. This is a college town what about those kids. This is a bad idea! We have truant officers assigned to every school, we pay them, so let’s use them. Yes, there needs to be consequences for delinquent children but lets not make a sweeping assumption that all children who are not in school during school hours are delinquents. I want my kids to trust and respect the police and I don’t see this proposed ordinance as helping me to do that. Why does the city feel they need this ordinace? Are we really having a problem with delinquent kids running a muck all over Provo? I live downtown, and I’ve not see anything like that in my neighborhood. So if this is happening, where is it happening? I’m strongly opposed to this ordinance and I want my voice to be heard…Thank you for informing me of this situation and for giving me the opprotunity to make my voice heard.
During today’s work meeting, as a result of Councilmember Cynthia Dayton’s request, we discussed the problem some residents perceive in city snow removal. The administration committed to update the city website with a citizen snow removal form so that residents can report unplowed roads. Currently, residents can report graffiti problems on the city website, but have to call the city to report an unplowed street. Updating the website should make the process of reporting a place that needs to be plowed much easier. Additionally they will be bringing back some proposed amendments to city code in order to improve snow covered sidewalk conditions.
Provo Power came in with a request to appropriate a bit over $1 million over the course of the next three years to improve downtown business infrastructure.
Parks and Rec came forward with an update on current parks projects. They have a significant amount of money allocated from last year towards updating the Pioneer park in Provo’s downtown.
One concern of residents has been to see a new water feature in the downtown, as the water filled ditch that used to run through the park has since been covered over.
The new proposal is for a splash pad inside the park to begin construction over the summer and complete during the fall. Cost wise, the project already has enough funds allocated to complete it, though it may draw down the amount of money available for the proposed Spring Creek Park. The design of all these parks was done by the same firm that did the Joaquin pocket park.
Additionally, we had a chance to review the proposed master plan for the Foothill Park, located north of 1480 East (Seven Peaks Resort). There are no funds yet allocated for it, but we have approximately 60 acres of land allocated for the park, with construction to begin by 2013. We’ll need $2 million for it, as it is currently unfunded.
Next we saw an update on the proposed Lakeshore Trail Head Bike Park. We have some land left after working on the trail and it’s proposed that we add a beautiful pocket park with bike and vehicle parking as well as much needed restrooms for that portion of the trail.