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StevenF Aug 5, 2007 3:42 PM

Cache Valley:Official development news thread
Mayor Q&A:Watts offers sometimes blunt views on variety of current Logan issues

Mayor Randy Watts (Meegan M. Reid/Herald Journal)
By Adam Benson

staff writer

Almost two years into his first term as Logan mayor, Randy Watts is still learning on the job. For everything he’s been able to accomplish — and there’s been plenty — the head of Cache Valley’s largest city constantly has an eye on things yet to be done.

Watts recently sat down with The Herald Journal for what appeared to be a candid interview on several controversial moves that have taken place under his watch and to reflect on his tenure as the top administrator for Cache County’s seat.

By the way, he also said “it’s too early to tell” whether another four-year term is in his future.

Q: Your decision for the city to not allow parking in the city’s park strips starting next year was a controversial move that didn’t go over well with some people. Can you explain your reasoning behind implementing that program and the response you’ve gotten thus far?

A: I’m getting both sides. I get more than a few phone calls at my home and here. I would say it’s still about three to one for people saying “we appreciate you doing something to finally reclaim our neighborhoods.”

There are good renters but percentage wise, because of things getting tighter in the rental markets, they’re bleeding them. They’re not putting any money into them. If somebody lives in a home, there’s more than a little bit of pride. There’s always those scenarios where even if you own a home, there’s not good housekeepers, but because I lived in inner Logan, I’ve seen blight.

What we have right here are decaying neighborhoods, and when is it the right time to step in? Everybody benefits in the long run, it’s just who will fight the fight? I’m willing to fight the fight.

Q: Talk about the way Summerfest played out. It was a high-profile tug-of-war between the Downtown Alliance and the Summerfest Arts Faire Committee. You’ve been largely silent on the issue. How do you think Summerfest went, and do you think it’s in the proper hands now?

A: Either put up or shut up. The Downtown Alliance lost control, because they let it happen. If they really felt in the future they wanted to keep control, they should have done it within the Alliance itself and not have somebody outsourced to run it.

Q: Can you give people an update on the City Hall shuffle, as it’s been called? Where are things at?

A: We’ve gone through the design phase with the (Logan City) Police Department on how the first and second floors will be laid out and how we bring 911 into the second floor.

We will be moving the 911 center out of the old Justice Building and moving it into the new 25,000-square-foot (complex). Looking at the mechanical part of this, about 2,000 square feet will be eaten up in basement, which is not really living space and a lot cheaper.

We’re still working real hard to stay somewhat close to where the budget is, and it’s looking good.

Q: You’ve gotten some criticism on this project with people saying you’re doing this for your own personal desires.

A: I’m not doing it for me. I’d stay here. The views over there are nowhere near what I sit in right now. It’s because in order to be more productive and better available for those people that need us, we need to give them a building that they can spread out in a little bit.

Q: I wanted you to address another issue that’s been fairly controversial and very much in the news lately: The proposed sales tax initiative that the Cache Valley Transit District is asking for. Do you support that?

A: I support it in the fact that “my gosh, look at the people around us that have said what is it that we’re attaching to in this valley that makes some sense for air quality?”

Q: Do you support it over the road initiative that the county is pushing?

A: Yes. We really need both, but who came first in this scenario? The County Council now represents all of us in some way. My philosophy is, why are we as leaders getting into some areas that now we’re talking about putting on the ballot? Are we making decisions for citizens that we shouldn’t be making?

We should go ahead and if it’s got some energy, put it in front of the voters and let them make the decision. Why are we making that decision?

Q: Why do you think this has become so politicized?

A: Because I don’t think both will fly. We understand that we need to buy rights-of-way and intersection corridors, and I know that’s on the docket. Even though we show that right now it could do better, do we bail out?

The citizens of Logan have a huge investment in the LTD, but we as a council felt to strengthen Cache Valley Transit, we divested ourselves and put it under one roof. Now, we’re getting sideways after showing we’re proactive to the entire valley in moving that direction. We’ve got the county balking on the LTD. Who is the LTD for, anyway? It’s for everybody.

Q: Do you ride the bus?

A: I don’t. The business of my life, my routes wouldn’t work. If they vote this down, they’ll say ‘we as governing officials think that it’s a waste of money.’ That’s what they’re basically saying.

Q: You’ve been mayor for almost two years now. What’s been the biggest surprise for you as mayor of Logan?

A: The time it takes. I knew that it was a big job, but I had no idea how many hits on my calendar. I have to tell a lot of people no. I have to find some time for me, and I enjoy my time away from it because I need that. Speaking here or going to this or ribbon cuttings and everything, it’s a big job.

Q: How has your family dealt with you being in the spotlight?

A: I think well. The timing was right for me to do this, because my kids have moved on and are dealing with their own families and their own careers. My wife is very busy with the Tabernacle Choir, but we meet each other on common ground.

I do not bring work home to her. I don’t bring frustrations. I come home and clear my mind. I told her I was going to run and she said “I’ll support you, but it’s your decision and not mine.” I am not going to be 100 percent popular, and I’m really working hard to represent the citizens of Logan and do what they elected me to do.

Q: What’s been the hardest part of the job for you?

A: Having things out there that I know need to be done but can’t get to them either because of manpower or financial inability to make it happen. The plate’s always bigger than what we can take of. The other thing that’s frustrating is the time it takes to go through the processes.

Q: What are the strengths and weaknesses of the Municipal Council?

A: The beauty of government is “agree to disagree.” We have been sideways a little more than a little. The strengths are that we have a young council and they’re all busy.

Q: You can’t say the strengths without saying the weaknesses.

A: I would wish that they would come through this office more and help me be the administrator that I am and help me get the answers.

Q: Some people have accused while in office of catering to the friends you made in your job in the private sector and that you’ve been development-friendly to the detriment of other sorts of projects.

A: Some can take that view but the thing is I’ve told everybody I have an open door policy. Everybody and anybody has a right to call me. Maybe some feel a little intimidated in calling this office, but there are enough people in the business world that don’t intimidate easily.

They’ll call, and their requests are legitimate. I’m not a job-crasher, but there’s a way to work together to get an end result and get an area that’s been unproductive and get it back to a productive state. I think I’ve been fair across the board. Some people feel that just because I’m going after the park strips, I’m going after the lower-income types of people. This park strip, when you start looking everywhere, is affecting all segments.

delts145 Aug 7, 2007 4:35 PM

Cache Valley
"Home Coming" Larry Winborg
"A View From College Hill" Jeremy Winborg


SLC Projects Aug 7, 2007 9:36 PM

Wow. What a view. :tup:

StevenF Aug 7, 2007 9:50 PM

Those are very nice paintings :tup:

wrendog Aug 8, 2007 12:52 AM

Cache Valley is really booming. I had never really been to Logan, but now my sister in law and her hubby live there and I have visited a few times. It is very pretty up there and lots of new development. Logan Canyon is very nice as well..

StevenF Aug 8, 2007 3:08 AM

This is the Riverwoods by Wasatch Properties Management. They are building this business park only 5 blocks south of the downtown area of Logan. None of it is road side development, its set back just like a business park. The overall development will have a marriot hotel, convention center, restaurants, and office space.

What is finished so far is just the 4 story office and they are currently working on a parking garage to the south east of the office building.

The project has had some controversy because of how close it is to downtown and still far enough away that it can hurt the downtown. Many would rather see the hotel and convention center built farther north so the city core can benefit from it better.

Side shot and yes that is my truck and it is up for sell. ;) ;)

StevenF Aug 10, 2007 12:51 AM

Logan City Hall going green
By Adam Benson

Mayor: New complex will meet strict energy efficiency standard

Once complete, Logan’s new City Hall complex will boast more than just brand-new offices for administrators and department heads — it will also be among Cache Valley’s most environmentally friendly facilities.

That’s because Mayor Randy Watts is promising the 25,000-square-foot addition will be built to LEED Silver standards, becoming the first facility in the region to exceed the nationally recognized benchmark of energy efficiency. The announcement comes as the Municipal Council continues discussions on how best to implement a policy requiring all future city-built facilities to comply with the standard.

“You can’t ask anybody else to step up to the plate if we haven’t already,” Watts said. “I want a building that the citizens of Logan will be very proud of and give years of use.”

But building the 25,000-square-foot addition to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards will cost an extra $200,000, and some councilmembers want to make sure the move is accomplishing more than sending a political message before releasing the money.

“I’m not against building smarter and implementing technologies that will save us money in the long run,” Councilwoman Tami Pyfer said. But, “if this extra money we’re spending is just to get a piece of paper saying we’re environmentally friendly, I will not support that.”

Watts announced in January his vision to relocate the city’s offices from an aging building located at 255 N. Main into the existing Justice Building to the west.

The project carries a total price tag of $3.4 million, and councilmembers gave Watts $2.6 million of that in April. Finance Director Richard Anderson said the venture is being paid for entirely through excess city reserves.

Watts said the existing portion of the Justice Building won’t be retrofitted to become LEED compliant.

According to the U.S. Green Building Council, structures must meet between 50 and 60 percent of LEED’s prerequisites to be certified silver. LEED standards address six major areas: Sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality and innovation and design processes.

To date, no buildings in the region have been constructed to the LEED Silver threshold, but Utah State University facilities planner Stanley Kane said four on campus are operating to that level — the Edith Bowen Laboratory School, Widtsoe Hall, the Merrill-Cazier Library and the Performance Hall.

Watts acknowledged his commitment to making the city’s new headquarters as green as possible stems in part from the council’s vote against participating in a coal-fired power plant to be built outside of Delta.

“I’m willing to come along with the council,” he said. “I’m willing to put some effort into making buildings more efficient.”

Despite higher upfront costs, Logan Community Development Director Jay Nielson said making buildings LEED compliant saves money over the long term.

“It will pay for itself multiple times,” he said.

Proponents of alternative energy consumption backed that at a Tuesday night council meeting.

“If we expect our citizens to follow a new direction and a better way to build buildings, we better do that ourselves,” Councilman Joseph Needham said.

Nielson said the Justice Building addition is being constructed with recyclable materials and uses passive solar design elements, among other things.

“The city is on a course to become more energy conscious. If we commit to new buildings being LEED certified, we’re making a big step,” he said. “It is completely consistent and follows the major tenets in the general plan that we should be conserving resources and energy to a higher level and should be giving leadership in the valley to that regard.”

Watts said if a new freestanding library is ever built, it too will adhere to LEED Silver standards.

But whether a policy to that effect should take the form of a non-binding resolution or an ordinance, is still being talked about by city lawmakers.

“Personally, I feel this ought to be an ordinance because it says that we take it seriously,” said Councilman Steve Thompson. “I think we ought to encourage the private sector to come along.”

The Municipal Council is expected to vote on the matter at its Aug. 21 meeting.

delts145 Aug 10, 2007 12:02 PM

:tup: Logan unveils new conference center,00.html
new hotel/conference center to be built along the Logan River.(Wasatch Development associates)


StevenF Aug 10, 2007 11:04 PM
That hotel and convention center will be in this dirt area of the picture

StevenF Aug 11, 2007 2:51 AM

Street Preacher
This guy has been walking up and down part of Main here in Logan for a few weeks now quoting verses from the Book of Mormon. I have only seen him once just a few days ago but it kinda interesting to see him out there. Most don't pay any attention to him as he goes and just as the video states he doesn't pay any attention to you when you try and talk to him.

delts145 Aug 15, 2007 9:11 PM

Coolest Cache structures ...

The Herald Journal and The Heritage Foundation Newsletter,

Given the variety of architecture in Cache Valley, it’s hard to pick just 10 buildings that could be described as the “neatest” or “coolest.”

But we tried.

There’s a number of structures that could have made the list, and in fact, it was a struggle for Herald Journal staff members to agree on the top 10. Buildings like the Utah Theatre, the Smithfield Armory, Logan’s 1st Ward LDS chapel on 100 South, the roof of the White Owl, Cafe Sabor, the Old Rock Church in Providence, the current Architectural Design West building and several homes in Historic Downtown Logan all were given heavy consideration.

But in the end, we could only include 10, and here they our, our picks for the valley’s 10 “coolest structures.”

1. LDS Temple, 175 N. 300 East in Logan

Finished in the 1880s, the LDS Temple inevitably topped this list, based on its size, situation, age and relevance to Cache Valley residents. However, not every Herald Journal reader agreed that the limestone castellated-style building should be on the list.

Calling it gothic/Victorian (which some people said “strangely works”), one reader wrote, “It looks like someone put salt and pepper shakers in the turret towers of a medieval castle. Horrible combination.”

On nine acres, the 119,619-square-foot building that hosts the “salt and pepper shakers” atop is the second LDS temple built in Utah. The five-story building was started in May 1877 and dedicated in May 1884.

Originally, a buff-colored sandstone was used to detail shaping and, reportedly, to hide the dark, siliceous limestone hauled from Logan Canyon then seen as unattractive. In the 1900s, the paint was allowed to weather and the limestone uncovered.

The temple is now a hub of religious activity, with regular patrons throughout the week and a flood of brides and grooms on weekends. Usually the first structure people see when coming out of Wellsville Canyon, it embodies the reason Cache Valley is the size it is today.

2. Dr. Pierce barn off U.S. Highway 89/91 north of Wellsville

Hailed 100 years ago as one of the most powerful and helpful medications a woman could have, a barn advertisement for Dr. Ray Vaughn Pierce’s famous

“Woman’s Tonic” is now a historical landmark in Cache Valley.

Near Wellsville on U.S. Highway 89/91 the “Dr. Pierce” barn is actually one of two in the valley that sport ads for 19th and 20th century medications. The second is west of Richmond and more obscure than the Wellsville landmark.

With similar barns across the country — several in Oregon, Washington, New York and California at least looking strikingly familiar to anyone who’s driven southbound from Logan, the ad, “The woman’s tonic: Dr. Pierce’s favorite prescription” is a relic of the past. Painting advertisements on barns was common in the 19th and 20th centuries and Pierce’s wildly popular medicines that treated women’s diseases, cancer, digestive illness, fatigue, heartaches and menstruation definitely made it to Cache Valley.

The barn, owned by Evan Stevenson, was fortified in the late 1990s and restored in the fall of 2002. After some complained the letters were restored a little too much, a crew came in July 2003 to reverse the process by weathering the letters to make them appear closer to originality.

Photographs of Wellsville’s Dr. Pierce’s barn can be found alongside other Dr. Pierce photos from around the nation on poster and art retail Web sites.

3. Historic County Courthouse, 199 N. Main Street

In 1882, the County Court retained the Logan LDS Temple architect Truman O. Angell Jr. to design a new courthouse. For $17,814, Cache County residents saw their Main Street courthouse go up with locally pressed brick and Logan Canyon timber.

More than 120 years later, $2.5 million would go into restoring the building, that until 2003 was the oldest continually used government building in the state.

The Historic County Courthouse was slated for demolition more than once over the past couple of decades, but proponents of keeping the courthouse around won the fight. Former Logan Mayor Newell Daines oversaw restoration.

The modern building has been open for about a year to the public and hosts the Cache County Council meetings. Other offices and the Visitor’s Bureau now call the facility home.

4. Old Main, USU campus

One reader called Old Main and the Logan LDS Temple necessary “on any list of important and beautiful buildings in Cache Valley.”

Originally the “College Building,” this university landmark is second to the temple in it’s prominence around the valley. Built quickly after Utah’s Board of Trustees approved the $20,305 construction project in 1889, the majority of the building was completed within a year and the entire structure erected by 1901.

Old Main holds at least one state record. The “gothic landmark” is the oldest continuously used structure at a college or university in Utah. Its plans, designed by C.L. Thompson, were chosen by the Trustees from among four choices.

Now home to the university president’s offices, major university offices and several classrooms, Old Main’s prominence in Cache Valley resident’s minds is emotional as well as physical. The building appears in countless engagement, bridal, graduation, family and landscape photographs that grace photo albums and the walls of homes across the state.

5. St. John’s Episcopal Church, 85 E. 100 North

Founded in 1873, the St. John’s Episcopal Church was the first church in the valley not of the LDS faith. Eventually dedicated in 1909, the present church and parish hall are historic structures in Cache Valley, listed on the state’s register of historic sites.

Since its construction, the sometimes called “western, Romanesque gothic” building has changed, prompting one Herald Journal reader to nominate the church: “What about St. John’s Episcopal Church? The oldest Protestant church in the valley that was expertly remodeled to combine the old with the new. A great feat.”

Recent changes have included the 1983 addition of the large stained glass window on the south facade of the building, depicting Gospel of St. John scenes. In 1997, the church purchased the house west of the parish hall and completed a building project in 2004, increasing the size of the structure and making it more easily accessible.

Today, St. John’s hosts a parish of about 150 local families.

6. Manon Caine Russell Kathryn Caine Wanlass Performance Hall, USU campus

One of three USU buildings to make our list, the new recital hall is not one of the “coolest” because it was paid for mainly with money from the largest private gift in university history, although a notable detail.

Even though at least one reader disagreed with the performance hall’s unique architecture, The Herald Journal staff decided that, in this case, unique was a good thing. The 20,000-square-foot, $10.5 million performance hall was designed not just to provide musical experiences, but to have a presence on campus with its exterior sculpted to look like mountains.

With $6.3 million in money gifted from sisters Kathryn Caine Wanlass and Manon Caine Russell, chief designer Vinicius Gorgati explained that necessity after the hall’s 2004 announcement.

“This building is located at an important edge of the campus. It is also the first building within a completely new arts precinct. It needed to be dramatic, but in a way that responded to an exquisite natural setting,” Gorgati said.

7. Wells Fargo building, corner of Main and Center streets

Before it was the Wells Fargo Building it was the First Security Bank building. Before that? Hotel Eccles.

The building at 5 South Main replaced the Thatcher Opera House, which burned down the same day the Titanic sank, and with the large bank sign on top of it in recent years, its became a landmark of downtown Logan.

The four-story building is one of the taller structures in town, and a recent remodel of the bank area on the first floor has created a first-class classic interior feel.

8. LDS Tabernacle, northeast corner of Center and Main streets
At the center of the community, the LDS Tabernacle is the backbone of

Logan’s downtown. It defines Main Street in Logan to locals and visitors.

In the 1860s Logan officials started talking about the necessity of a larger meeting place, according to former historian A.J. Simmonds’ research. By 1874, the 130- by 65-foot building was under construction using volunteer labor and stone from local quarries.

However, the work slowed, according to Simmonds, when the temple was announced three years later. It took until 1891 for the entire building to be dedicated by Wilford Woodruff.

The tabernacle is no longer a regular meeting place for church congregations, excepting stake conferences and other large group LDS meetings, but hosts a variety of other events, including tours, Noon Music at the tabernacle and the annual Summerfest Arts Faire.

9. Merrill-Cazier Library, USU campus

This building became the newest attraction on campus even before it was dedicated in April 2006, with students detouring past construction fences and work crews.

Rumors of automated storage, large study areas and the newest technology became truth after the university merged two libraries to open the state-of-the art Merrill-Cazier Library.

One reader suggested the new 305,0000-square-foot structure for the HJ’s list: “Also, a more recent building that is technologically and architecturally incredible is the new Merrill-Cazier library on campus. Very ‘cool.’”

10. First District Courthouse

It’s a large stone and glass building with lots of right angles, and one that many have lambasted as “sticking out like a sore thumb” in an otherwise classically designed downtown, but it’s the things inside the courthouse that we think are “cool.”

Compared to its predecessor, the 1st District Courthouse is a model of technology and security. The building features courtrooms with several cameras and advanced audio recording equipment designed to create a visual record of everything that happens in court. The building also has secure, separate hallways within the structure, which allow guards to transport inmates from a holding area on the first floor to the courtrooms without every having contact with the public.

— By Emilie H. Wheeler

SLC Projects Aug 15, 2007 9:48 PM

That's a nice list there for Logan. I like the Temple and the Wells Fargo building the best.

delts145 Aug 15, 2007 11:37 PM

Yeah, and I would have to say Old Main is one of my favorites too.

Wasatch_One Aug 15, 2007 11:54 PM

Merrill-Cazier Library, USU campus

hmmm... my mom's maiden name is Merrill and she is from the Logan metro... I wonder...?

Props Aug 17, 2007 3:23 PM

Those are great photos of the recital hall and I really like the look of the interior, but those are about the only nice things I've got to say about it. IMHO it looks unfinished in the daylight and conveys more of an industrial appearance than a natural one. It's just one more step in the "concreting" of a beautiful, traditional campus. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I can't appreciate the innovation in the architecture, it just doesn't work where it's built. Because of that, I wouldn't call it one of the "coolest".

delts145 Aug 17, 2007 3:39 PM

I think I would have to agree with you props. While I like the innovative design of the hall, I feel like they should have used a tasteful stone, or even a laminate over the concrete.
Russell Performance Hall as seen by day, Robert Benson Photography

ski_steve Mar 30, 2008 7:32 PM

Will Logan 'Cache' in on ranking?

By Lee Benson
Deseret Morning News

LOGAN — Unannounced, I drove down Main Street of one of the hottest towns in America. Logan, in case you hadn't heard, is having a very good year. Just this month, Outdoor Life Magazine rated Logan the 12th best outdoor town in America. That came on the heels of a report in January that Logan's unemployment rate of 2.4 percent is the lowest of any of the 369 metropolitan areas in the country. Which followed news that house appreciation, at 8.75 percent, ranks ninth highest in the nation.

And local gas prices are below $2 a gallon.

OK. That last one's not true. But the rest are. Logan is on a real roll....,5143,695265839,00.html

StevenF Mar 30, 2008 8:11 PM


Originally Posted by stevena07 (Post 3450678)
Will Logan 'Cache' in on ranking?

By Lee Benson
Deseret Morning News

LOGAN — Unannounced, I drove down Main Street of one of the hottest towns in America. Logan, in case you hadn't heard, is having a very good year. Just this month, Outdoor Life Magazine rated Logan the 12th best outdoor town in America. That came on the heels of a report in January that Logan's unemployment rate of 2.4 percent is the lowest of any of the 369 metropolitan areas in the country. Which followed news that house appreciation, at 8.75 percent, ranks ninth highest in the nation.

And local gas prices are below $2 a gallon.

OK. That last one's not true. But the rest are. Logan is on a real roll....,5143,695265839,00.html

lol, I live in Newton, just Northwest of Logan and I will say there is not one gas station that has $2 a gallon. Its just as much as Salt Lake around $3.20 a gallon. In fact a week ago I paid 7cents less at 2700 W and 4700 S. at the Holiday than I can find anywhere up here but at the local Smiths grocery store.

I like hearing that my home that I bought this last December has a good chance of some nice appreciation over the next few years. Just not looking to see my taxes go up.

StevenF Apr 28, 2008 11:24 PM

I found this kinda interesting since I had no idea that Cache Valley ever had a trolley system. I would love to see commuter rail follow that same path from Brigham City to at least Smithfield. IF it did I could have a station just 2 miles from my home and not have to take my bloody car to Salt Lake.

Props May 6, 2008 3:39 PM

This image is in Cache Valley Magazine. If you look closely you can see the tracks down the center of the street and a trolley car travelling down them.

It would be great to take a rail ride all the way along the length of the Wasatch Front and then up to Preston!

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