Letter to the editor: There is no rug at the Logan City Library

Letter to editor

There Is No Rug at the Logan City Library

Because it has been pulled out from under it, and sent to the cleaners along with the residents of Logan.

The Loan City Library is at the center of a heated controversy in Cache Valley these days, ever since the previous mayor, Craig Petersen, along with city planner Russ Holley, carelessly maneuvered the city into a bind during his less than stellar term as mayor.  Many say it was the previous mayor, the equally careless, and many say egotistically mindless, Randy Watts, who put this all in motion.  Makes sense.  Both of these guys are failed businessmen.  Well, Petersen was a retired business professor at Utah State University which equates to the same thing.  The proof is in the pudding.  Petersen announced he would not run for a second term.  Ya think?

The newly elected mayor, Holly Daines is now at bat.  We’ll get to her later.

Meanwhile, Logan City’s ‘Downtown Business Developer’, the effervescently benign Gary Saxton, continues to hang on to his job by blowing smoke to anyone who will listen or talk to him about how a new Hampton Inn will create a “vortex” of business activity in downtown Logan.  Vortex?  Gary talks like that, like a 1950’s advertising guy …‘run it up the flagpole and see who salutes it’ …’drop it on a rock and see if it bleeds’ …“pedestrian friendly”,  “sustainable downtown”,  “catalyst”, “plenty of parking!”, “Com’on down!” 

Thanks, Gary, you can sit down now.  

Back to the story …

The corner of Logan’s Main Street and 200 North is the showcase “City Block”, the ‘western gateway’ to Logan and Cache Valley.  The block property includes City Hall, the Police Station, the U.S. Post Office and the City Library, and is adjacent to the historic Logan Court House.  The northwest corner of the block had previously been vacant and used as parking.  

Petersen and his Logan City brain trust sold that most valuable corner property in Logan to a shyster developer for so far under market value Donald Trump would be jealous.  Sold it for around $900,000.  Logan City bought it for $1.3 million 15 years ago.  Wow, that is one sweetheart deal!  

I say shyster business developer with all the sentiment the term implies.  Matt Weston, owner of the Weston Inn on Main Street just across the street from the 200 North corner, recently sold his Weston Inn for $5.2 million.  However, he failed to inform the new owner that he was going to build a Hampton Inn right across the street, all totally approved by Logan City!  This is a crime, no?  Obviously, a law suit is pending.  Seems to be the way developers and the city roll around here.

The self-serving Weston, fooling both himself and the city fathers, but not all of Logan, is quoted as sentimentally saying, “I wanted to do it in my hometown.”  Many Logan residents would have preferred he do it somewhere else.  Then spray afterwards.   

If you’re following this setup you’re asking yourself, “So, John, cut all the descriptive adjectives, what about the Library and the rug?”

The current library sits adjacent the new Hampton Inn which is now in mid construction.  Logan City has “prodded the development community” to pull the rug out from under the library and submit proposals for businesses to replace it assuming they will draw business from the Hampton Inn when it’s completed.  A “vortex” of business.  Oh, by the way, there is already a Hampton Inn just 2 miles down the road.

So, seemingly, the old library’s days are numbered.  The bind that the one-term-wonder Petersen has put the city in is that now the city has a lame duck library to match the remainder of his honor’s lame duck term which ended December 31st handing off his snafu to our new mayor, Holly “show me the money” Daines. 

Talk and location plans for a brand spanking new library are rampant and exciting.  A magnificent 21st Century library!  Consultants have been consulted.  There has been talk of food courts, waterfalls, community gardens and ferris wheels.  Maybe some books as well.

Meanwhile, as downtown Logan is ghosted with empty storefronts due to failed businesses and the push north along Logan’s “Magic Mile” (toward the other Hampton Inn) which is bustling with fast food restaurants, box stores, snow cone huts and RV dealerships, there is a place called “The Emporium”, kind of an inner city mall, beloved by Logan residents and the former center hub of downtown business activity, right across Main Street from the historic Logan Tabernacle.  It was purchased by Petersen’s Logan City for about $3 million and vacated to accommodate the “new library” but the idea fell through like an anvil through a manhole.  The property, now empty, stands as a living monument to another woulda coulda shoulda thinking moment by the Logan City brain trust.   

Revitalizing downtown Logan is a noble and worthwhile effort.  While I criticize the zany antics of our wanna be leaders, I applaud their willingness to humiliate themselves.

So, as new library locations are desperately considered, every downtown business slumlord and ne’er-do-well property owner are entering the prayer circle.  A prospective site has been selected and designated adjacent Logan High School.  It’s has been a community eyesore for years, an old gas station called “V-1”, named apparently after Adolph’s rocket.  

Estimated costs for the new library were conservatively placed around $10 – $12 million.  Nuh-uh.  Realistically, the thing will cost double that when all is said and done, probably more, and I haven’t heard one word about the environmental cleanup costs regarding the underground gas tanks. 

You’re saying, “But, John, I understand the “rug” analogy, but how will the Logan residents be taken to the cleaners?”.  Here’s how.  Our new mayor, Holly “show me the money” Daines has about $9 million “saved up” in the Logan City coffers for a new library.

I can still hear the hollow promise from one-term-wonder Craig Petersen, when, at a public meeting about the library issue, he pledged that he would not tax the people of Logan for the costs of the new library, that it was already covered.  Well, that was then this is now.             

There may be no rug at the Logan city library, but the streets are paved with gold if you’re a local developer.

—John Kushma is a communication consultant and lives in Logan, Utah.

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