Currently, the city’s square includes the library and park on the northeast corner (on Main and Center Streets), an LDS church on the southeast corner (Main Street and 100 South), a park owned by the church on the southwest corner (100 South and 100 West), and an LDS church on the northwest corner (100 West and Center Street).
The Old Rock Church, which is used as a museum operated by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, is in the center of the square, and can currently be accessed by tree-line lanes from both the north and south, and a narrow road from Main Street.
The church on the northwest corner is planned to be demolished, and a new church will be constructed on 100 West, in the center of the block, with parking lots on both sides. The parking lot on the southwest corner will service both LDS churches and the Old Rock Church, and the lot on the northwest corner will provide parking for the new building and be convenient for those visiting the park.
City councilmembers have expressed concern at the loss of so much green space, but the church owns almost three-quarters of the block, with the existing Main Street building and the entire western half beyond the Old Rock Church, and can do whatever it deems necessary with its own property.
City Manager Shayne Scott said the church has parking requirements, and even with the two lots, it will be under its requirements for the two buildings.
“They are very agreeable to working with us,” Mayor Don Landes said. “We had some concerns. I hate to see a lot of the grass go.”
At last week’s meeting, the council discussed the mature trees that would be lost, including three big pine trees and all the trees in the lane that currently approaches the Old Rock Church from the south. Scott said the trees in the lane approaching from the north could be retained, but the asphalt would be ripped out. The council chose to have grass put in that area.
Once the construction and changes are completed, access to the Old Rock Church will still be available by using the road from Main Street or through the south parking lot.
The council also decided to have grass planted and possible picnic tables placed in unpaved areas around the Old Rock Church, after learning from Code Enforcement Officer Cleve Matheson that there is a six-foot concrete apron surrounding the building to protect its foundation.
Matheson added that while the councilmembers and others in the community will be sad to lose many of the mature trees, there are trees on 100 West that were slated to be removed because they are a variety that grows too tall and interferes with power lines. The church will remove them and put in an approved variety, he added.
Landes said a major concern he has, which will need to be discussed with church representatives, is that the bathroom for the park is located entirely on church property, and they are not sure what will happen to it.
He also said he has been told church officials will be trying to keep residents using the building for as long as possible, maybe even up to five months, and that the new church is expected to be completed within about a year.
Further discussion about the changes was expected to take place at the June 20 Historical Society meeting.
Also at the June 14 meeting, the council voted to rescind an old resolution that would increase city utility rates with the Consumer Price Index automatically. The council discussed that while there are some funds that need to looked at, the power fund is very healthy at this time.
Without the vote to rescind that resolution, rates would have increased across the board beginning in July. As each fund fluctuates, the council deemed it more responsible to look at each fund on a yearly basis and see if rate adjustmentsare needed.
As the final item of business, after a closed executive session, the city council approved a contract agreement with Scott. Councilmember Alma Adams said since he took office about six months ago he has enjoyed working with the city manager and has been highly impressed.
“We just approved his salary and I agree with it, but he deserves more,” Adams said.
Scott said when he was hired he had a one-year contract, and for the past year he has had no contract. The new contract has no specified end date.