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Bountiful to cancel city hall project
by TOM HARALDSEN
Mar 02, 2017 | 1839 views | 1 1 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BOUNTIFUL leaders announced that they plan to cancel contracts for a new city hall, and will remodel and update the current building.
BOUNTIFUL leaders announced that they plan to cancel contracts for a new city hall, and will remodel and update the current building.
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BOUNTIFUL—The Bountiful City Council was set to officially cancel contracts for the proposed new city hall as part of its regular meeting on Tuesday night.  The decision was expected to be made near the end of a lengthy council agenda, and after our press deadline.

In a joint announcement made late Monday afternoon, councilmembers said they plan to terminate the contracts for design and construction of the proposed municipal center. Mayor Randy Lewis and the five councilmembers maintain that the project would help bolster downtown and provide for economic development, but “prefer to promote community harmony over the new building,” the statement read.

“The council and the city staff know the community is what’s most important,” city manager Gary Hill said. “Who we are as a community in Bountiful is not worth the contention that has arisen.”

Those sentiments were echoed in the statement, where councilmembers said that, “Bountiful…doesn’t need to follow the national trend of blame and anger. We challenge the notion that angry public discourse, digging in one’s heels, and winning at all costs is ‘just the way it is now.’ Bountiful deserves better than this. As your city leaders, we have a duty to nurture respectful conversation. In that regard, we can all do better.”

Councilmembers voted unanimously last fall to relocate city hall and develop a plaza on city-owned property between Main and 100 East, and between 100 and 200 South. The intention was three-fold, as quoted in the release:

• Replace aging buildings in a manner and location that boosts the City’s economy.

• Spend one-time funds to encourage development that will provide ongoing fundingfor other necessary infrastructure and needs.

•Create a dynamic community core that highlight’s Bountiful’s historic heart.

The project has been a source of contention in the community since it was announced last spring. City leaders had hoped to build a new city complex on property that Bountiful owns on the site of Stoker School. A group of residents opposing the project started a petition for referendum late last year to stop or delay the project and to get the issue on a municipal election ballot to gage public opinion.

“I am personally very disappointed, and I believe the council is very disappointed in not seeing this project through to the vision we’ve had for it,” Lewis said. “Bountiful is a very unique city, a beautiful city, and it’s important that we set the right example. We didn’t feel coerced or pressured to make the decision not to go forward with city hall. It has just gotten too caustic for a place like Bountiful. No building is worth a divided community.”

Though a new city hall won’t be constructed on the site, leaders still want to build a downtown plaza, and pledge to work collaboratively with residents in developing that project. Because all current contracts will be cancelled if that action was taken as expected on Tuesday, any new developments of the plaza would require new contracts to be approved by the council.

“Our vision for downtown is not lost,” Lewis said. “We have such a great vision for the future of Bountiful and I believe it will still come. We’re making this decision from a perch of strength, not weakness. We’re excited about the future.”

“With last year’s passage of Proposition 1, which provides additional funding for road maintenance, we will undertake an independent study on how to best use that funding to improve our streets and sidewalks,” the statement said. “We pledge to listen and communicate more effectively and with more understanding. We invite all of Bountiful to do the same.”

Comments
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HansenLT_2017
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March 04, 2017
As grateful as we should be for this ridiuclous project being cancelled, it is important to recognize that the Mayor is running for re-election. It is also important to note that the reasons this project was cancelled, especially those coming from the mayor, have zero roots in learning from the poor judgement originally used to start the project in the first place. If we are to hope for real change in Bountiful we simply must elect leaders with better judgement and wisdom. The ONLY reasons being provided by the leaders of Bountiful for canceling the project are about not wanting divisiveness and hatred. It seems to be lost on Mayor Lewis that much of the divisiveness and contention resulted in his leadership (or lack thereof) pushing forward with the new city hall, and his silly and consistent messaging that there were many residents who actually wanted to see the new city hall built. This is symptomatic of the poor judgement we have, are, and will continue to see from those currently leading this wonderful city. Are we grateful for their decision? Absolutely. But Mayor, don't be foolish enough to believe that Bountiful residents can't read between the lines of your reasoning for canceling the project. YOU STILL THINK IT SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED!! For that, and many other reasons, Bountiful residents will be voting a new mayor into office this coming November. You clearly gave it your best shot. And we appreciate your efforts. But don't think your judgmental and condescending leadership style will last past November. You're done sir.
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