BY REBECCA PALMER
I recently visited eastern Germany and Prague, in the Czech Republic, and I have returned with a new understanding of the value of history, particularly when it comes to the magnificent civic buildings we erect in our communities.
In Prague, I reveled in the beauty of a castle that has been standing for hundreds of years. Its gothic cathedral has the most beautiful stained glass I have ever seen, perhaps some of the best in the world. The way it showed off the beauty of natural light inspired me.
I also saw the City Hall there, and the national bank. These old, magnificent buildings spoke to me about the people of Prague and the importance they have placed on creating beautiful surroundings over the centuries.
The U.S. is only 236 years old, and modern civilization in Davis County is even younger. We don’t have the historic buildings enjoyed by Europe. However, I now believe more strongly than ever that we should place great value on our public buildings, even if it costs extra money and effort to do so. The same is true for our streets, parks and even road signs.
I am pleased about all the work and attention that has gone into the new administration building in Farmington for Davis County. The modern structure is solid, utilitarian and is expected to last at least 50 years. For example, it contains the latest heating and cooling technology and will give our public servants access to the best in technology access. I hope that a great deal of art from local people will be highlighted there to show off the spirit of our community.
I am also very grateful that the current administration building in Farmington will be preserved for posterity. Like in Prague, that building includes beautiful stained glass, and its architecture gives a sense of our history of self-governance.
Likewise, I appreciate the fact that residents who love Bountiful and grew up here will lead the design and construction of Bountiful’s new city hall, and that the existing building will be preserved. As the older building is renovated, we must remember the value of history, even if some features seem outdated compared to Utah’s many new buildings and their clean, modern architecture.
Whether in Dresden, Berlin or Prague, the character of civic buildings is an important testament to the spirit of communities. As we construct our own buildings, we must remember that this will also be true for us.
Even for the most practically minded residents, this is true. The highest quality buildings will bring in tourists, and could even welcome those who want to build strong businesses while offering their employees picturesque communities.
We have fewer than two hundred years to draw from in Utah, but what we do now should impact the next several centuries. We owe it to the future of our communities, and to ourselves, to invest in the structures that define us. A few million dollars is not insignificant now, but it’s mere pocket change in comparison to the lasting effects of our actions.
Contact me with your thoughts, comments and information about community issues at firstname.lastname@example.org or 801-295-2251 ext. 126.