In 2003 various business owners formed the Community Alliance for Main Street (CAMS) — an organization dedicated to enhancing Heber City’s most visible traffic corridor. The CAMS group established a non-profit organization and spent several years advocating for improvements to Heber’s Main Street.
Among the many accomplishments of the original CAMS group is the investment made into street posts, garbage cans and benches. Additionally, the CAMS organization helped identify design standards for Main Street businesses. Due to the support of a state grant and funding from Heber City, CAMS accomplished many remarkable things for the community.
As the local and national economy experienced the great recession in 2008, city and state funding for CAMS dried up. Without the necessary funding and local support, CAMS went into hibernation for several years.
In 2018, newly-elected Mayor Kelleen Potter partnered with the Heber Valley Chamber of Commerce to launch a new initiative to clean up Heber’s Main Street. Mayor Potter and the Heber Valley Chamber staff organized a beautification committee tasked with identifying ways to improve the city’s appearance.
More than 20 volunteers convened for the first beautification meeting. One of the committee’s first tasks was to organize a flower planting day for select flower bulb-outs on Main Street. The results were fabulous and dozens of volunteers showed their Heber Valley pride by cleaning out planters and planting a variety of fresh flowers along Main Street.
The beautification committee quickly started gaining momentum, which caused a reawakening of the dormant CAMS organization. Leaders from CAMS and the beautification committee recognized that working together would yield even better results for the entire community. Spurred by this realization, the two groups merged into the Community Alliance for Main Street 2.0.
Why Improve Main Street?
Heber’s Main Street, which is part of U.S. Highway 40, has a traffic capacity of roughly 26,500 vehicle trips per day. According to a recent Utah Department of Transportation study, Main Street currently has 32,000 vehicle trips per day — approximately 5,500 trips more than it was built to handle. As the population of the valley continues to grow, the need for enhanced planning will become even more crucial.
Small businesses are the lifeblood of our local economy and supporting these businesses is a top priority for CAMS. Improving parking options, addressing traffic issues, creating gathering places and beautifying streets and buildings are just a few ways CAMS hopes to support the business community.
The CAMS group has organized an executive committee made up of various local officials and business leaders. This core group has established various committees to oversee different pillars for enhancing Main Street.
In July 2018 the Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Sid Ostergaard of the Elliott Work Group, installed a series of attractive wayfinding signs throughout Heber. The CAMS group will continue to build on signage as a key initiative and will also focus on identifying key locations for large murals that will reflect the rural character of Wasatch County.
The CAMS group is also working to establish a historic downtown district along Heber’s Main Street — an area that will blend historical preservation with modern design principles.
According to Tom Stone, the chairman of the CAMS group, “Main Street needs a clearer identity to help local businesses thrive. With the support of the business community, Heber City and the Chamber of Commerce, we are poised to elevate the experience for all who visit Main Street.”
Local Surveys and Citizen Input
The CAMS group is very interested in getting feedback from Heber Valley residents regarding their visions for Main Street. With the support Heber City received from a UDOT grant, residents have participated in a series of surveys which will help dictate the future of Main Street for years to come.
As the adage goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. Thankfully, the CAMS group and its associates are committed to help community leaders plan for a better, more attractive Main Street now and into the future.