The Heber Community Alliance for Main Street or CAMS presented to the Heber City Council last week. The organizations leader Tom Stone explained that members of CAMS are working on a variety of projects to improve the downtown experience in Heber.
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Tom Stone said the organization has committees that are looking at a variety of improvements including murals for main street, beatification, special events, and communications.
CAMS organized the Christmas Tree Light Up celebration that took place in early December. The event was described as a celebration that citizens could feel that they owned.
“Sometimes we have these events, ‘hey everyone come and see our city.’ Which obviously has a value to it but this particular one was hey let’s enjoy our Heber City,” Stone explained. “The feeling that happened there when you start singing around the tree, and it was lit, me personally and those around me felt that whole Norman Rockwell community feel.”
Stone also said CAMS would like to create an additional event that would draw people to Heber that would express the identity of Heber. Stone emphasized the role of Main Street property owners.
“If I may be frank, the most important thing that happens in Community Alliance for Main Street is that we get the property owners involved and then secondly the business owners and third community,” Stone continued. “That’s not to say that they’re not important, but to have that business or that building look like something that owner needs to take ownership. To have that particular person say, ‘I want my building to look this way.’ Certainly, the city can say ‘here’s some ordinances or things we’d like you to do.’ To have those particular people involved and having a say and talking about it that is always the decision maker. At the root of CAMS is architecture.”
Stone says CAMS will seek to paint pictures, both with words and with actual visual representation, to allow citizens to see the vision of CAMS and provide feedback. Stone illustrated one potential vision for Main Street at the meeting, he asked what if the buildings had a turn of the century feel to it, like the establish Bank Block building and the Tabernacle.
“What if our theme was something like Heber City: Our Outdoor Sports Destination,” Stone asked? Because sometimes we don’t want to be so minutely described as something. One of the concepts and ideas that would let us be what we already are. First of all, we can build upon it. In the valley there’s Nordic events, maybe even fishing tournaments. Of course, we already have the baseball teams coming but what if we actually had mountain bike races. The Tour of Utah comes through here already, we already have the Ragnar coming through.”
Stone further described this potential vision.
“What if we had a thriving economic corridor here that is walkable on Main Street,” Stone continued. “We’re in the old, yes, turn of the century architecture, but its state-of-the-art mountain bikes and state of the art sports stores that are selling certain things, on top of offices, on top of other varieties of things. What if we had biking trails and walking trails through our city? What if a couple of them were actually dirt? So you’d have a fun little outdoor trail that goes through as well as asphalt. I’m just painting pictures, I’m not saying that’s what we’re going to do yet. I’m just throwing some pictures out there to say, ‘what if?’”
Stone realized that the entirety of the project could be daunting, but he hopes that they can get there one step at a time.
“Let’s start,” Stone said. “We’re going to start with a Christmas celebration and have people go, ‘oh, that’s what it feels like.’ Why don’t we build a fire pit so we can have a gathering place, I know it’s still busy we’ve got some trucks going on I get it, but let’s see if we could get that to work. Why don’t we think about putting a splash pad, just far enough off Main Street but on Main Street so that kids can still be safe there’s still a gathering place. Let’s make a bookend with our current park and with (the city building block) two city owned pieces of property where we can have maybe three blocks just a start. Not saying we’re not going across the street, but we start somewhere. If I try and take this elephant all at once we’re going to continue to fail because that’s been the problem in the past. So what I have loved is one step at a time.”
You can find a link to CAMS Facebook page here.