CACHE COUNTY – The Cache Valley Visitors Bureau (CVVB) is celebrating Thanksgiving by making a sizeable contribution to the fundraising campaign for the Center Block Plaza project in downtown Logan.
During a routine meeting of the Cache County Council on Nov. 23, CVVB director Julie Hollist Terrill relayed a recommendation from the bureau’s advisory board that a gift of $150,000 in tourist tax dollars be made to the Logan City fundraising campaign.
That idea was quickly endorsed by the members of the county council.
“Partnering with Logan City and our downtown businesses to support economic development, tourism and to provide recreational opportunities for our residents is a win-win for our community,” according to Cache County Executive David Zook.
Terrill explained that the $150,000 contribution will be used to help construct the plaza’s administration building which will house a ticket office, rest rooms and an information kiosk.
Those funds will come from Transient Room Taxes paid by guests who stay in local hotels while visiting Cache County. State law requires that those funds must be used to promote and support local tourism.
“We are thrilled to invest tourist tax dollars in a project that will be a draw for visitors and a mecca for locals,” said Hollist Terrill.
When combined with a previous gift to the plaza of $197,000 from county Recreation, Arts, Parks and Zoo (RAPZ) taxes, the CVVB’s contributions to that project will now total $347,000.
Since the Center Block project was approved in spring of 2021, Logan’s redevelopment agency has invested more than $4.3 million in the plaza project, including about $1.3 million for the demolition of the now-vacant Emporium building and adjacent structures to the north; about $2.1 million for construction of the public plaza; around $400,000 for the portable ice rink; and about $440,000 for construction of an outdoor stage and an administration building.
City officials also requested another redevelopment grant in the amount of nearly $1.6 million for the remodeling of structures adjacent to the proposal plaza to the south at 41 and 45 North Main Street.
But Mayor Holly Daines also launched a successful fundraising campaign to offset some of the project’s costs.
To date, contributions to that effort have included $1 million from the Jim and Carol Laub Family Foundation and Cache Valley Electric; a $200,000 donation from the Emma Eccles Jones Foundation; a $250,000 challenge grant pledge from the George S. and Delores Doré Eccles Foundation; and the previous $197,000 gift from CVVB.
At the recent county council meeting, Hollist Terrill explained that the visitors bureau’s support of the plaza project is entirely appropriate because the CVVB has been involved in the downtown project since its beginnings.
The roots of the plaza project, she said, date back to recommendations made by tourism and downtown consultant Roger Brooks in a municipal revitalization study funded by the CVVB in 2017.
One of Brooks’ top suggestions was the creation of a gathering place in downtown where attend events and participate in recreational activities.
Hollist Terrill applauded Daines’ efforts to follow-up on Brooks’ suggestion by creating that gathering place for local residents and an incentive for tourists to extend their stay in Cache Valley.
The CVVB director added that helping to fund the plaza’s administration facility will give Cache County an opportunity to demonstrate that it is a fully supportive partner in the Center Block Plaza.