Friday, July 17, 2009

Please Take the Main Street Survey

At Saturday's Steel Days parade, did you focus on the floats, the free candy, or the failing infrastructure?

Personally, I find it increasingly difficult to ignore the crumbling sidewalks, the treacherous pedestrian crossings, the waist-high weeds, and the mangy trees in our downtown. That's to say nothing of the high traffic volumes on 89, or the near impossibility of finding parking near one's favorite downtown merchants.

These things are bad enough for those of us who live here and worry about falling property values and vacant properties. But an ailing Main Street hurts everybody in American Fork. It invites crime. It projects a run-down, unkempt image onto our city as a whole, deterring strong businesses from locating in town. And it carries a high opportunity cost, considering what is possible at this location.

Positioned at the center of a region boasting so many of the state's highest incomes, an effectively revitalized Main Street could attract a pretty penny or two to the City's sales tax coffers.

Fortunately, there are remedies to be had. Enter the Main Street Vision Study, sponsored by Mountainland Association of Governments (MAG). This is a thorough and official effort to "analyze and recommend economic opportunities, possible design themes, future land use types, densities and transportation opportunities that American Fork City could use to encourage future development while retaining the streets’ unique historic character."

MAG is the metropolitan planning organization for Utah County, and its studies are taken seriously by all the major decision makers, including UDOT and the State of Utah. MAG itself is taking this study very seriously, as it has engaged some of the state's top designers, architects, and economic analysts to complete the job.

The study will be kicked off with a survey of Main Street residents and business owners. Today I am inviting YOU to take this survey also. I am especially interested in feedback from my several hundred neighbors who live in the blocks adjacent to the Main Street corridor, but I am also interested in feedback from American Fork's farther-flung residents who have given the issue serious thought.

Please follow this link to read the mayor's letter and print the survey today. You'll need to deliver it yourself to Debby Lauret at the City administration building by about August 1, or mail it to this address:

Debby J. Lauret
PO Box 162, 51 East Main
American Fork, UT 84003
I'm sorry that this is inconvenient -- but if, like me, you are anxious for change and want a voice, then I know you'll appreciate this opportunity for input.

If you ask me, this study has come not one minute too soon.


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