Thursday, March 09, 2006

Dapper Draper Dashes DI's Downtown Destination

Yep . . .they did it. Draper, that new enclave of Utah's economic elite has decided they will keep the Church's Temple, but reject the poor among them--at least on the prestigious east side. There are several stories.

The Deseret News:

Draper says no to a downtown DI.

After a heated debate Tuesday night, the Draper City Council approved an ordinance prohibiting secondhand stores in the heart of its retail district.
The ordinance hits a particularly sensitive chord with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which had hoped to build a Deseret Industries store on 12300 South and 300 East.
"This body is trying to limit one specific entity from locating in this community," said Councilman Paul Edwards, one of two council members who voted against the ordinance.
"It's unfortunate that this body and this community has been painted with a raw brush that we're snobs. . . . And to propose an ordinance that's specific to one entity in a rapid, rash fashion is absolutely wrong."
The church-owned thrift store reportedly has been looking at a 5-acre spot east of I-15 as a possible site for a 38,000-square-foot store. But the ordinance passed Tuesday restricts secondhand stores larger than 5,000 square feet to a commercial zone west of the freeway.
"Unfortunately, I think this whole issue has been made into an emotional issue, dividing the city into east and west, versus haves and have-nots, and I think it's unfortunate," said Councilman Bill Colbert, who heavily pushed the ordinance with Councilwoman Stephanie Davis on Tuesday.
Colbert said he'd like to see a Deseret Industries in Draper, just not downtown.
"In looking at other communities, you don't see secondhand thrift stores being put in downtown redevelopment projects," he said. "You don't see The Gateway; you don't see those uses."
The ordinance was first proposed at the Jan. 3 council meeting, then sent to the Draper Planning Commission. The commission gave its endorsement later that month.
It's been a little while since I've been to downtown Draper; but I don't recall any real similarities between downtown Draper and downtown Salt Lake City. Are they really serious about these comparisons?

Editorial--Don't Turn Back on DI

The News ran this strong editorial in response. Of course both the Deseret News and DI are owned by the same entity, which the editorial acknowledges:

There is a Deseret Industries store on Main Street in Logan and another on Main Street in Brigham City. There is one on a main drag of St. George and just off the main drag in Centerville. Dozens of other Utah communities have D.I.s in the heart of town.

But now that Draper has declared Deseret Industries — a company run by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, owners of this newspaper — unfit to live among the more gentrified set, what does that say about Utah's other communities?
We know exactly what it says.

It says most Utahns are not ready to adopt the caste system of India and label one segment of the population "untouchable."
It says that charity, good will and inclusiveness are still values in most Utah towns and neighborhoods, that most places in Utah still feel it's better to lend an open hand than to offer the back of one.

It says not everybody in Utah thinks people who shop at D.I. have cooties.
It also says most Utah towns understand that thrift stores have a wide clientele, including many customers who could afford to shop elsewhere.

Still, we suspect that communities that refuse to allow Deseret Industries to set up shop in their retail cores are not really thinking so much about social norms and America's shadowy "class culture." They are really thinking about themselves and their pocketbooks. The real fear, we suspect, is that the presence of a Deseret Industries would somehow affect the value of property in the area or make it harder to attract upscale businesses. Struggles of this nature aren't about "traffic" or "storage" or "unwanted elements." They are about greed.
We have a suggestion for folks who feel like that.

Grow up.
Then go back to your English lit textbook and read the poem "Richard Cory" by the American poet Edwin Arlington Robinson. There, a moneyed soul seems to have everything a person could ever want — prestige, property, power. But the guy goes home one night and puts a bullet through his head.

Because he was hollow. He'd mortgaged his soul. He'd forgotten what mattered most.
Some believe one day the perfect city will indeed be ushered in. It will be a thing of grace and beauty. But one thing that city will undoubtedly have is respect for all people, along with a way to aid those in need.

Wow . . . is the city council feeling the heat yet? But, The News was not alone in this story. The Salt Lake Tribune, no historical ally of the Church, ran a few stories.

Salt Lake Tribune:

Draper bans DI at choice retail site.

In initial public hearings, a City Council member said Draper residents don't need a DI. Another argued that the store - with donors dropping goods off and the church trucking much of it away for humanitarian work around the globe - wasn't just another retailer.
Councilman Bill Colbert, who voted for the ordinance, said he was frustrated because the dispute seemed to divide Draper into "haves and have-nots."
Colbert argues that the ordinance still allows DI officials to request a zone change near the commercial corridor. All Colbert wants, he said, is for the store to move "one block off" 12300 South.
"You don't see [DIs] at The Gateway," Colbert said. "You don't see it in downtown revitalization in Provo."
For his part, Draper Mayor Darrell Smith - who doesn't vote on the City Council and cannot veto the ordinance - said the prospect of zoning DI out of the commercial heart was a bad idea.
"This is a decision that is not for the good of the whole community," Smith said.
But the most outspoken opponent of the ordinance was Councilman Pete Larkin.
"You want to push them to the outskirts," he said. "It's a lousy ordinance that we'll have to redo."
Interesting the Mayor has no real voice in this issue. Still, if you want to drop him an email, and let him know what you think about the city council's doings you can reach him here: Just remember, the Mayor, did oppose the ordinance. He just doesn't get a vote.

An intresting related story in the Tribune detai
ls how the DI store in Murray, Utah (just a stone's throw north of Draper) is remodeling its store and putting up a new state of the art DI, which presumably would be the same type Draper would have seen:

One of the most popular Deseret Industries stores in operation will be reduced to rubble this summer. Not to worry, the next generation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints-owned secondhand store will rise from that rubble just over a year later.
This spring, workers will begin transporting used clothing, furniture, books and more from the 4500 South and Main Street store to a temporary location in anticipation of the 14-month project.
Construction on a new, state-of-the-art DI at the same site will begin this fall, with a completion date slated for fall 2007, said Curtis Ravsten, dir
ector of Deseret Industries.
"It won't be bigger, but it will be better," Ravsten said. "It will be more efficient, clean and modern."
The updated version of Deseret Industries' flagship store will be shaved down from two floors to one and include much more parking.
That's good news to Liberty Pelton, a Sandy resident who passes two other DIs to frequent Murray's mainstay.
"This is the best one around," Pelton said. "When
I come here, I have a hard time finding a parking space."
That's the case most days, customer Ken Meadows said recently as he waited for the doors to open with a parking lot full of customers waiting patiently in their cars. Meadows stops by Murray's location three times a week on his way to and from the doctor.

The final design will be nearly identical to new Deseret Industries stores in West Jordan and American Fork. The new building also will house LDS Family Services, a Humanitarian Center and an employment-resource center.

What does that final design look like? It probably looks like this photo below of the new DI store located in American Fork, UT. Not a bad design actually. At first glance it could be a Costco, or other large retailer.

Finally, from the Tribune there's this gem from columnist Holly Mullen:

Rumor has it the horsey set that populates this southeast Salt Lake County burg is pushing for a name change. The gentry was polled and it has spoken. Were it up to them, Draper would forever be known as "Ville d' Elite."

The folks on Draper's east side have asked me to explain this. You simply cannot count on the unwashed masses squatting on the west side of Interstate 15 in those ramshackle tract homes to pick up on the fine points of a romance language. You know - those places like West Jordan and Riverton. Herriman, even. Besides, last they heard on the tony side of Draper, those people west of the freeway don't even wear shoes. What could they possibly know about town and country living and leisurely rides along the bridle path?

I was out in the Ville on Wednesday. They let me through the checkpoint, even though I drive a '99 Honda Accord pockmarked with door dings. It was the day after the Draper City Council voted 3-2 to prohibit secondhand stores larger than 5,000 square feet from its prime retail district, which begins on the east frontage road at I-15 and 12300 South and winds to about 500 East.
Thrift stores, future check cashing joints and the like would be sited west of the freeway - far west of such stunning commercial gems as tire outlets, the Golden Arches and let's see, about 14 of those quickie "fresh Mex" restaurants where one overstuffed burrito tastes about like the other one across the street.

It's a good column, read the whole thing. I'm wondering if the good folks on Draper's council may have bitten off just a bit more than they can chew. Umm . . .enjoy swallowing!


Blogger Stephen said...

Richard Cory

Those were some harsh editorials. Interesting (and probably deserved).

Saturday, March 11, 2006 7:26:00 AM  

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