A special work session for the Morgan City council was held May 24 in order to facilitate many minute, but important, decisions about what Commercial Street will look like after improvements are completed.
Earlier this year, Morgan City Council voted to retain the services of a Utah State University landscape architecture group to assess the needs of Morgan City and its Commercial Street property and business owners in order to devise a beautification plan.
After many public meetings with business and property owners, the city council decided to scale back a bit on things like too many “bulb-outs” that would take up coveted parking stalls facing business fronts and excess trees.
“Bump-outs” are decorative areas with trees and flowers that come out as far as the parking stalls. They define the parking area and beautify the streetscape. The plan also includes a central plaza, which is a concept that the business owners and council alike seem to have embraced.
The plaza would be located at the junction of Commercial Street and 125 North. This plaza would slow down traffic on the street and would contain tables and benches where guests could relax and visit.
Street lamps will adorn at least one side, if not both sides of the street with arms for either planters or banners announcing upcoming events.
Landscape elements on the north side of Commercial Street will require approval from Union Pacific Railroad officials, but Economic Development Coordinator Shayla Hurlbut said she has been in contact with officials and the plans presented shouldn’t present any issues.
The council is thus far being conservative about spending in this beautification and Mayor Ray Little affirmed that he wanted to make sure things are moving ahead.
It was decided that the next logical step would be to see if the city’s engineering department could help facilitate the discussion regarding the slope needed for proper drainage and such so that the group can proceed and move this to the budgetary phase and get the ball rolling.
Following the council meeting, the Redevelopment Agency (RDA) meeting was host to new business owner Stacy Clark, who was seeking rent subsidy for her upcoming store to be named Morgan Mercantile.
Clark presented her latest venture to the group with a convincing business plan and as she called it “her dog and pony show.” Stacy Netz LaFitte Clark is a native Morgan resident who grew up just behind Commercial Street. She assured the council that if ever there was a person invested in seeing Commercial Street revitalized, it was her.
Clark plans to house consignment and souvenir items in her family-owned and operated shop. Vendors would have the ability to showcase their items through booth rental and Clark would also offer special services in her office area.
Through Clark’s son, who is somewhat of a YouTube sensation, Morgan Mercantile will also be able to offer their booth entrepreneurs an online presence. There will be an area in the office where professional photographs will be taken of the vendor’s items so they can be sold on the Morgan Mercantile website. From there, Clark will also offer shipping services.
Morgan-specific souvenirs will be sold in the store including hats, shirts, key chains, mugs and even Morgan postcards.
Councilman Tony London said excitedly that he didn’t believe he had ever seen a Morgan postcard, at least not in many, many years.
Clark hopes that her ability to offer local crafters and artisans access to the global community through her son’s internet savvy will help open up a new market to this niche of creative residents. She also emphasized that this will not just be another “Quilted Bear” type shop. She hopes to attract vendors who can offer local fishing trips and the like so that the men will have interest in coming inside as well.
Although Councilman Fran Hopkin reiterated his disdain for spending RDA money on rent subsidies in general, he said that Clark had “made this decision difficult. I see how much energy you have put into this presentation and business plan and I hope that this level of attention to detail starts to be the norm that we see in these meetings.”
Rent subsidy for Clark was thereafter approved for the length of one year.