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Battle brewing to save cherished Kaysville City Hall building

Posted at 5:38 PM, Sep 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-01 19:38:54-04

KAYSVILLE, Utah — The mayor of Kaysville wants to demolish a registered historical building to make way for more street parking.

Historic preservation advocates have other plans for the building at 44 North Main Street.

Love for the old Kaysville Library runs about deep as the quarry that provided the colorful cobble stone walls.

"It is so special to so many people,” said Gladys Moore, board member of the Kaysville Fruit Heights Museum non-profit group.

For nearly 75 years, the building’s served as a city hall, health clinic, and library.

Kaysville council Member John Swain Adams’s grandfather was mayor when it was being built in 1941.

“For me, this is more of a passion project. It’s like, there may be issues, but they are not unsalvageable,” Adams said.

In 2017, the city hoped to use the building for staff offices. Engineers found mold and serious structural problems, according to Mayor Katie Witt.

“This would be the proverbial money pit. It would not be, in my opinion, not be a good idea to spend money in this location,” said Witt.

In 2019, the building was determined significant enough for a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. The distinction opens the building up to tax credits intended to encourage preservation of our historic buildings.

“It took a lot of work to get it on,” said Ramona Porter, another board member of the Kaysville Fruit Heights Museum non-profit group.

Mayor Witt says restoration would take at least couple million dollars and not be worth the effort and cost.

Instead, Mayor Witt wants to move forward with a parking lot and open gathering space.

“We are trying to help our businesses here in downtown Kaysville and the real need is downtown parking,” Witt said.

The Kaysville City council censured Mayor Witt in 2020 for attempting to defying state COVID-19 restrictions by allowing a protest concert. That concert was later held in Iron County.

The future of the building is now in the hands of the city council.

The Kaysville Fruit Heights Museum non-profit is quickly trying to raise money with hopes of turning it into historic museum. An online petition has gathered nearly 700 signatures.

“The fact that no one is thinking ahead, and thinking let’s just tear it down is ignorant,” said Adams.

The city council is scheduled to discuss the future of the old library Thursday at a meeting that starts at 7 p.m., but the public is invited to speak with council members at 6:30 p.m.