Nation’s professionals offer advice for downtown Spanish Fork

Utah Land

SPANISH FORK — Efforts to revitalize Spanish Fork’s downtown were in full swing last week.

Six professional planners flew in from around the nation to offer their time and insights for the community, free of charge.

Dave Anderson, the city’s director of community development, couldn’t have been happier.

“It feels like it’s been a day instead of a week,” he said. “It’s just been nonstop.”

Spanish Fork was selected as one of four cities throughout the nation to receive help from an American Planning Association (APA) program called the Community Planning Assistance Team (CPAT). The program, revitalized in 2011, provides pro bono technical assistance to qualifying communities nationwide.

The week’s work, which kicked off May 11 with a city barbecue and concluded May 14 with a community presentation of the team’s findings, is only the beginning for Spanish Fork’s downtown renovations.

“We just need to keep that momentum going,” Anderson said. “We won’t want to stop talking about parking, signage and other issues.”

Jennifer Graeff, an APA planner and staff lead for CPAT, said she hopes the week resulted in a lot of good ideas for the city and helped provide very specific steps to bring people back to Main Street.

Spanish Fork was selected for CPAT in the early summer of 2014. According to Graeff, the city sent in a thorough application that described its specific challenges and the help that is needed.

The team leader for the Spanish Fork project, Deborah Meihoff, was selected among the APA’s membership pool of approximately 40,000.

Meihoff and Graeff made an initial two-day visit to Spanish Fork in early December that, according to Graeff, allowed them to further identify four individuals whose expertise matched the needs of the city.

Spanish Fork is the first city in Utah to receive the CPAT. The other three 2015 projects are in Montana, Florida and Pennsylvania.

Source: The Daily Herald.