Process Begins to Designate Janet Street Underpass as a Historic Landmark


Photo by Jamie Swank

The Helper City Council met virtually on Thursday evening to discuss many topics, including the consideration of accepting a consulting contract to designate the Janet Street underpass as a Historic Landmark.

Mayor Lenise Peterman began by explaining that she contacted T-Mobile because the lighting being funded by a grant came in $5,000 under the expected budget. With this in mind, she asked to utilize some of the funds to designate the underpass as a landmark, in which T-Mobile was very supportive of.

To make this happen, the mayor continued, they must outsource with a consultant as there are a lot of steps. From there, she welcomed Kirk Huffaker to the meeting, who is a Historic Preservation Consultant in Salt Lake City. He has had a 25-year run in the preservation career and one of the roles he plays as a consultant is to help designate properties. Huffaker works closely with state preservation office and national parks service for the designations.

Huffaker stated that they are honorific in what they do and do not restrict property rights in any way. This is mainly a way to call attention to landmarks and possibly make them available for other funding sources, such as repairs, upkeep and maintenance. He stated that there is a lot of upside with very little negative.

Huffaker has been given photos of the bridge and does believe that it is eligible. When this was presented to the preservation office that is willing to take nominations for bridges, it was discovered that the Janet Street Bridge has been on their list.

The process, according to Huffaker, does take six months to one year in terms of research and working through a number of steps. Completing this would leverage grant funding, as there are certainly some needed repairs.

Mayor Peterman stated that she is excited that this is something that is not coming out of the city’s budget but rather from grant funds. “I think it’s a gorgeous bridge. I’d love to bring it back to its pristine shape,” said the mayor.

Councilwoman Michelle Goldsmith stated that this is long overdue, with Councilwoman Malarie Matsuda thanking Huffaker for his work. The contract to move forward with designating the Janet Street underpass as a historic landmark was then approved by the council.

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