Murray City's "Main Street," lined for blocks with historic structures ranging from restored to empty and forgotten, happens to be a four-lane thoroughfare often jammed with cars and trucks.
"State Street isn't a street you want to walk down and browse," said business owner Susan Wright, who operates a costume shop and art center there. "It's loud, it's dirty. But a block west, it's quiet."
That's where she wants to see a focus of thoughtful development as Murray officials craft a new master plan designed to revitalize its mid-valley downtown.
The city is trying to reconcile the two needs -- continue with its approach to restoring historic buildings, but not go too far with onerous zoning and restoration requirements that might keep developers at bay.
Many years ago, officials created a downtown historic overlay district, primarily running between 4800 South and 5300 South, with State Street at the center. It worked for getting a goodly number of structures restored, some dating back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Desert Star Theatre and several adjacent buildings are good examples.
But the plan didn't do much to revitalize the district, according to Tim Tingey, the city's director of economic development.
Potential developers, he said, worried that the restrictions dealing with historic structures were too cost prohibitive.
"Now, we want a mix of preservation and redevelopment," Tingey said, adding the city also would like to see taller structures, perhaps as high as seven stories, built along the corridor, which is home to 21 "significant" historic structures and 58 "contributing" buildings.
A new master plan, he said, would focus on the "significant" buildings and "look at which ones merit preservation and which ones are beyond that."
Such a plan is important to the city's financial well-being, he said, because Murray "is competing with areas where you can find vacant property to develop a lot more cheaply.
Blending the two needs -- restoration with revitalization -- could work, Tingey said.
"Say you have a historic building that we all want to save. Maybe we could allow a developer to make adjacent additions to that structure that would have a newer look but be integrated into the historic building. Or, maybe, we could relocate a historic structure to another area."
Businesswoman Wright, who owns three historic structures a block west of State Street -- the Cahoon Mansion (1899), a former Baptist church (1924) and a former home-turned-flower shop (1900) -- agrees with the need to strike a balance.
But "just because something is old doesn't mean it's historic." With the city's rigid rules under the current historic district plan, "they tied the hands of any developer coming in here. The guidelines were tough."
Wright also serves on the city's historic board, comprised of a group of residents who are in the process of evaluating what is "significant" and what is contributing.
"I want to see something done" to encourage "responsible" development. "Murray is in a great location; it's a good place for business."
She finds herself "caught in the middle" of the discussion.
"I'm a business person who wants to see progress, but I'm also fond of historic buildings because I have some. But there's a fine line here."
Murray City officials say they will hold an open house "sometime in early summer" to talk with residents about the city's proposed master plan. A new plan would have an impact on the downtown's many historic structures.