Provo neighbors have mixed views on proposed MTC building

Published: Saturday, May 19 2012 6:00 p.m. MDT

Evans is the chairman of the neighborhood, but he said this issue expands beyond his own backyard to the whole city. That's why he has launched a citywide petition, hopes to meet with Provo Mayor John Curtis and officials at BYU and decided to spearhead the efforts.

"I talked to people all over the city and said, 'Is this something we should take a stand on? Is it worthy of our best effort?' and the overwhelming response was, 'Absolutely,'" Evans said.

The balloons are reusable and Evans said they will be used in the coming months. They are also hoping to advance their petition online.

But Tom Schumann, the neighborhood's vice chairman, said he is in full support of the proposed building. He thinks it's the best solution for both the present and the future.

"To me, it makes sense if they can just tear down the buildings and continue operations without having to curtail the MTC too much," he said. "The other thing is, looking at the area on the Google maps, there's not much room for expansion. … It might allow for future growth."

Resident John Potter said he'd rather the MTC expand its campus upward than outward. Even then, he's not that worried about it.

"It doesn't bother me at all that they're building a new building there," Potter said. "The way I look at it, we got lots of tall trees, the MTC tends to be a good quiet neighbor (and) we've never had any problems with them. I don't think it will affect my life."

Schumann thinks it will actually add to the neighborhood. He said that he loves being able to stand on his front porch and see the temple spire, hear the roar of the football crowds and listen to the BYU bell tower chime "Come, Come Ye Saints." The MTC is also part of that landscape.

"If I could see the building as proposed, I would like that," Schumann said. "I can understand people want a residential neighborhood and don't want to look up and see a tall building, but if I'm going to look up and see a tall building, there's nothing I'd rather see than the Missionary Training Center. If I see that, it's a good thing."

As lawn mowers growled in the background, Norma Darais and Anne Snow stood on the sidewalk Saturday, away from the action, talking. Weeds and gardening tools in hand, Darais said: "I think it's a mistake. … What concerns my neighbors, concerns me."

"I think they need it, but they've got other alternatives," Snow added, also noting that it's not about the MTC or its purpose, just the building. "We have strong testimonies. We support the MTC. All of our children and grandchildren served missions."

For Clark Moulton, a neighborhood resident of more than four decades who has served three LDS missions, that missionary effort trumps all.

"I think the orange balloons, like all balloons, are full of hot air," he said. "There's nothing more exciting than the work of the Lord. They could build it in my front yard."

E-mail: emorgan@desnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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