|President Harry S. Truman smiles when he stops to talk to Helper residents during his campaign in 1948.|
America's 33rd president will be honored in Helper after the city council's decision last Thursday to name a street and walkway after the former United States leader.
At the Dec. 6 meeting, Walter Borla made a presentation to the Helper council proposing that Harry S. Truman be recognized formally because he is the only U.S. president to stop in the city and speak to residents not once, but twice.
"In the fall of 1948, President Truman visited Helper during his whistle stop campaign," Borla told the council. "He came out on the platform and talked to the crowd."
Borla was there when Truman came to town and recalled the level of excitement that surrounded the president's visit.
"All the schools came out and the town officials took their turns one by one stepping up to the platform," said Borla. "A group of miners came to hear him and placed a helmet on his head."
Borla said Truman kept the miner's helmet on all the way out of Helper as he stood on the back of the train waving to the people.
Borla told the council at the Dec. 6 meeting that he was making the street name proposal because he doesn't want the chapter in Helper history to fade away and be forgotten.
The roadway in question is one block that connects Hill and Canyon streets which leads to a walkway up to the junior high school.
"We could put a street sign and a bronze plaque naming this Harry S. Truman street and walkway," he said.
The Helper city resident got no resistance from the council members, who quickly and unanimously passed a motion to implement Borla's proposal.
"This is just a wonderful idea," said Mayor Mike Dalpiaz.
However, the next item on the council's agenda wasn't met with quite the rousing agreement as Borla's.
Helper resident Melanie Steele has been lobbying the city council over a small piece of city owned property.
Steele and her husband purchased a piece of property that sits surrounded by Western Railroad and Mining Museum land.
Steele has been trying to feel the council out about whether the city would be willing to sell her and her husband a triangular piece of land that borders on couple's property. The parcel also juts into the adjoining Helper City property.
Steele's proposal sparked debate at the council meeting about the future need of the piece for the expansion of the museum as well as whether the discussion was even appropriate given that the couple had not even had the property surveyed as yet.
"What you want to do is get it surveyed. The city may own your front room," he said jokingly.
Steele told the council that she and her husband intended to get it surveyed but that it would cost around $1,000 and that they didn't want to invest the money if there was no possibility of the council agreeing to part with the piece of property.
"I believe what Melanie is saying is that, if we (the council) aren't interested in selling that, they (the Steeles) don't want to spend the money for the survey," said Dalpiaz.
Steele and the council seemed to be at a standoff briefly.
However, one by one, the councilmembers drove home the importance of the survey. The councilmembers said they would take official position on the property until the survey had been done.
"There's just not much we can do without a survey," pointed out Councilmember Dean Armstrong.
In addition, Steele learned that the museum board was opposed to losing the land.
Sue Martell, director of the mining museum, presented a drawing depicting the vision of expanded museum displays, which seemed to incorporate just about every piece of property available.
Steele seemed surprised by that revelation and said that she and her husband are really excited that the museum is their neighbor.
After the lengthy discussion, Steele left the meeting without a definitive answer about her chances of buying the property and the dictate to get a survey and return before the council.