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Formal dedication of a new Mormon temple in Cedar City is still nine months away, but civic leaders already are calling for the southern Utah town to clean up its act.

In a letter released on social media and read to fellow council members Wednesday night, Cedar City Councilman Fred Rowley urged a communitywide effort to "make Cedar sparkle" in preparation for dedication ceremonies scheduled Dec. 10.

"Regardless of one's religious convictions, I believe that these events will have a profound positive impact on our community due to the publicity and financial infusion we will receive," he said. "Thousands of people from Utah and surrounding states will be coming to Cedar City to take a tour [of the temple]."

Along with their faith, visitors will be bringing money to spend in Cedar City's restaurants, motels and other businesses. Before the dedication, a public open house is set for Oct. 27 through Nov. 18.

Once dedicated, access to the temple will be restricted to faithful Mormons.

Rowley's letter was a comprehensive and inclusive appeal to community pride. First, he sought to enlist city government in repainting signs, light posts and other public fixtures along Main Street; to install temple-direction signs; and "to spruce up all city-owned properties."

The councilman also asked Iron County, the Utah Department of Transportation, schools, Southern Utah University, the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service to pitch in by "cleaning up their properties and assisting others to clean up theirs."

Rowley's appeal included businesses and restaurants, urging them to repair their sidewalks, freshen their signs, and stay on top of groundskeeping tasks.

In addition to suggesting that civic, church and youth groups adopt community-beautification projects in the months ahead, the councilman said homeowners should clean up their yards, remove hulks of old cars and perhaps repaint fading exterior walls of their residences.

The new temple will serve members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Iron, Beaver and Garfield counties in southwestern Utah and the Ely and Panaca areas of eastern Nevada. Currently, the nearest temple for those Mormons is in St. George.

The Cedar City edifice will be the 17th LDS temple in Utah. The site for sacred Mormon rites is located on 21 acres on Leigh Hill, which rises 5,800 feet above sea level on the west side of the city just off Interstate 15.

Bob Mims