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Mayors of Utah Valley: Technology changed the times and can change our communities

By Tom Westmoreland - Special to the Daily Herald | Sep 10, 2022

Courtesy Eagle Mountain

Eagle Mountain Mayor Tom Westmoreland

When thinking about the community in which my kids are growing up, I regularly consider the advantages being offered now compared to when I was their age.

It’s easy to reference modern conveniences such as the internet, GPS or access to culture that simply was not available decades ago. More than anything, I’m talking about the advantages offered in our local communities.

In Eagle Mountain, we are beginning to offer our children access to some of the world’s largest companies, introducing concepts that will be relevant to the future of food production and providing services that allow them to look to the stars.

Creating the environment for these opportunities to grow and flourish nurtures the minds of future generations and cultivates a sense of creativity in Eagle Mountain that compounds positively in our community, our economic environment and our families.

Let’s begin with a project that is slated to begin this fall. Last year, Facebook – now Meta – generously donated $250,000 to both Utah Valley University and Eagle Mountain City.

Courtesy Facebook

Renderings of the new Facebook data center in Eagle Mountain shown Aug. 19, 2021.

These funds are being used for the construction of an astronomical observatory at Walden Park in Eagle Mountain. Funds donated to UVU will be used for the purchase of telescopes.

Eagle Mountain City plans to send final concepts to bid this fall with construction completed by the late spring or early summer of 2023. Once in operation, the Utah Valley Astronomy Club will provide staffing, support and education that families will be able to take advantage of for many years to come.

This is all made possible by the major corporate names that have determined Eagle Mountain is a great place to do business. Meta is just one of several major names that are already located in the community or have plans to build locations in the community.

Other names, such as Tyson and Google, are contributing to the development of Eagle Mountain in ways we never thought possible.

Soon, Google is anticipated to begin construction on a data center in Eagle Mountain that will create many jobs benefitting Utah County families and contributing dollars toward affordable housing throughout the area.

These names not only provide confidence that our children are growing up in a safe, prosperous area, but provide well-paying jobs with high-quality benefits that also benefit families.

Access to technology and top-notch amenities is only part of the equation. Returning to the basics of feeding families is a priority that has undergone radical change in recent decades.

Eagle Mountain, like much of Utah, has poor soil quality. As a result, this area is unable to grow crops effectively.

Just last week, the acidity of the soil in Eagle Mountain led to a water main break that required several hours of work from our Water Department employees to repair. Upgrades to utility equipment will allow this section of water infrastructure to last well into the future.

There’s a lesson here that’s relevant to the advantages being provided to our children in the modern era.

Through new technology, Eagle Mountain City has worked with the business community to provide a shipping container for various types of farming to Cedar Valley High School.

Exploring how our food is produced may help the Cedar Valley overcome its soil challenges in future years and not only contributes to future innovation, but helps the youth understand the concept of good stewardship for the state of Utah.

Our children have advantages through technology we did not have. By maintaining a vision for how technology can benefit our communities, positive outcomes can continue for many years to come.


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