The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was recognized and honored Thursday for its efforts in making Utah more disaster resilient.

Gov. Gary Herbert presented the “Your Utah, Your Future” awards to eight local organizations, including the church, for improving life in Utah and helping address various challenges.

The awards are sponsored by Envision Utah, a nonprofit organization focused on helping maintain a high quality of life in Utah as the state grows.

“The people and the projects we’re honoring are part of what drives Utah’s success,” Herbert stated in a news release. “They embody a uniquely Utah approach to addressing challenges, and they present solutions in innovative, collaborative ways. The more projects we have like these the better off Utah will be — now and in the future.”

Robert Grow, CEO of Envision Utah, said Utah faces a huge risk of a major earthquake and much of the state is underprepared.

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, however, has taken the initiative to dedicate countless hours and tremendous resources to ensure its historic buildings and institutions are ready for a major earthquake. It is leading the way to [Utah] becoming truly resilient,” Grow said.

Grow added that the church’s long-term vision and strategic planning are critical to protecting not just church properties but also other elements of Utah history.

Bill Williams, director of temple design for the church’s Special Projects Department, attended the ceremony and accepted the disaster resilience award on behalf of the church.

“Whenever the church undertakes a major renovation, we work to seismically upgrade the building and make it as safe, efficient and sustainable as possible,” Williams said. “We also seek to achieve the highest level of safety, efficiency and sustainability in all new construction.”

As an example of its desire for resiliency ,the church recently announced it would be closing its Salt Lake Temple for four years for a renovation and major seismic upgrade.

It has also announced it will do major upgrades and renovations to its St. George Temple.

Grow also paid tribute to the church’s “tremendous efforts to have energy-efficient and LEED certified buildings that produce less air pollution” as critical to helping people in Utah have a brighter future, according to the press release.

Other honorees at the ceremony included the Holladay Village Center, Grand County High Density Housing Overlay Ordinance and the Salt Lake City School District Peer Assistance Review Program.

Daily Herald reporter Genelle Pugmire can be contacted at gpugmire@heraldextra.com, (801) 344-2910, Twitter @gpugmire

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