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If you build it …

By Genelle Pugmire - | May 7, 2022

Courtesy Provo City

$89 million in transportation improvements have been made supporting the new Provo Airport.

Provo City has a proud past and a bright future. There are approximately 20,000 incorporated cities in the United States and while some are thriving, others are struggling. As the recipient of ongoing national accolades, including two consecutive years as the Best-Performing City, Provo appears to be on the right track.

“Forward-looking is one of our Provo Pillars for a reason: It reminds us of the importance of long-term vision,” said Mayor Michelle Kaufusi. “Our investment in public infrastructure will improve our quality of life, the environment and our economic opportunity.”

The essential building blocks of a successful economy are concrete, steel, cable and open space — the makings of infrastructure. Infrastructure connects communities. With Provo 85% built out, public spending has focused on a few key areas.

The Provo Airport

Provo now has the second busiest airport in Utah. “By investing in vital infrastructure, we created economic opportunity for Provo rather than waiting for it,” Kaufusi said. “While many will appreciate the personal conveniences of flying out of a regional airport, including shorter lines and personalized service, the community economic benefits are substantial, with each new roundtrip destination bringing an estimated $15 million into our local, regional and state economy.”

Throughout the new terminal, Provo is truly on display. From its replication of downtown Center Street with its red brick and local eateries, to the airy, glass walls that showcase Mother Nature’s spectacular mountain views to the east and Provo’s growing aviation to the west.

Courtesy Provo City

This image shows the layout of the new 100-acre regional sports park being built south east of the new Provo Airport.

“The forward-looking design of the new terminal will not only provide more gates and destinations for traveling, it also incorporates many anticipated needs and wants for residents and those traveling to Provo,” said Brian Torgersen, interim Provo Airport manager. “Designed for all travelers, it has business areas for quiet deadlines and a family lounge for not-so-quiet play.”

Regional Sports Park

Currently, more than 330 local sports teams are limited to 11 available sports fields in Provo. Neighborhood parks cannot accommodate the increasing demand for sports programming. With 100 acres of land acquired in west Provo, the Provo Regional Sports Park will join the Provo Recreation Center, Peaks Ice Arena, Timpanogos Golf Club and the Covey Center for the Arts in delivering recreation services to the community.

“Designed with both resident and visitor in mind, the 21-field Provo Regional Sports Park will provide the flexibility necessary to host tournaments from the desert southwest and other regions of the county, with traffic flow and access ensuring it will be an asset, not a hindrance, to west side residents,” said Scott Henderson, Provo’s parks and recreation director. “The purchase of the acreage for a future Regional Sports Park is one more investment in the west side that will boost quality of life there while also providing regional benefit.”

Similar to the airport’s tax generation, the sports park will create a diverse economic impact to local hospitality, transportation, restaurants and entertainment. According to Keith Morey, Provo’s economic development director, the sports travel tourism industry has grown 6% over the past five years.

Courtesy Provo City

This image shows Provo's west side infrastructure map, with $160 million in waste water improvements.

“As Utah’s largest regional facility, the Provo Regional Sports Park will be a significant economic driver with hosted tournaments generating an estimated $30-plus million of local spending from out-of-area visitors,” Morey said.

West Side Grocery Store

While east Provo residents enjoy the convenience of several grocery stores just minutes from their homes, those living in west Provo must travel across Interstate 15 to do their weekly shopping. “Requests for a grocery store built on the west side have been heard for nearly two decades.” Morey said. “With infrastructure now in place, it’s time to remove remaining barriers and bring this long-awaited convenience to help build this community.”

Morey also stresses the importance of shopping local, to limit sales tax leakage to surrounding cities. “A ‘Shop Local’ mentality benefits our community. Not only do we stimulate our local economy, we create jobs, retain our unique business character and reduce our environmental impact,” he added.

With greater corporate interest being expressed, the grocery store, long on the west side’s “shopping list,” may soon become a reality.

Housing Affordability

A new national housing report placed Utah’s capital city among the top in the nation for housing markets with the biggest home price increases. In Utah County, the median price for a single-family home hit $580,000 in March 2022. “With high demand and low inventory, the west side now becomes an attainable housing option,” Morey said.

Harrison Epstein, Daily Herald

Homes can be seen along 600 North in Provo on Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021.

Kaufisi added that finding a solution to the affordable housing crisis is pivotal to achieve long-term economic success. “Solving statewide housing affordability issues is a complex issue, but cities can and should encourage smart growth with wise land use and local policies that help ease this housing gap,” she said.

Provo City has a vision. As it manages its unique challenges, it has set forward a brand new promise to all who live, work or play: Provo is welcoming, safe and sound, economically vibrant and forward-looking. Identified as their Provo Pillars, each is designed to continue building a community that is honored nationally and loved locally.


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