Competing to lure industry from such areas as Southern California is costly, a "dog-eat-dog" endeavor and not the most effective way to promote industrial development, members of the Carbon County Chamber of Commerce have been told.
Provo Mayor Joe Jenkins said it is better to create a "fertile seed bed" that will allow existing businesses to grow and will encourage the development of new business."Start small with three to five employees and grow with the community," he said. "Slow development creates less strain on the community to provide new infrastructure."
Provo, which has seen its sales tax revenue and new construction jump dramatically during the past five years, hired a Denver firm to do a survey that revealed the community's strengths and weaknesses, he said.
One thing the study revealed was it was not feasible to build a downtown mall to compete with the Orem mall as some people were advocating. For one thing, downtown property was too expensive for a mall, he said.
A booklet listing demographic information was published by Provo and made available to anyone interested. He said communities should be honest about strengths and weaknesses and should sell their strengths. Remember, St. George does not sell its summers, only its winters, he said.
Jenkins said Price has many of the same strengths as Provo, including a lovely hotel, a college and a hospital. He said Provo's hotel had a rocky beginning but is now on firm financial footing and is doing very well.
Other strengths of Price are nearby canyons with fishing and wildlife, he said. "You are on the main route to Lake Powell" and the hub of many smaller surrounding communities. He congratulated Rep. Mike Dmitrich, who attended the meeting. "Your legislators have good access to the governor and other legislative leaders," he said.
Attitudes of city employees and residents is important, he said. Provo has a plan to reward employees for doing an outstanding job and it has paid off. He said the mayor should be the primary salesman of the town.
He warned that Community Development Block Grant money should not be used to build fire stations and senior citizen centers, but should be used for economic development. He said Provo has a $1.5 million fund which is lent in small amounts to small businesses. The interest rate is negotiable.
Find out what people need and want and provide it, he said.