Featured speakers hit almost every topic of concern to business, city and education leaders, from health care to highways to housing, at the Second Annual Community Leadership Conference.
The Provo/Orem Chamber of Commerce sponsored the conference held Thursday at Sundance.Here's what's happening in Provo and Orem:
- There is a three-year backlog in the number of multiple housing units available in Utah Valley, said Bill Fairbanks, president of the Utah Valley Home Builders Association. In order to meet demand, 200 multifamily housing units need to be built annually for the next three to five years. Upper-scale rental units and senior citizen rentals are also needed.
- The fact that Atlanta was awarded the 1996 Olympic Summer Games may effect Utah's Winter Olympic bid, but it doesn't kill the state's chances of being selected to host the 1998 games, said James Young, Olympic committee member. Seven Peaks owner Victor Borcherds is still proposing that a practice oval for figure skating and ice hockey be built near his waterpark at the base of Maple Mountain.
- The most serious criminal problem facing Utah County is substance abuse, said Utah County Sheriff Dave Bateman. Perpetrators of property crimes in the county are often substance abusers. Sexually oriented offenses are also increasing at an alarming rate. Good news: Gang activity in the county is not increasing, primarily because of fast action by the Public Safety Department to squelch gang activity in Orem. Overcrowding at the Utah County Jail is a serious problem.
- Orem will be more selective in its economic development efforts in the coming decade, said DeLance Squire, director of the Commission for Economic Development in Orem. "We're working very diligently to attract businesses that will pay adequate salaries," he said.
- The goal of the Utah Valley Economic Development Association will be to create 32,500 jobs in Utah Valley over the next five years, said Richard Bradford, director. Most of those jobs will come from growth and expansion in existing firms. The fastest-growing sector of the local economy is high technology. Steel-related industries are also growing fast - creating 400 new employment opportunities each year, he said.
- It is only a matter of time before Utah Valley Community College becomes a four-year institution, said Kerry Romesburg, college president. As that change takes place, the college will not abandon its mission of providing trained, highly skilled graduates of vocational programs. UVCC is continuing its push for a football program. A recently completed survey indicates 80 percent of the student body wants football at the school, Romesburg said.
- Provo City's new landfill near Elberta will handle garbage from Provo and all south-county cities except Payson and Santaquin for the next 100 years, said Mayor Joe Jenkins. If additional cities join the waste district, the landfill's capacity will be 50 to 55 years. The landfill will begin operating in January. The state will complete a carbon monoxide control plan for Provo by December 1991, Jenkins said. Ninety-five percent of carbon monoxide comes from vehicles. Provo City is converting all its fleet vehicles to natural gas. The biggest problem facing Provo is traffic. The city is in the processing of developing a major road plan.
- Seven Peaks has finished building 13 of the 18 holes for its golf course, located next to the Seven Peaks Water Park. Lawn will be planted at the course next spring, and the public course will open in April 1992. The water park had 237,000 summer visitors, Borcherds said. Seven Peaks is building a new slide - an enclosed black tube that will feature laser animations, artificial smoke etc. - and a new children's swimming pool.
- East Bay is essentially filled, and Provo City will concentrate on developments on the west side of University Avenue, at the Airport and in downtown Provo, said Gary Golightly, economic development director. Two old movie houses, the Paramount and the Uinta, both on Center Street, will be torn down and turned into parking areas, at least for now. Provo is working with the Mountainlands Association of Governments to see if a train shelter can be built at the Amtrak station.
- Utah Lake is at its lowest level since 1963, said County Engineer Clyde Naylor. The lake is 12 feet shallower than it was seven years ago. The county is no longer pursuing creation of a Utah Lake Authority to govern development of the lake. However, efforts are being made through the Mountainlands Association of Governments to develop a master plan for the lake. The association has a $230,000 grant to cover costs of developing the plan.
- It will take 10 years to complete reconstruction of the Provo Canyon Road, provided funding stays at its current level, said Dan Nelson, director of UDOT District 6 in Orem. There are no groups currently opposing construction of the road, although a committee is trying to have interstate semitrailer trucks banned from the road. Nelson said such trucks could be banned if an alternative travel route is identified for them and "benefits are available to all involved." The state Transportation Commission "left the door open" to the Air Conservation Committee to show that banning trucks would help air quality in Utah County. So far, the committee hasn't done that.
- Utah Valley Regional Medical Center has two major construction projects on the drawing boards, according to Mark Howard, hospital administrator. In 1992, the hospital will build a parking terrace on the southeast corner of the facility. In 1993, the hospital hopes to begin construction of a $25 to $40 million outpatient surgery facility.