It may not be unusual for the Provo-Orem Chamber of Commerce to ask the mayors of each city to give a "State of the City" address each year.
But it isn't every year that the mayors get to discuss the ins and outs of combining their cities.According to Steven R. Shallenberger, president of Eagle Marketing and former chairman of the Utah County Republican Party, "I am excited because we are addressing an issue (combining cities) that other people are excited about."
He said he feels the uniting of East and West Germany has inspired people in the valley even more toward the idea.
Shallenberger also said he is looking forward to what the mayors will have to say on the subject.
Mayors S. Blaine Willes of Orem and Joe Jenkins of Provo will address Chamber of Commerce members in the "First Friday Forum," the chamber's monthly meeting, at noon in Provo's Holiday Inn.
Chamber president Steve Densley said the mayors will also discuss how they feel about the feasibility of combining the cities in addition to their annual reports on how the respective cities are doing.
And some members of the Chamber of Commerce, including Shallenberger, are actively showing their interest.
Shallenberger is part of a three-member group, which includes Doug Marriott, owner of Marriott Development Co., and Joe Cannon, president of Geneva Steel, which has been independently organized to look into the issue.
The group has "decided to do three independent feasibility studies about combining Orem and Provo," Shallenberger said. They should be done by about April.
There was a public forum and the information was published, he said. "The response has been overwhelmingly positive."
Initially, the groups had planned to do only one feasibility study, but Shallenberger said, "We thought it might be a good idea to get some different points of view."
The studies seem to be solidifying what people think.
"I haven't been able to find any strong negatives," Shallenberger said. But there are numerous positive aspects.
The area would become one of the largest cities in Utah and, therefore, would have more clout and "more attention from state officials and the legislature," he said.
The new city could qualify for more federal funding and be more efficient in such areas as the airport and Utah Lake.
"The cities have been very cooperative in providing information," he said. "And we just want to see if it makes sense."
Shallenberger said the idea has been tossed around for the past 40 to 50 years and people have told him that it is past due. "They want to do it," he said.
The Friday Forum is new for the Chamber of Commerce and it replaces the old All-Member Luncheon.
Densley said that the change to Friday is expected to fit better in members' schedules.