Provo and Orem may not always see eye to eye, but the two cities stand united in their fight to eliminate interstate trucking through Provo Canyon, Provo Mayor Joe Jenkins said Thursday.
Jenkins, joined by Orem Mayor Blaine Willes, gave state-of-the-city addresses during a Provo-Orem Chamber of Commerce luncheon in the Excelsior Hotel.
Both mayors declared their cities healthy, citing a recent upsurge in the the local business environment. Chamber members were most enthusiastic, however, about Jenkins' comments concerning Provo Canyon.
"One of the things that we'll continue to fight, and Mayor Willes and I see eye to eye on this, is to keep interstate trucking out of Provo Canyon, and therefore keep it out of Provo City and out of Orem City," he said.
Jenkins said federal transportation commission officials have said several conditions must be met before the commission will hear the cities' concerns about canyon traffic.
He said an alternate route must be available, safety and environmental concerns must exist, cooperation and consent must be generated from government entities at both ends of the canyon, and approval must come from the Utah Department of Transportation or the governor.
The only condition not met so far is approval from UDOT or the governor, he said.
Jenkins also discussed local road improvements planned for the next couple of years. "If you've ever wanted to go on vacation, 1989 is the year."
University Avenue, from I-15 south of Provo to the mouth of Provo Canyon, will receive a face lift from UDOT, while Provo plans to spend approximately $1.5 million on road construction this year.
"There will not be too many roads in Provo City next that aren't going to be under construction."
Willes said Orem "took a breather" in 1988 from major economic development efforts, but the city organized a strategic planning committee to make long-term plans for the city.
Both cities have new parks in the works. Orem will build a new city park in the northern section of the city. Provo is planning a four-field softball complex.
Some $84 million worth of construction is planned in Orem. Included are new buildings for WordPerfect, a terminal for the Utah Transit Authority and an expansion by Signetics, Willes said.
Provo, meanwhile, see expansion from Novell, Prolitho and Bushman Press, as well as the completion of a Sears Telecatalog facility and K mart store in East Bay, and a Heritage Mountain water recreation park. In addition, construction will begin on the Heritage Mountain ski resort.
Provo has increased its tax base through "retail revitalization," Jenkins said. He said retail sales income increased $1 million per year over the past four years.
Both mayors predicted continued expansion of existing companies and the possibility of attracting additional businesses to the area. Jenkins said firms are attracted to Utah Valley's values and quality of life.