Deseret Morning News Graphic
Brad Wilson

SUNSET — It's almost like you have to look at Davis County as a canvas, with its varying hues of homes, schools, businesses, parks, churches and the Great Salt Lake.

That canvas still has about 30 years before it's filled in.

So leaders in the county, who were elected to be the artists for this canvas, have created the Davis Economic Advisory Council to help Davis County, the county's 15 cities, Hill Air Force Base, the Davis Chamber of Commerce and the Davis Area Convention and Visitors Bureau create a unified vision for how the masterpiece of Davis County will look in 30 years.

A strategic plan is already in place.

What it's going to take to make that plan happen, says Brad Wilson, the advisory council's chairman, is that cities have to be very diligent in planning.

And they have to have conversations, something they already do fairly well, says Wilson, who is the president and CEO of Destination Homes, currently the No. 6 homebuilder in Utah.

Each city in Davis County will have representation on the advisory council, whose members may come from city planning commissions or planning departments.

"If they do their job, they will bring to the surface important discussions," Wilson says.

Seven advisory councils make up the DEAC and each is charged with a different part of the county's economic development strategy.

The seven goals are business retention and expansion, business recruitment, business creation, business park development, economic development activities, countywide cooperation and commitment and better quality of life.

Davis County Commissioner Louenda Downs was the chairwoman of the most recent iteration of the county's economic development plan 12 years ago, but for whatever reason the plan never really grew legs, and cities have largely engaged in economic development on their own.

A recent example of government cooperation is the Davis Technology and Economic Cooperative, formerly the Davis Economic Development Cooperative, formed by West Point, Syracuse and Clearfield cities.

The cities teamed up to master plan 1,100 acres of farmland contiguous with the three cities' borders, says West Point city manager Rick Davis, adding that the cooperation on such a large chunk of land is likely unprecedented.

A planning commission consisting of elected representatives from each city will also be created to oversee the planning of the DTEC area, and the three cities plan to share tax revenue generated in the area.

"We need to master plan it to make sure it comes out in way best for everybody," Davis says. "Our state is only moving forward to the degree we can provide living wages for people."

That's DTEC's goal: bring living wages to northern Davis County. Not only will it transform that farmland, but eventually, Davis says, state Route 193 will likely be extended west to 2000 West and later to Legacy North, a future highway envisioned for the western side of Davis and Weber counties.

That's what Wilson and Downs would love to see on a countywide level.

Downs said it may take some work to get the DEAC councils energized.

But the council's efforts will be worth it, she says.

"We realize that economic development is critical to our county, especially as we near the point in time that we have no more land left," Downs has said. "We want to be a player in the economic development side of the state."

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