Rapid growth and technology are pulling our state together. Nowhere is this more visible than at the Point of the Mountain where the state’s two largest economies are integrating with a nationally recognized technology hub.
In the 2016 legislative session, the Utah Legislature created the Point of the Mountain Development Commission to head a process to develop a vision for the future of the area surrounding the border between Salt Lake County and Utah County.
The Phase One Report of the Point of the Mountain Visioning Process was released earlier this month, while there is a lot of great information, here are three big takeaways:
A Worthwhile Process: Despite its central location, the Point of the Mountain contains over 20,000 undeveloped acres that are available for urban growth, with much of this land in highly desirable locations. The Commission is currently engaged in a robust process as to not squander this kind of an opportunity for our state’s future.
The data showed how recent development in the Wasatch Front has begun to concentrate along I-15, and has shifted south towards the POM area. This area has captured a significant share of new offices developed in the region between 2010-2017 as shown in the heatmap below.
Economic Development, Air Quality, Transportation, and Land Use: Transportation is a significant challenge for the areas, as it was mentioned as a primary concern four to five times more often than anything else during the outreach. Already transportation planners, agencies and stakeholders are advancing solutions for the region, including UDOT accelerating the “Tech Corridor” thanks to the $1 billion bond passed this past session.
Additionally, air quality was the number one reason employees in the region might move out of Utah. This shows, yet again, that addressing our region’s air quality challenges matters in a significant way to economic development. It also demonstrates why the region can be a national example of smart development that mixes economic development, housing, and transportation planning.
National Research Institution Among Top Big Ideas: In April, Lane Beattie, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber, wrote about the potential of a national lab at the Point of the Mountain. Stakeholders and the consultant experts seem to agree: “a nationally-relevant research facility presence is the top big idea” and “a large-scale research facility is one of the key factors that could catalyze high-quality job growth.” Establishing or attracting a new research university or institution or new campus of an existing institution can develop strong connections to the region’s innovation sectors will be explored in further phases of the effort.
What’s next? Phase 2 of the Point of the Mountain vision will be guided by the Point of the Mountain Development Commission and focus on alternative scenarios for the region, public outreach and selecting a preferred direction. You can learn more at https://pointofthemountainfuture.org/