Cathy Allred Daily Herald - 10/3/15
It’s business as usual in Eagle Mountain, booming business.
Take away the threat of politicians moving the Utah State Prison and its facilities to the Cedar Valley city, and Eagle Mountain’s mayor is breathing a sigh of relief.
“Our mayor is happier,” said Ikani Taumoepeau, economic development director. “There are businesses that I can’t talk about that were interested and now that is done, they are still interested.”
Taumoepeau was host and guide to interested investors and entrepreneurs at the Eagle Mountain economic development tour on Thursday evening.
In 2013, CNN Money found Eagle Mountain as the youngest city in the nation with its population size — 26,000. In 1996, there were 250 residents.
Along with the population growth, plans are starting to unfold for a vision adjoining the north and south communities.
“Most of the people when they hear 'Eagle Mountain' they think 'The Ranches,'” Taumoepeau said. “Eventually, the City Center will be the city center. It’s pretty exciting. It’s crazy. It’s hard to imagine right now.”
Eagle Mountain has 450 home-based businesses, so the interest in opening commercial, retail and services is present. It’s the economical building availability that is missing.
The city has the population numbers to draw business and the business growth is expected, Taumoepeau said.
“I’d like to show what is going on. Even though you can’t see it, doesn’t mean there isn’t planning going on.”
For the 2015 fiscal year, there were 410 single-family units that received building permits in Eagle Mountain, 454 in Lehi and 191 in Saratoga Springs.
“Silver Lake is the fastest growing residential development within the city,” Taumoepeau said. The busiest intersection is at State Route 73 and The Ranches Parkway with 20,000 trips a day. The city is working with the Utah Department of Transportation to widen the highway to manage the traffic load.
UDOT officials are navigating the easement purchase process for the project.
With population numbers ticking up, there are companies taking the leap and moving in to Eagle Mountain.
Questar is building its regional center with up to four buildings on seven acres northwest of The Ranches Parkway and north of SR 73. Initially there will be a staff of 40, and eventually up to as many as 100 working at the center.
“It’s exciting to see them going in right here at the heart of the city,” he said.
Additionally, business offices and a tech company have made plans for the area.
There are also three storage facilities in the works at the City Center and in The Ranches. Completion date for those is the end of 2016.
Fiber optics have been standard for newer subdivision projects, and the provider, Direct Communications, is working to bring the older neighborhoods — 300 homes annually — up to the same standard.
Direct Communications spokeswoman Diane Bradshaw said she thinks the work will be done soon.
“We hope to be done by 2017–2018,” Bradshaw said.
There is no end in sight for new homes, however. Still there are 10,000 residents in the City Center. They will be getting a gas station at the City Center for the first time.
Other commercial companies are interested in the City Center but don’t want to be the first one to commit, so they are working on a group move, a center. While retail may be hesitating, medical services are not.
Taumoepeau said they like moving to where the numbers are and there is no competition.
Cathy Allred is north Utah County reporter for the Daily Herald and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Facebook: North County News.
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