By Mayor Trent Staggs
Over the last twenty years the southwest region of Salt Lake County has seen unprecedented levels of growth. In fact, since 2000 the southwest region has accounted for over 70% of all the growth in Salt Lake County, and projections are that the current number of households will double in the next 30 years. Historically, growth and planning decisions have been either siloed in each community, or super regional, across the entirety of the county or large portions of the state. However, in 2018 I reached out to our neighboring mayors from Bluffdale, Copperton, Herriman, South Jordan, and West Jordan to form what is now known as the Southwest Mayors Coalition.
For the first time, communities at a sub-regional level have decided to collaboratively work together on a framework to address current and future challenges related to growth. With the help of our community partners we were able to acquire $225,000 in grants to apply towards a visioning study with the purpose of creating a cohesive, well-supported vision and growth strategy. This Southwest Vision study commenced in August 2019 and has officially completed the first of three phases.
Phase one (Setting the Stage) was made up of four different tasks.
- Initiation + Ongoing Project Management
- Community Engagement Plan
- Existing Conditions + Trends Analysis
- Benchmarking Assessment + Policy Gap Evaluation
Identifying existing conditions in this first phase is a key part of the study. It essentially lets us know the impacts on our collective infrastructure in the region, if all the cities build out to what has already been approved. This phase also included an online survey which totaled over 950 responses. I am proud to announce that 42% of all responses came from individuals residing in our city, which is an incredible level of participation. Thank you.
From an analysis of existing conditions and taking into account your feedback on what is important in this region, the study can now move into some recommendations on how our cities can work together in a way that maintains our quality of life.
A few of the top survey responses had to do with ensuring adequate open spaces, reducing traffic congestion, improving access to bus/transit services and having job centers and regional shopping closer to where we live. As we continue to track the progress of the Southwest Vision study and begin to identify major opportunities for regional policies and specific strategies, I will continue to advocate for the needs of our residents. The growth we are seeing is not slowing down and it is imperative that we create a clear vision and goals that support smart, responsible growth.
For more information on the Southwest Vision study please visit swcountyvision.com.