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Mayor of St. George gives first state of town – St George News

ST. GEORGE- It has been two years and three days since the last State of the City address was given, St. George Mayor Michele Randall said Tuesday afternoon as she began the 2022 address at the Dixie Convention. Center.

St. George Mayor Michele Randall delivers his first State of the City address at the Dixie Convention Center, St. George, Utah, February 8, 2022 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

“A lot has changed since then,” Randall said. “No one could have ever predicted a global pandemic on the scale we had. …And neither could we predict that a pandemic would make everyone want to move to Utah, including our little one. corner of paradise.

Growth and the pandemic have brought challenges to the city, but with those challenges came the opportunity to “come out stronger and better and with optimism to meet all of those challenges,” the mayor said.

“Start treating it like liquid gold”

The issue that took center stage at the start of the speech was water and the need to conserve it.

Large blue barrels representing nearly 1,000 gallons of water were stacked on either side of Randall on the stage. A large price tag listed the average cost to St. George water users for every 1,000 gallons they use in a month: $1.10.

“When you think about it, it’s really cheap,” Randall said, adding that heavy water users who use more than 45,000 gallons end up paying $3.65 per 1,000 gallons.

Barrels of water at the City of St. George’s state address in 2022 amounted to nearly 1,000 gallons of water, which the city charges average water users $1.10 per month. Mayor Michele Randall said if residents don’t get smarter with their water use, the city may be forced to raise water rates to force water conservation, St. George , Utah, February 8, 2022 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

“It’s still very cheap, and we need to start treating it like liquid gold. If we don’t start getting smarter about conservation, we’re going to have to raise our rates, and we really don’t want to do that.

The region is currently in a state of moderate drought. It’s better than this time last year, Randall said, but conservation still needs to be observed. To help lead this process, the city has done its own conservation work, she said.

During the summer of 2021, the city was able to reduce its water use by 8.2% despite adding 1,900 new connections, Randall said, attributing the water savings to residents.

“It’s thanks to you,” she said. “So congratulations.”

Parks and golf course staff also managed to save more than 150 million gallons of water last year, she said, adding that about 10 acres of non-functional turf — that is, i.e. grass that appears to serve no purpose other than being mowed – is also in the process of being removed from city property so far.

“Watch Your Six”

Randall said public safety has always been a priority for her, and in this area she said that over the past four years the city has increased its fire and police forces by 70% and 30%, respectively. A campaign is currently underway to recruit additional police officers as continued growth makes additional officers needed, Randall said.

In this file photo, the St. George Fire Department responds to a structure fire on South 3000 East, St. George, Utah, August 31, 2021 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

In addition to the recruitment campaign, a safety campaign called “Watch Your Six” will also soon be launched by the St. George Police Department, she said. The campaign will focus on safe driving and how to avoid getting into a wreck.

The mayor also announced the construction or planning of new fire stations, including the following:

  • A fire station being built on Commerce Drive in the Little Valley area is set to go up for competition in May.
  • Station 1, which currently sits at 1000 East northeast of Dixie State University, will be replaced with a new station to be built at the corner of 400 East and 100 South where a Church chapel is located. of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. . The church sold the building to the city. The old chapel, which has structural problems, will be demolished in the fall.
  • A property has been purchased in the Desert Canyons area for a future Station 10.

Growth, housing and transport

The themes of growth, economy and housing were entrusted to Shirlayne Quayle, director of economic vitality and housing for the city.

Quayle noted how St. George grew by more than 20,000 people between 2010 and 2020. The current population is estimated at around 95,000.

RiverWalk Village apartments in St. George, Utah are part of a feasible housing project overseen by the Switchpoint Community Center, October 30, 2020 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

After commenting on the growth, Quayle moved on to the city’s continued need for affordable housing.

“Housing is really a challenge in our community,” she said.

One way the city hopes to address the local housing crisis is through the Housing Action Coalition, Quayle said. It is a collaborative effort between the city, other municipalities, Washington County, homebuilders, developers, real estate agents and other stakeholders coming together with the goal of creating more accessible for St. George and county residents.

Quayle also pointed to the communities of Divario, Desert Canyon and Desert Color as developments that helped bring much-needed inventory to the housing market. The Switchpoint Community Resource Center and the Dove Center were also mentioned for their work in providing affordable housing for low-income individuals and families.

Economically, Quayle praised the city’s partnership with Tech Ridge. Located on the southern half of Black Hill, where the original airport was located, the 180-acre Tech Ridge development will be a mixed-use technology park designed to provide the city with well-paying tech jobs. The area is already home to Dixie Technical College and tech companies such as Vasion and busybusy, with more expected to expand in the near future.

St. George’s economy is already diverse, but Tech Ridge will help fill in the missing piece of technology development, Quayle said.

Road construction on 3000 East in St. George, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Dixie Regional Transportation Expo, St. George News

Turning to transportation infrastructure, Cameron Cutler, director of public works for the city, reviewed the completion of work on River Road last year, as well as ongoing work on the 3000 East Corridor, which is the most major city road project for the year.

Cutler also said the property was purchased on the west side of the 1450 East and River Road intersection. Securing the property is one of the first steps in the eventual creation of a new road linking River Road and Crosby Way near the Dixie Convention Center.

St. George Regional Airport is also updating its master plan to keep up with growth. This includes terminal upgrades to accommodate increased usage, which hit a record high last year with 130,000 flights departing St. George.

Events to come

A number of upcoming events were highlighted by the mayor when she returned to the stage.

Scheduled for February 27, St. George, along with other cities, will participate in a cleanup effort along Interstate 15. The event is sponsored by the nonprofit Love Where You Live which promotes the keeping Utah waste-free, Randall said.

The Gold Star Families Memorial, which has been in the works for over a year but has been delayed due to the pandemic and supply chain issues, has finally arrived in St. George and will be welcomed into St. George Square Town on March 20. at 11 o’clock

The city will also host a new series of Neighborhood Open Houses in 2022, featuring elected officials and city department heads responding to questions or comments from the public.

“This is where we bring the city to your neighborhood,” Randall said.

Neighborhood Open Houses will be held at SunRiver St. George (March 31), Thunder Junction All Abilities Park (April 28), Desert Color Clubhouse (September 8) and Vernon Worthen Park (October 13).

St. George Mayor Michele Randall talks to her constituents after her first State of the City address at the Dixie Convention Center, St. George, Utah, February 8, 2022 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

St. George, and Washington County as a whole, will also host the Ironman 70.3 World Championship and Ironman World Championship that year. Estimated to potentially generate up to $100 million in total, Randall said Ironman officials chose St. George over other locations because of the people here and the spirit of volunteerism.

Before ending the address for the year, Randall commented on the town’s slogan “The Brighter Side”.

“I think we feel in St. George that it’s a special place to live, and we want everyone to feel like they’re living on the good side of our community,” the mayor said, pointing to the audience. “We are on the right side thanks to each of you. We couldn’t do what we do without the wonderful residents of our community.

The City State 2022 address can be seen in full below.

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Mary Cashion

The author Mary Cashion