Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Find yourself in Eagle Mountain, ad campaign urges

Economic development » Marketing effort to showcase growing community.
Some know this community for its political turmoil. Many don't know it at all.

So the city has set out to boost its image and visibility with a marketing campaign that includes television commercials, billboards and a business incentive package. The goal is to entice companies and residents to make Eagle Mountain their home.

Officials don't think it will be a hard sell. Among the pluses they cite are plenty of wide open space and land at a good price, an educated populace, proximity to an international airport, three universities within a 30-minute drive, a good power infrastructure, safe neighborhoods and lots of recreational opportunities.

For businesses, there will be a package of tax incentives and fast-track permit processing to supplement the affordable land and lifestyle benefits.

The campaign -- with the catch phrase "Find Yourself in Eagle Mountain" -- will be straightforward, according to economic development director Ifo Pili.

"We're not trying to use a smoke-and-mirrors approach," Pili said. "All we have to do is tout what we have."

The community, built according to a master plan, sits on the Pony Express Trail, 30 miles northwest of Provo. Eagle Mountain had 250 residents when it was incorporated in December 1996 and has grown to about 23,000.

There have been some rough patches in the northern Utah County city, which has had 10 mayors


in the past 11 years. One former mayor pleaded no contest to faking his own kidnapping; another was accused of submitting false travel vouchers, then acquitted at trial; and a former mayoral candidate was sentenced to up to 15 years in prison for his role in a mortgage-fraud scheme.

"We have had an image problem in the past and a lot of people simply don't know we're here," said Mayor Heather Jackson, who was elected in November to a second term.

But Eagle Mountain is moving on, she said. Officials have set aside $250,000 for the marketing campaign, which came from the 2006 sale of the city's telecommunications company.

The effort is being boosted by residents, who are promoting Eagle Mountain in the commercials and billboards, and Brigham Young University students, who conducted an economic development study of the city and recommended targeting the high-tech and renewable-energy industries.

"We were trying to help focus them so they would get the most bang for their buck," student Dale Frost said.

The study provided a framework for the marketing campaign and valuable experience to the students, who are all working toward master's degrees at the Romney Institute of Public Management, which is part of BYU's Marriott School of Management.

"It wasn't just a thesis," Andrew Gleaves said. "It was actually work they would have a company do."

The other students who helped produce the report are Del Brady, Nick Camberlango, Scot Gotfredson and Zack King. The faculty advisor was Doug Witt and Roger McCarty was the faculty coach.

The students are enthusiastic about the prospects for Eagle Mountain and its residents. "The growing pains are behind them," Gotfredson said. "They'll be able to become the city they want to be."

Scot Hazard agrees. The real estate developer, who grew up in southern California, lives and works in Eagle Mountain and stars in one of the commercials.

"It feels like you have elbow room here," Hazard said as Fiftyfilms, of American Fork, set up for a shoot.

Those kind of testimonials are important to lure business and residents to a city, said Jason Kassing of Kassing Andrews Advertising, the Murray agency that created the marketing effort.

"What we try to do in this campaign is get a good feel of the lifestyle," Kassing said. "A lot of cities believe if you build it, they will come, but you are competing with other cities."

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

First City Council meeting

Last night was my first meeting as city councilman. A Capital Facilities Plan (CFP), an equipment lease agreement, and oh yes, once again a proposal for a pony express statue. I had spoken with the city engineer, Chris Trusty, previous to the meeting regarding the CFP, and knew is was going to be tabled. The equipment lease agreement is an opportunity for the city to be better positioned to have the equipment needed to meet our needs and to do so at a fair/low cost. The statue proposal has made its way to two meetings already and was back again. Mayor Jackson presented a proposal to have a Pony Express statue created by an Alpine resident to be placed along the pony express trail to be celebrated during the 150th Anniversary of the Pony Express this summer. In the proposal were beautiful parks, maps and designs. However, the likelihood of completing the work necessary is very unlikely. Therefore, the statue would be placed at city hall. In a way, defeating the point of wanting the statue in the first place to be placed along the pony express trail for the celebration. Aside from that, it seems there are better opportunities for the city to spend its limited resources on projects that have greater value to the residents. There was a second proposal to lease the original statue from the Hall cousins at $5k/yr for 5 years with a purchase,or possible donation at the end of the 5 years. If a donation was strongly likely, I'd like to have seen that suggested by the statue owner. As was shared in the meeting last night by Ryan Ireland, once you've paid $25k into the cost of the statue, at what cost would we walk away from our sunk costs?? And finally, I received multiple emails and phone calls from residents who did not support this statue proposal.
In the end, the statue proposal was voted down, 4-1. Erik Cieslak was the lone yes vote. Sure, I appreciate culture and arts, however, I didn't feel that this proposal, at this time, financed this way was the best option for Eagle Mountain.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Pioneer Crossing to be completed ahead of schedule

Great news for Eagle Mountain residents!!

December 16th, 2009 @ 3:45pm
By Sam Penrod
AMERICAN FORK -- A new highway that will add a direct route from Interstate 15 to Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain has reached the halfway point. But a popular new restaurant in the middle of the construction zone has the Utah Department of Transportation concerned about gridlock.

In 2008, 20,185 daily commuters traveled on Lehi's Main Street. In comparison 15,915 daily commuters used Redwood Road between Lehi Main Street and the Bangerter Highway. -UDOTFor nearly a year now, crews have been working on Pioneer Crossing -- a brand new highway to bring direct freeway access to the growing communities on the west side of Utah Lake.

"We hope to have this all open by September [2010], which will be a couple of months ahead of schedule," UDOT spokesman Scott Thompson said Wednesday. "We will continue to work through the winter; and once the weather warms up, you will see a lot of work on this road to get it finished."

Crews are making progress on a bridge spanning the Jordan River. It's not far from where Pioneer Crossing will connect to Redwood Road.

There will be two lanes in both directions; and because it is close to some residential areas, the speed limit will be just 40 miles per hour, but nonstop.

What is… Pioneer Crossing?
Pioneer Crossing will be a new five-lane east-west connector from Redwood Road in Saratoga Springs to 300 East in Lehi. The project also includes improvements to the I-15 interchange at American Fork Main Street and a new 60-inch water main. -UDOT"We're excited to give people more mobility and a quicker commute back and forth from the interstate to Redwood Road, and the folks in Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain another route to where they want to go," Thompson said.
A rendering provided by UDOT shows how the new diverging diamond interchange will work. It will connect Pioneer Crossing to I-15.

First, UDOT is bracing for the popular In and Out Burger opening in the midst of all of the construction on American Fork's Main Street.

"Right now, we have that down to one lane in each direction. And if traffic is backed up on American Fork's Main Street, we would encourage customers to come back, because we don't want to back up Main Street or the on and off-ramps to I-15 as well," Thompson said.

The new diverging diamond interchange is about halfway done. It is scheduled to be finished next fall with the rest of Pioneer Crossing.

E-mail: spenrod@ksl.com

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Money well spent?

Last night at the Eagle Mountain city council meeting a request to purchase a $215,000 bronze statue of a horse and rider, i.e. Pony Express, named “Special Delivery” was presented to the City Council by Mayor Jackson. The intent is to place the statue in Mid Valley Park along the Pony Express Trail. This was not a budgeted item; therefore money used for this purchase comes from somewhere else in the city. What exactly will be sacrificed is not yet clear, but one can imagine how many neighborhood parks could be built or improved with $215,000 or perhaps the four years of an aquatic center subsidy that the city is unwilling to commit to that $215,000 would cover. It turns out that because of the absence of Ochsenhirt at the time of voting, Mayor Jackson was able to vote on her own request. Lifferth and Cieslak voted in favor and Burnham and Ireland voted against, thus Mayor Jackson needed to vote as a tie breaker. It is the hope that much if not all of the necessary funds will come from grants, but at the time we make the commitment to purchase, we don’t have the money. That philosophy, buy now and figure out how to pay later, is troubling to say the least. It’s the philosophy that significantly contributed to much of the economic troubles experienced today by many who are in homes they can’t afford. Rising credit card debt is another symptom of this philosophy. Aside from the unknown payment plan, I question whether this statue is the best way to spend $215,000 of our limited money.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

What the media is saying...

Daily Herald - by Joe Pyrah
" David Lifferth in Eagle Mountain is still trying to figure out what he did to lose his council seat."
"The winners --John Painter and Nathan Ochsenhirt-- beat Lifferth handily."
"They campaigned really hard. They really worked hard," he said."

Deseret News -by Abigail Shaha, Sara Lenz and Rodger L. Hardy
"In Eagle Mountain's City Council race, incumbent City Councilman David Lifferth was defeated with only 782 votes against fellow incumbent Nathan Ochsenhirt with 1,238 votes and newcomer John Painter with 1,271."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

We did it, THANKS!!!

The results are in and with 1271 votes you have elected me to the Eagle Mountain City Council. Nate Ochsenhirt will join me for the next 4 years. I appreciate the service rendered by Dave Lifferth over the last few years and look forward to building on the positive momentum we have in the city.

There are too many people who helped my campaign to thank them individually, but I will acknowledge Deborah, my wife, for all her patience and hard work. She and my kids have contributed a lot and without them this would not have been possible. And thanks to my parents for flying out to share in this experience with us. Thanks to all of you who passed out fliers, placed signs in your yards, held signs and honked your horns. And especially thanks for voting.

We had a great time today, and the last several weeks. Thanks again for your help and votes of confidence.

Link to Eagle Mountain City website for election results

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tomorrow we vote, so remember...

I have many people to thank for helping over these past several weeks. Campaigning has been a lot of work but very rewarding to better understand our city. I have been to hundreds of doors, if not a thousand, and have thoroughly enjoyed discussing Eagle Mountain with each of you. And if I missed you, I am sorry and hope to meet your acquaintance over the next 4 years.
Eagle Mountain is a wonderful place to call home; it is full of talent in our residents and full of opportunity in our city. I hope to be able to serve on the City Council and contribute through study, work and vote to improve our city.
What needs to improve?
1) Where are all the businesses? The incumbents have had their time and little has really been accomplished to bring businesses here. We continually hear about plans and what's in the works, but nothing ever comes. More can be accomplished, Economic Development can be improved.
2) The city code still maintains multiple chapters than need to be updated and corrected. Those few residents that have businesses in Eagle Mountain know the difficulty of setting up shop and then the stress of staying open. They can't advertise along Ranches Parkway like the home builders can. The sign ordinance can be changed and improved.
3) The city is 13 years old and it is still illegal for anyone to ride their ATV's and dirt bikes to the hills. The city has taken minimal, if any, steps to drive this effort to identify trail heads, negotiate easements and mark pathways for off-road vehicles. I am already in contact with both the BLM and the OHV Committee for Utah to start progressing this effort. OHV trails and pathways need to be accomplished and this can be improved.
4) Everyone loves parks and open spaces, but these areas must be well placed and well kept. City owned land needs to set the standard for how residents are required to maintain our land. It is inconsistent for the city to fine a resident for a non-landscaped yard, while across the street city land has foot high weeds and tumble weeds growing. We deserve to have the city enforce the same code on themselves that they enforce on us. The city code enforcement on open spaces needs to be improved, especially on the city.

Eagle Mountain needs to transition into tomorrow and move beyond yesterday's embarrassment. We need new leadership with fresh ideas and the ability to do more than maintain status quo and not commit crimes. Eagle Mountain is our town and we can do more to enrich our community, the place we call home. Vote John Painter for City Council on Tuesday.