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.