County to work on attracting new businesses
December 7, 2013
With Summit County poised for a period of growth, officials are gearing up to both attract and maintain business in the Greater Park City area. Now that the county has passed an Economic Diversity Strategic Plan for the Snyderville Basin as of Wednesday, that goal is in sight.
Headed up by Economic Development Specialist Alison Weyher, the plan has several main goals for future growth in the Basin.
Strengthen and retain the existing economy
Weyher said that expanding the recreation and tourism sectors in the Greater Park City area are obviously important, but that focus needs to be added to the East Side as well.
"We have a lot of companies that pick up their guests in the Basin and take them to recreational opportunities in Eastern Summit County," Weyher said. "We need to be looking for ways to get some of those guided tours to spend money [on the East Side]."
Whether it’s having an East Side restaurant provide meals for tour groups or giving out coupons to encourage future visitors, Weyher said promoting economic development on the East Side is a priority.
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The expansion of transit services between Summit and Wasatch Counties is also a possibility, according to the plan, as between 40 and 60 percent of employees commute from another county. The county already has an established bus route on Interstate 80 to and from Salt Lake, and could look at expanding that as well.
Identify desirable types of industries to attract to the Basin
Other than tourism and recreation, the county would like to attract industries such as healthcare services, sports medicine, software and IT companies and performing arts and film summer classes. Weyher said they would also like to see more companies locate their corporate headquarters or additional branches in the county.
"We’re fortunate to have many with second homes in the area. We’d like them to ski and stay, but also have them have a second branch of their business here," Weyher said.
Weyher added she would like to target those businesses that may be thinking of expanding by showing them that Summit County is "business-friendly."
Identify appropriate locations in the Basin for business development
Some notable locations where the county could see commercial or industrial growth include the Tech Park (north of the Utah Olympic Park), the Silver Creek Business Park, Redstone/Newpark and Pinebrook/Jeremy Ranch.
Along with these already existing locations for potential development, the plan lays out the possibility of rezoning properties, where appropriate, to expand existing uses. Examples include along Rasmussen Road, State Road 224 and Silver Creek Plat I, which is located south of the Woodside Homes project.
Identify incentives to strengthen existing and prospective businesses
Possibilities for existing businesses could include options for rezoning and facilitating conditional use permits as well as developing policies to "identify impediments to growth."
For prospective businesses, options could include expedited permits, tax rebates, infrastructure assistance, fee waivers and other incentives. A business’ potential impact to the local economy (salaries, number of employees, impacts) would be weighed when considering offering incentives, according to the plan.
Weyher said the next step in the strategic plan’s process is to develop marketing materials for use in approaching different firms to talk about the county’s "unique strengths."
The Park City/Summit County Economic Diversity Task Force has met biweekly for over a year to jointly plan future growth, identifying target areas and industries of development. Weyher said that, in both Park City and the Snyderville Basin, shared planning is important because effects of growth are always externalized.
"When we’re looking at new development, we need to consider the other entity’s interests," Weyher said. "The general goal is centered around more mutual cooperation."
To view the Snyderville Basin Economic Diversity Strategic Plan, it is included in the Dec. 4 Summit County Council agenda, available online at summitcounty.org.
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