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2015-02-26 16:02:01
So, what will Tooele County look like in 2020?

So, what will Tooele County look like 5 years from now?

That's a question that many people (myself included!) are asking these days. It's certainly a hot topic on social media. Whether the 'commentators' know they are asking that question or not...Every time they ask about a new business coming to the county, they are asking that question, because it's a very complex issue. 

I'll use a common example of a 'wish' often expressed around here. 'We need a Costco, so sign this petition...'. If only it was as simple as that.

Let's explore what that really means in the 'big picture'.

What they are really saying is 'I want 20K-30K more people in the Tooele Valley', although it's unlikely they know that's what they are saying. Costco would likely love to come to Tooele County...when there are enough customers to support such a business. The next comment will likely be something like, 'there are plenty of customers here now'. I'm guessing that most of these companies understand very clearly what they need to be profitable.

Olive Garden? While the numbers may not be the same as a Costco, they too have a number in mind. They will also figure in the success rate of similar past ventures in our area. Is Tooele County ready to support such a restaurant? It's a good question. Applebee's seems to do ok, but is there enough to go around? 

Tooele City commissioned a 'leakage' study several years ago that showed clearly that a source for women's clothing was lacking in the county. In the last couple of years, several stores catering to this product have popped up. The market potential will likely be the determining factor in what retail we will see come to the county over the next 5 years.

But, what other factors will be important? Remember those 30k new people we need to add to get these cool places? Are you ready to share SR-36 with these folks on your morning commute?

That's really the only game in town as far as getting to SLC is concerned right now. It's already over capacity and a significant amount of that traffic is truck traffic, creating big safety concerns. So maybe those Costco fans are really saying 'I want the Mid-Valley Highway to be built immediately!' That will help with congestion and safety and convenience and help to lure companies to relocate to Tooele County, providing more local jobs that will also help with congestion.

 Will we get more transit? How about FrontRunner trains? Light rail to the airport? Tunnel through the Oquirrhs? Expansion of the current Tooele Valley airport?  Target? Kohl's? Crown Burger (ok, that one is only for me?)? The answers are the same. More rooftops equals more commercial, retail and industrial growth. You can't have those things without the people to support them and make them profitable. You also need those people to fill the jobs those businesses require.

Believe me when I tell you that local government looks at what they want the county to look like too. It's a constant exercise in smart planning. I also need to clear up a couple of other social media spurred rumors. Contrary to a popular rumor, Tooele City, Tooele County and Grantsville do not 'recruit' business to come to the area to compete with existing business. When competition comes to town it's because that business feels there's a market for their product. Local government DOES recruit business and industry to fill a void in the community. They also plan residential growth to make sure that the product we have to sell fits what their constituents tell them they want. 

So, when you say we 'need' a Costco, be sure you understand that what you want is really more complicated than just that. The answers will affect what this valley looks like for decades to come. So I ask again, what will Tooele County look like in 5 years?

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