Monday, April 29, 2013

Council Member discusses how MTC missionary housing will impact Provo

Council Member Rick Healey discussed how the increased housing need of LDS missionaries is impacting Provo in recent meetings with Neighborhood Chairs.  

Healey noted the recent change in age for eligible missionary service for LDS Church members has caused a large influx of missionaries, which has the LDS Church discussing long-term plans on how to accommodate the increased need.

 “Due to these changes, the Provo MTC has gone from housing roughly 3,000 missionaries to around 8,000,” Healey said.

Healey indicated the increase is expected to level out after an initial surge to around 7,000 missionaries, which will need long term housing which does not currently exist at the MTC.

“There are a variety of possible options that are currently being considered,” Healey said. “The goal is to have the MTC campus be self-contained.”

More details about the changes can be found in a variety of sources online, but here is a good resource for those looking to catch up on the issue.

Another good summary of how the issue is impacting the community and BYU campus can be found at the BYU Universe’s site here.

How has the increase in missionaries affected your neighborhood? How would you like to see the new facility's design unfold? 

The Council would appreciate hearing your thoughts. You can leave your feedback in a comment on this page, or contact your council member directly here. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Council Member Sterling Beck Discusses Bike Plan, Center Street

Council Member Sterling Beck discussed a variety of changes that Provo has undergone since his election to the Council during recent meetings with Neighborhood Chairs. 

One of Beck’s main priorities as a council member has been participating in the redesign process of Center Street with the goal of creating a friendlier atmosphere for families and bikes. As a part of that planning process, Beck mentioned how great it was to be working with such partners as the LDS Church and Nuskin, which are stakeholders in the redesign. 

Beck then discussed the splash pad in Pioneer Park, noting that it is in the finishing stages of construction, and also noted that as a part of the development of downtown, there has been progress on the State Street bike trail construction. Although only a few blocks of the trail have currently been completed, Beck said eventually the goal is to complete a trail along all of State Street.  

Discussing the city's Bicycle Master Plan, Beck said funds for the bicycle project master plan have come in part from the state and county. Those funds are helping to implement the plan, which Beck promised would be available for review by Neighborhood Chairs.

If you have feedback for the Council about either the Bicycle Master Plan, or the development of Center Street, please comment to this post, or contact your Council Member directly here

Monday, April 22, 2013

Council to hold public meeting to decide Google Fiber

Tuesday night the Municipal Council will hold a public meeting to decide if Google Fiber should sell the iProvo network. The public meeting begins at 5:30pm, Tuesday, April 23. There are a couple other issues on the agenda and the fiber network will be discussed at about 6pm. Discussions have been delicate, and reflect over a year’s negotiations to come to a mutually beneficial agreement.

Here is a rundown of some interesting information which has been made available:
  • Provo will become the 3rd city in the world after Austin and Kansas City to utilize Google Fiber, but will be the 2nd in reality, as much of the fiber in place for the iProvo network can be used in the new system, whereas in Austin and Kansas City, fiber networks had to be completely installed by Google. 
  • Google will pay $1 for the network, and will commit to providing free internet access to every resident in the city for at least 7 years. This reflects a major investment into Provo’s network.
  •  The Council will consider and review approval of this matter during meetings Tuesday, April 23, 2013.
  • If the deal is approved by the Council, this will be the first time Google has purchased a municipal fiber network, rather than constructing new networks.
  • Provo was approached by Google, and did not offer the company incentives to take over the network.
  • Pricing for high speed connections will likely be similar to Kansas City,  which currently has prices in the range of $70 for Gigabit, $120 for TV + Gigabit
Google Fiber investing in the iProvo network has the potential to continue to elevate Provo as a “tech hub” and an attractive destination for web developers, tech companies, and start-ups.

To dialogue with the public and receive input and comment, the Council will be holding the last of a series of town hall style meetings today  (Monday, April 22) 1:00-2:00 in the City Council Chamber. There will also be a meeting twice that evening at Lakeview Elementary (2899 W 1390 N) at 5:30 and again at 7:30.

You may also leave comments and feedback here, or on the Council’s Facebook page.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Anticipating Provo +50

In an exciting milestone for Provo city, the next step in planning for the future has come together in the interactive summit Provo +50, a continuation of Vision 2030, which has guided the city's priorities until now. 

Community leaders, stakeholders, and interested parties are invited to attend the summit from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm on April 17, 2013 at the Utah Valley Convention Center in Downtown Provo. 

The Council would like to thank Mayor Curtis and his team for the hard work in organizing this event, and seeing it come to fruition. The Council is also looking forward to getting YOUR feedback from this summit. The Council may consider adopting officially the Vision which comes out of the summit as a policy guide to aid and direct future legislative action and budgets. 

The summit will include seven short presentations (presented consecutively) in the presentation format popularized as "TED Talks". Discussions will focus on future trends in subjects such as education, technology, demographics, healthcare, transportation, the economy, and natural resources from recognized experts. The summit will also include 90-minute round-table discussions dealing with topics presented during the talks. 

A luncheon will then be served to participants, where some informal polling will be conducted for immediate feedback on some of the issues discussed in the breakout sessions.

The keynote speaker will be Bishop H. David Burton, Emeritus Presiding Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He will be addressing the future of Utah, Utah Valley, and Provo and what community leaders can do today to prepare for that future. For more information about the summit go to

The summit is $15/person, and you can register online at 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Preventive Road Maintenance Funding

The Provo Council has held meetings with Neighborhood Chairs to discuss upcoming Council actions on road funding, and to listen to issues that concern neighborhoods.

 Kay Van Buren, the Council Member representing District 4, spoke of the significant challenge road funding presents. The main issue is how the Council should balance the funding of preventative maintenance for Provo roads, while also rebuilding damaged ones.

 According to studies completed by road engineers for the city, funds to repair roads ought to first be used to maintain roads in fair condition first, as this work will cost far less than repairing or replacing a badly damaged road. For every $1 spent in preventative maintenance saves the taxpayer $7 when rebuilding a road.

If the cracks in this road aren't sealed soon, the road will begin to crumble and it will cost the city eight times as much to replace.

Another challenge facing the Council is resolving issues with the funding mechanism for road maintenance. Until now, bonding has provided funds to repair and maintain roads, but studies provided to the Council indicate this is grossly inefficient, as the Council ends up paying off interest on bonds long after having spent bonded monies to maintain and repair roads.

 Tell the Council what you think?

Comment Below!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Façade Grants Refresh Provo’s Downtown

Council Member Laura Cabanilla recently shared an update with Neighborhood Chairs to show how Federal CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) funds have helped improve Provo’s Downtown area.
Before and after photos of Dave’s Bernina, a local business which has taken advantage of the grant program

Cabanilla showed how grant monies have been employed to the façades of local businesses, which has given a lift to Provo’s downtown image. Cabanilla also shared photos demonstrating the dramatic differences the funds have helped achieve. Some of the businesses which participated in the program and were mentioned by Cabanilla include: Dave’s Bernina, Rice King, Gianni International, City Limits, Station 22, and SORA.

For years the Redevelopment Agency of Provo City has offered matching fund grants to businesses to help them maintain the appearance of their exteriors. In 2011, as part of an effort to complement the construction and opening of the Utah Valley Convention Center in 2012, the Council modified the grant program to make it more attractive to a larger number of businesses. Those businesses, particularly around Center Street, were aided by the Council’s repurposing of CDBG funds from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. One of the major changes implemented by the Council was to change the amount of fund matching, to incentivize businesses to participate in the program. Previously, the Redevelopment Agency’s program matched funds at a one-to-one ratio; the Council modified the allocation of funds to a three-to-one ratio.
Another participant in the program, Rice King
Cabanilla said the downtown area continues its growth, and has a bright future thanks in part to the reconstruction of the Provo Tabernacle into an LDS temple, the Utah Valley Convention Center, the Covey Center for the Arts as well as new construction by Nuskin.

Another participant in the program, Station 22

Another participant in the program, SORA

Monday, April 8, 2013

Neighborhood Master Planning

Council Member Hal Miller Proposes Neighborhoods Develop Master Plan 

In a recent meeting with Neighborhood Area Chairs , Council Member Hal Miller discussed the possible benefits to Neighborhoods of having their own master plans as a way to achieve their vision of the future.

“Each of us has a history of being identified with a particular neighborhood,” Miller said. “Often we hear of master plans for this or that City project as a way to drive future goals and agenda setting. As part of that effort, I will promote the interface of each neighborhood with the Community Development Department and thus encourage the formulation of master plans for each neighborhood.”

Miller said he’d like to determine the level of confidence that each neighborhood has in its own resources to formulate a master plan, and asked Neighborhood Chairs if creating a master plan was an advisable policy for all neighborhoods at this time.

As a follow-up question, Miller asked if it makes sense to leave current neighborhood boundaries as they are or to modify them, recognizing that the number of neighborhoods might grow or contract.

Residents with comments about neighborhood master planning can submit them here or contact the Municipal Council through its blog or email.

Please note that Community Development has begun the master-planning process for the downtown area (see the details here) as well as the Joaquin Neighborhood (see details here). 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Council Agendas and Documents Are Now Available Sooner

The Provo City Council has recently begun using a computerized agenda and document support tool called SIRE (here’s a link to their site), to aid in transparency to the public, increase public ease of access to Council documents and give feedback to the Council on that information.

SIRE will aid residents who would like to receive earlier, relevant updates to information the Council uses to make policy decisions, by providing citizens with agendas, minutes of meetings, and links to other documents. 

Interested parties may visit to see past and upcoming agendas of items on the Council’s “to-do” list. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Shaping Provo's Future Provo +50

Provo +50, a series of meetings and discussions which will guide the city's outlook for the next 50 years,  has been announced for residents to participate in shaping the future of the city.

This process will change Vision 2030, a planning document which has guided, and currently guides the city in its priorities.

As part of this process, community leaders, concerned residents, and other interested parties are invited to attend from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm on April 17th, 2013 at the Utah Valley Convention Center in Downtown Provo. 

Provo +50 will discuss such subjects as: education, technology, demographics, health care, transportation, the economy, and management of natural resources.  

The keynote speaker will be Bishop H. David Burton, Emeritus Presiding Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

For more information about the summit visit

Registration for the summit is $15/person, and can be completed online at 

Provo's Mayor John Curtis has posted additional, more detailed information regarding 2030 on his blog, found here.