Muse Music cafe has new owners and has been getting a face-lift. Starting Monday they will be holding a battle of the bands event and gave me the fun opportunity to help judge the final night.
Feel free to come down Saturday the 7th and talk with me about the city, or better yet, listen to the bands!
I’m currently attending a presentation at the Utah Bike Summit about the positive economic impact of an event coming to our city this summer.
The Tour of Utah is the second largest cycling event in the United States, it has over 20 countries represented and a wide number of famous cyclist participants including Levi Leipheimer. This year Provo will be a proud host venue for the six day race.
The race, sometimes referred to as Utah’s Tour de France is a 400 mile tour of Utah with Ogden, Salt Lake, and Park city also participating. It’s unique in that it is a world class event that is completely free to the public.
The Provo route will likely go up University Ave and finish at the Riverwoods on August 11th. The race is anticipated to bring $39 million to the state of Utah. Many Provo hotels, restaurants, and businesses will see a huge economic boost from this race with at least 300,000 spectators anticipated for the race. Over 75,000 of these will be from out of state.
Additionally this will be a great opportunity for the city to receive global attention. Fox Sports will be airing it nationally with a 19.2 million cumulative audience anticipated. It will also stream to over 160 countries over the web, as well as being broadcast over the radio.
Those interested in helping out can volunteer to help out. You’ll get fed and some free ‘swag’.
Downtown Provo has seen a huge influx in growth over the past year with major projects such as NuSkin’s building, the convention center, and Zion’s Bank bringing a much needed increase in the number of people working in and around the area.
This year the council focused on finding better ways to attract and maintain growth in our downtown. One area that was identified as being important was updating our facade grant program as well as introducing a new blade sign grant.
As pictured above, a downtown business called the Flower Basket Boutique was the first to take advantage of Provo’s new grant program. It took only a few days for them to get their paperwork in and receive approval for their grant.
The total cost of the new sign was approximately $1150, $1000 of which was funded by the grant. The business got a new sign for an out of pocket cost of $150, and the city was able to effectively revitalize a portion of University Ave using only $1000 of redevelopment funds.
From a city perspective this program looks like it will be a very successful tool for improving the appearance of our downtown as well as helping to improve property values for the surrounding neighborhoods.
In the coming weeks we will have the opportunity as a council to retool our under-utilized facade grant program to incentivize more downtown businesses to renovate their buildings – which means more downtown investment as well as an increase in the city’s sales tax revenues.
Provo often leads the county in many fields. Considering the budget problems municipalities face in today’s economy, I have often found myself quite impressed with the great level of service which the city continues to provide despite several budget hurdles.
One area in which I fear we’ve fallen behind has been in modernizing our police force. This has been particularly true when it comes to providing newer technology to our police force. There are some hard costs associated with obtaining and training on new equipment which in previous years were often put off due to budget restrictions. Recently both the Mayor and the Council have made requests to see our city proactively plan to budget wisely so that we can afford to begin modernizing our force.
Examples of this include positioning an ATV on the Provo River Trail to assist in rapid response to needs there, budgeting to finally replace some fairly old police vehicles, obtaining a K9 unit, and gradually moving towards better cameras and other technology on police vehicles.
Taxpayers will be pleased to know that the obtaining of this equipment has been highly scrutinized at every level. I have a 49 page report on my lap which compares the benefits which the public will see against the total cost of obtaining a K9 unit. Some interesting tidbits include:
Perhaps I’m the only one who wondered this, but the dogs themselves do not sleep at the station. They live with their handlers and train for at least 4 hours a week.
There are multiple benefits to having a K9 unit with our police force – one of the most significant being their ability to assist officers in better locating criminals and reducing the number who avoid capture. I look forward to the city having this important asset and appreciate the care which our department has given to justifying this use of taxpayer dollars.