KANAB – Among candidates vying for open seats on the Kanab City Council this year, some common themes at the forefront of their thoughts and goals are business growth, jobs, local youth and community heritage.
Write-in candidate Robert Brissette said it’s important for Kanab to get programs and businesses in the community that will give local youth something to do and constructive outlets to “blow some steam.” Some suggestions he made were an Internet gaming facility, workshops to teach computer repair and programming skills, a defensive driving program and a year-round survival camp.
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Brissette said he has recently been working with a business that likes his ideas and has arranged for it to come and check out the Kanab area.
If he is not elected, Brissette said he will try and work with the city on issues and share his ideas and plans.
“We as a community will be facing a bigger problem then: Who is going to water the golf course, or who is responsible for excessive light pollution?” Brissette said. “If we cannot find programs or business that would be a year-round employer to move in, we will not have anyone under the age of 25 living here. We need to attract them (younger residents), not make them move.”
Looking to the future, candidate Allen Gilberg said Kanab needs a plan that is based on shared community vision, and community members need to work together to realize that vision.
“Kanab is in a period of growth,” Gilberg said, “and as it changes, there are choices that will help make Kanab a better community.”
Growth in Kanab should be based on projects that fit the city’s vision, Gilberg said, adding that developers need to be on board with the city’s goals and help build the kind of community citizens want. He said growth needs to happen in ways that will improve Kanab for the benefit of all residents, such as providing jobs, education, housing and recreational opportunities – making the city a great place to live and not just a tourist stop.
“Building Kanab for the lifestyles of its residents and not just for the visiting tourist community will make our town a better destination, rather than a place to stay when visiting surrounding attractions,” he said.
Gilberg also has local youth in mind and providing opportunities for Kanab’s rising generation, so kids will remain in the area when they grow up rather than moving away.
If we build a community that is a great place to live and a fun and interesting place to grow up, we will be able to attract more industries than visitor services. Providing the best education and opportunities for our youth will help to draw families who are willing to bring their businesses to Kanab and will ultimately provide businesses with a smart labor pool.
Regardless of the election’s outcome, Gilberg said, he will continue living and working in Kanab.
“It is one of the best communities in Utah,” he said, “and no matter what projects I may be working on, I intend to always do my best work.”
If elected, candidate Patty Hegwood said she will work hard to attract more businesses to Kanab, develop affordable housing and create training programs that are focused on service and tourism. She said:
It is important to grow our town in a way that maintains our heritage, heart and peaceful surroundings. Sometimes we all need a bit of encouragement to stay the course even when we are tempted by offers that appear too good to be true.
I will help develop and mentor businesses that are in line with our culture, enhance our environment and create a level of customer service that is both welcoming and accommodating. In order to do so, it is important for the Kanab City Council to work with the members of our community to declare a unified vision of the future look and feel of Kanab.
Hegwood, who oversees a local business, said if she isn’t elected to the City Council, she will continue offering her service to Kanab in the same way she always has.
“It has always been my focus to leverage our relationships in town to support one another in the true spirit of reciprocity,” she said. “We are a kind and fun loving people and it is super important to make a great first impression for our visitors and for them to understand that all of our businesses support one another.
“I will do everything within my power to continue to reach out and find new ways for us to promote our town, give back to the community by way of service, and be a good patron and citizen.”
Incumbent Joe Wright said Kanab has achieved many important milestones during his first term on the City Council, including successfully litigating a case to have contractors repair mistakes made in constructing the Kanab City Pool; implementing an additional household dog permit, allowing property owners more freedom in the number of pets they choose to keep; celebrating the 100th anniversary of Kanab’s all-woman town council in 1912, which marked the first time in American history that an entire town board, including the mayor, was totally comprised of women; and recognizing the 100th anniversary of the city’s library.
“Many new businesses have entered Kanab,” he added, “and many public works projects have been completed. This is only a few items that have been accomplished over the last four years.”
If re-elected, Wright said, he hopes to see the completion of the Kanab City Skate Park during his next four years as a councilman.
“This project has been dragged on long enough,” he said, “and it is time to see ground broken and structures built.”
Wright said he also hopes to see continued, well-planned growth in Kanab – both in economic development and residential opportunities.
“Kanab needs more jobs that will sustain families,” Wright said. “Kanab needs more opportunities for families to afford a home of their own. Kanab needs more sidewalks and running and biking paths. All of these new opportunities to Kanab need to be balanced with the wonderful heritage that has been passed on to our community. We must look toward and plan for the future while remembering and honoring our past.”
If he’s not re-elected, Wright said, he will continue serving the community by joining a city board or committee.
“Prior to serving on the City Council,” he said, “I served on the Kanab City Planning Commission for eight years. It was not until I had the opportunity to serve on the City Council that I realized how many of our city boards and committees continue to function with open positions available. I would look forward to the opportunity of continuing my service to the great community by serving on one of these boards or committees.”
NOTE: Candidates Michael East, John Jacobs and Jeff Yates did not respond to participate in this report.
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