Pike rides in on electric scooter for 2019 ‘State of the City’ address

In this February 2019 file photo, St. George Mayor Jon Pike address the St. George Area Chamber of Commerce and others gathered for the "State of the City" address at Dixie State University, St. George, Utah, Feb. 6, 2019 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Amid a review of the city’s growth and progress over the past year while also highlighting future projects during his “State of the City” address, St. George Mayor Jon Pike also announced the city will likely have electric scooters on the streets by the end of the month.

St. George Mayor Jon Pike rides into the Gardner Ballroom at Dixie State University on a Spin electric scooter as a part of an announcement that the city plans to approve an agreement to bring the scooters to St. George by the end of the month, St. George, Utah, Feb. 6, 2019 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

To illustrate his point, Pike and members of Dixie State University’s student government rode scooters into DSU’s Gardner Ballroom where the mayor gave his fifth annual State of the City address.

The scooters are supplied through Spin, an electric scooter company owned by Ford Motor Company. It is also attached to Zagster, the bike share program the city partnered with last year.

Read more: St. George bike share program is now up and rolling

In the year since the bike share program started it has seen 4,500 rides, Pike said.

The city originally considered going with another electric scooter company, but opted to have various companies submit proposals to the St. George City Council as to why their service was the best fit for the area.

Read: Springdale considers electric scooters as St. George taps the brakes on the service

Like the Zagster bike share program, people are able to access scooters via an app on their phones.

Members of Dixie State University’s student government stand in the background as St. George Mayor Jon Pike (not pictured) tells people about the city’s pending agreement to bring electric scooters to the city, St. George, Utah, Feb. 6, 2019 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

The St. George City Council is expected to vote Thursday on whether to approve an agreement between the city and Spin. If all goes well, Pike said people may start to see scooters around town by the end of the month.

“I can guarantee you that on the first day I’m going to be trying one of those out,” Pike said.

Spin will be bringing 250 scooters to St. George.

Housing and development

Following the scooter announcement, Pike touched on developments of the past year, including how much the city continued the grow.

St. George issued 2,233 building permits in 2018 at an estimated value of $352 million.

Major building projects that concluded last year include the $300 million expansion of Dixie Regional Medical Center, Pike said.

Other construction projects of note that are ongoing from last year include the mixed use developments of the $34 million Joule Plaza and the $40 million City View. Both projects are in the downtown area and will sport a blend of commercial and residential units. Joule Plaza will feature 197 apartments while City View will offer 110.

Read more: $40 million ‘City View’ project breaks ground in heart of St. George | Long-awaited Joule Plaza breaks ground in downtown St. George

This, among with other building projects, will help the city with its housing shortage, Pike said.

St. George Mayor Jon Pike addresses the St. George Area Chamber of Commerce and others gathered for the 2019 “State of the City” address at Dixie State University, St. George, Utah, Feb. 6, 2019 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

While mentioning “affordable housing,” the mayor was quick to say he wasn’t referring to government-subsidized, but rather market price-based residential units that young families would be able to afford.

As an example, Pike pointed to smaller homes being built in the Desert Bluffs portion of the Desert Canyon development near the St. George Regional Airport.

Over the last year, the city has also approved over 8,600 multifamily and 6,500 single-family residential units for construction in the near future and coming decades.

Many of those future homes are a part of the Desert Color development around Interstate 15’s Exit 2, which is anticipated to be built up over the next 30 years, Pike said.

“This will help in the short- and long-term with housing people that need to work here, and our kids and grandkids we want to stay here,” he said.

Read more: ‘Don’t you know we live in a desert?’ Developer says lake will actually save water in 3,400-acre Desert Color community

Multifamily units are also planned for Tech Ridge, Pike said, but pointed to new commercial development going in first with the pending relocation of Printer Logic and BusyBusy to the ridge top where Dixie Technical College also sits. The ridge top is anticipated to develop into a thriving technology business park.

Read more: Dixie Tech celebrates permanent campus with ribbon-cutting

St. George City Manager Adam Lenhard speaks during the 2019 “State of the City” address concerning the future renovation of the city campus, which includes the city hall, commons building and police station, St. George, Utah, Feb. 6, 2019 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

“We’re really excited about this new ecosystem that’ll be going up at Tech Ridge,” Pike said.

Other city projects that saw completion in 2018 were the Snake Hollow bike park and the renovation of Vernon Worthen Park.

“It’s the biggest bike park in the state and the only one open year-round,” Pike said, adding the city is being approached to host statewide competitions there.

Read more: City dedicates new playground at Vernon Worthen Park | Grand opening draws crowds of cyclists to Snake Hollow St. George Bike Park

It was also announced, this time by City Manager Adam Lenhard, that the city will renovate the “city campus” on 200 East. That includes the city hall, city commons building across the street and the police station. The reason for the renovation is to provide additional space for city services to match the growth of the city overall.

Additional details on the project will be forthcoming, Lenhard said.

Transportation

In transportation-related news, Pike mentioned the widening of Bluff Street, a $46 million project largely overseen by the Utah Department of Transportation, and the installation of traffic signals the Foremaster Drive-Five Sisters Drive intersection and at the 2450 East-Riverside Drive intersection.

Additional traffic signals are planned for points along 3000 East in the Little Valley area, as well as the Dinosaur Crossing Drive-Mall Drive area and the Medical Center Drive-Foremaster Drive intersection.

Read more: City approves bids to install new traffic signals at 4 intersections in St. George

St. George Police Chief Richard Farnsworth (center) listens to St. George Mayor Jon Pike’s 2019 “State of the City” address at Dixie State University, St. George, Utah, Feb. 6, 2019 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Moving into 2019 the city and UDOT will be building a pedestrian walkway under I-15 at 400 South that is expected to be completed by early fall.

The city will also be widening River Road between Riverside Drive and 1450 East.

Regarding the St. George Regional Airport, Pike noted that in recent years the city had gained a second daily flight to Phoenix through American Airlines, as well as picked up a new route to Mesa, Arizona, through Allegiant Air in 2018. The number of passengers who have passed through the airport went from 137,000 when it opened in 2011 to 278,000 last year, he said.

However, Pike also said the city was in a difficult situation due to the airport runway needing to be rebuilt due to water damage. The Federal Aviation Administration will be covering 91 percent of the $26 million rebuilding cost, he said.

Read more: City approves $23 million bid to replace runway ahead of airport closure

Work on the runway will take place between May and September. The airport will be completely shut down during that time.

By the end of his address, Pike announced that city officials will be holding a number of open houses across the city starting in March.

The meetings will be:

  • March 28 at the SunRiver ballroom.
  • April 11 at Firehouse Park in the Dixie Downs area.
  • May 9 at St. George Town Square.
  • June 13 at Seegmiller Farm in Little Valley.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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