‘Guide our future growth’: Utah Governor rolls out statewide survey aimed at guiding state’s growth

In this file photo, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox greets attendees at Align Precision ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house, Cedar City, Utah, Oct. 11, 2022 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

ST. GEORGE — A statewide survey focused on guiding Utah’s future growth was introduced by Gov. Spencer Cox last week.

“We are inviting all Utahns to take an online survey to help guide Utah’s future growth,” the governor said during a press event in Salt Lake City held on Thursday, May 11.

Called “Guiding Our Growth,” the online survey focuses on the issues of housing, transportation, water and open space/recreation areas as related to growth and how each is intertwined.

“We’re here to talk about growth,” Cox said Thursday, as reported by KSL.com. “What makes Utah great also makes Utah grow. People come here, they like it, and they want to stay. But we know that growth can threaten what makes Utah great if we don’t plan for it.”

Take the “Guiding Our Growth” Survey

The survey is split into two parts. The first offers a short video explaining one of the four topics mentioned above and then provides four options on how they each may be addressed. They can run the spectrum from finding ways to support continuing growth to restricting it and lists the pros and cons of each choice along the way. This is followed up by public comment, where people can share their own thoughts on the matter before moving to the next topic.

In this file photo, Cedar City’s Historic Downtown, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 6, 2023 | Photo by Alysha Lundgren, Cedar City News

The second half of the survey offers additional ideas on how best to address aspects of growth in relation to the four primary topics.

Utah has been counted among the country’s fastest-growing states between 2010 and 2020, with St. George in particular noted as the fastest-growing metro area in 2022, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

An estimated 3.4 million people currently live in Utah, which is projected to swell to 5.5 million by 2060, according to the University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Institute. Approximately 500,000 of those people are projected to reside in Washington County.

“Utah can remain a great place to live, but we must work together to protect or improve Utah’s cost of housing, water resources, transportation conveniences, recreation opportunities, and never, ever losing our sense of community,” Cox said, according to KSL. “So, today, we are inviting all Utahns to take an online survey to help guide our future growth.”

In this file photo, the “D” on the Black Hill as seen from downtown St. George, Utah, June 3, 2o22 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

As growth issues can vary from community to community, the survey initially asks participants to supply their ZIP codes so they can be directed to a survey tailored to the conditions that best apply to them.

People living in rural Utah won’t get questions related to how growth along the Wasatch Front should be conducted, for example, and vice versa.

According to the survey’s website, results of the survey – which runs through Aug. 31 – are intended to be “with local and state elected officials to inform decisions about Utah’s future. Outcomes may include funding recommendations, state or local policy direction, or additional outreach efforts on key topics.”

Results of the survey are slated to become public by the end of the year.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2023, all rights reserved.

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