Many years ago, big signs around the city read: “Things are Happening in Orem!” That statement has never been more true than right now. There has been so much going on these first 16 months, that you may have missed some of our critical progress.
Counting down, here’s a recap of what I believe are the top 5 things we’ve accomplished for you, thus far:
For decades, Orem has unofficially been known as “Family City USA.” The City Council and I have made it a top priority to lean into that nickname and make it our official city slogan. I’m sure you have seen new signs throughout the city, on city entrances, parks, city vehicles, and elsewhere. Family City USA has become our guiding star or benchmark for decision-making. We will continue to work to maintain Family Values for our community.
One of the first things we did was create the Orem Transparency Portal, which has provided residents with a one-stop-shop to see what their city and elected officials are doing. Transparency is critical to all levels of government in promoting responsibility, demanding accountability, and preserving the public trust. So rather than having to search through the website looking for something specific, we have tried to bring “all things transparency” onto one page.
The State Street Master Plan has been overhauled, focusing on service, office, and retail development. This change stopped 10,000 high-density multifamily apartments from being built. While, at the same time it promoted responsible growth and proper infrastructure. Next up on our list – is beautifying and improving State Street.
I am proud to have facilitated your opportunity to vote on reconfiguring the Alpine School District last year. That was another first. This process brought to light some significant concerns about our schools in Orem. Orem taxpayers learned they paid $174 million to ASD over 20 years but received nothing in return. That information helped prevent $116 million in new Orem taxpayer debt, that you would have been responsible for. For the first time in history ASD was not able to pass its $595 million bond. We will continue to promote -accountability to the public – and the improvement of Orem schools.
Finally, we are building a better Orem through the many significant projects underway. For example, we have stopped talking about building a new City Center – and are doing it. The new City Center will be our vital community hub and, most importantly, is being built with no tax increases or bonding. That is unheard of in today’s world.
In addition, we saved taxpayers an additional $13 million dollars by obtaining outside funding for our new Water Reuse Conservation Project.
Also, we’re looking to the future with our 950-foot well and a ten million-gallon water tank which will provide the water needs of Orem – for generations to come.
Our new reimagined Hillcrest Park will feature a splash pad, 12 pickle-ball courts, and playgrounds and will be one of the best parks in Utah on day one.
Thanks to the funding we obtained from the county, our Lakeview Park will add synthetic turf and lights for its softball fields. That will make this sports park an even more attractive regional draw for large tournaments, which in turn will help create more recreational opportunities for residents.
Overall, Orem has undergone a significant transformation over the past 16 months by focusing on responsible growth, infrastructure, and improved city governance. These changes have created new opportunities for employees, increased transparency, and improved services for residents.
I look forward to working with our elected officials, talented city staff, and passionate residents to continue to make good things happen for Orem.
Finally, I wish the City of Orem a happy 104th birthday this month. Orem is genuinely a city worth celebrating, and we’re looking forward to another great year.
Have a great month, and I’ll see you in June.