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The City Journals

Taylorsville 2020 (economic development) Summit a success as ‘stakeholders’ discuss city’s future

Aug 06, 2019 03:26PM ● By Carl Fauver

Nearly 100 business leaders, elected officials and other “stakeholders” attended the Taylorsville 2020 Summit. (Kim Horiuchi/Taylorsville City)

By Carl Fauver | [email protected]

Fresh on the heels of being named, in a nationwide survey, one of America’s best cities to start a small business, Taylorsville elected officials gathered nearly 100 property owners, developers, business operators and other stakeholders to learn more about the community and the economic opportunities it holds.

“I think this was primarily Mayor (Kristie) Overson and Wayne Harper’s idea,” city spokeswoman Kim Horiuchi said. “But it was also discussed in a couple of priority meetings, held last fall and earlier this spring. The goal was to gather as many stakeholders together as possible to share the vision for the future of Taylorsville.”

Thus, the city’s first “Taylorsville 2020 Summit” was held at the Regal Cinema.

“We have hosted a couple of business social gatherings during the winter holiday season, but we thought it would be a good idea to offer a more thorough view of what Taylorsville has to offer,” Overson said. “We wanted to get developers, business owners, brokers and others all together to showcase the city. We want them to see our shopping districts and get a vision of how they might serve their needs.”

Earlier this year, telecommunication giant Verizon Wireless named Taylorsville the eighth-best city in America to start a new small business. City officials said educating summit attendees about how the community earned its way onto that list was one of their top priorities during the event.

“I know a couple of other cities have hosted these kinds of summits in recent years, like Provo, Sandy and Ogden,” said Taylorsville Economic Development Director and Utah State Sen. Wayne Harper. “We sent out 350 invites and at least 90 people attended. A handful were here from Illinois, Maryland and Florida. We wanted to get property owners and investors together to discuss what we are doing to energize the city.”

Harper said the planned 90-minute event ran closer to two hours, as attendees networked and discussed the city’s future.

Meredith Harker was one of three city council members who attended the Taylorsville 2020 Summit.

“I think people may have been surprised by how many options are being considered for changing, improving and revitalizing the city,” Harker said. “As I talked with people, I was particularly impressed by how they all spoke so highly of our city staff. They said they are easy to work with, which is what we want. I think the summit was very successful.”

City Councilman Curt Cochran was unable to attend but said afterward, “With all the work that’s being done — and with our appearance on the Verizon list — I see nothing but a bright future for Taylorsville businesses.”

Elected officials and business leaders offered power point presentations during the economic summit, followed by a question-and-answer period.

“It really was an opportunity to dialogue and to share our vision of what the city can do over the next 20 years,” Harper added. “We had some display boards highlighting the city’s accomplishments outside the theater. Mayor Overson welcomed everyone. The presenters were effective. It went well.” 

“For a first event like this, I think everyone from the city felt it was really good,” Horiuchi said. “We invited our congressional delegation and had representatives from the offices of Sens. [Mike] Lee and [Mitt] Romney, and Rep. [Ben] McAdams. Based on how successful it was, I think we will do another summit like this in the future, but it may be in a couple of years. Everyone seemed curious and engaged.”

Another Taylorsville 2020 Summit attendee who found value in the event was city Planning Commission Chairwoman Anna Barbieri, who also serves on the city Economic Development Committee.

“The city really put together a nice program, designed to get developers and business owners to think outside the box,” she said. “[The summit] gave people a good look at future transportation plans for the city, with the BRT (bus rapid transit) line coming in. They also discussed some of the key intersections along Redwood Road that are being discussed for improvements. I really thought it went well. I know I made some key contacts.”

“We believe it is important to always be forward-thinking,” Overson said. “That’s one of the main reasons I thought the Taylorsville 2020 Summit was a good idea.”