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The City Journals

Future of the West Jordan economy guided by new director

Nov 02, 2020 04:00PM ● By Erin Dixon

By Erin Dixon | [email protected]

West Jordan has been referred to as a “bedroom community”; most of the city’s land is filled with residential areas and less commercial.

The job of Chris Pengra, the new economic director at West Jordan City, is to bring more businesses to the city, big and small. When a city can increase its property and sales tax income by building the economy, the extra money can alleviate some financial burden otherwise falls on residents. 

“One of my goals is to work to ensure the right types of industrial businesses come to West Jordan to deliver the greatest value to the community and to the state,” Pengra said. “I intend to work on bringing new investments into older areas of the city,” 

How does an economic director bring businesses to a city? 

“We look for ways to make their decision to locate in our community a little bit easier,” Pengra said. “Whether by offering hands on assistance navigating our development process or connecting a business owner with a lender, the aim is always the same. We want to make West Jordan the easiest place in the state to do business.” Incentives are available in some instances, but they represent less than 1% of the work we do. More often, the work we do is to address more practical needs.”

ChamberWest serves the businesses in West Jordan. President Barbara Riddle said working with the city is important to her chamber. 

“We are excited that West Jordan has hired a new economic development director,” Riddle said. “We work with them on any issues that our businesses may have.” 

There have been many increases in the water rates, and ChamberWest was the key link between the businesses and city government.  

“We believe fully that our businesses are comfortable in paying their fair share but certainly have budgeting issues, planning issues,” Riddle said. “It was an opportunity to sit down and just dialogue on why the city needed to change rates and for the city to hear from businesses as to the impact and suggestions that they have.” 

West Jordan Chamber, the former official chamber for West Jordan city, also intends to work with Pengra to benefit city businesses. 

Heather McGlothlin, the president and CEO of the chamber said, “I have met with the new director of economic development, and he has shared that he is working on his 90-day plan. Because of this "waiting period," we have not made any firm decisions yet about how we plan to work together; however, we have made a commitment to do whatever we can to support the economic development of our city.”

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