A New Focus: Thoughts on Young Single Professionals
Yesterday, August 1, 2018, marked the day a new ordinance took effect in Provo. Under the ordinance, Provo landlords and tenants are required to sign a disclosure document. For information on specifics, contact our Community Development office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I want to use today to highlight a concern that is related to, but distinct from, the ordinance.
That concern is that at least some of our young single professionals have gotten the message, through discussions leading up to the ordinance, that they are not welcome in our city.
Let me explain why such a message is dangerous for all residents of Provo.
Beyond the basic principles of acceptance and kindness towards all, there are powerful economic and quality of life reasons we should act clearly to reverse the impact of any message our young single professionals have received that they are not welcome.
If you remember the Provo of a few decades ago, you’ll remember Provo having a bit of an inferiority complex. Provo’s image was of a boring sleepy town. Even movies had fun with this idea.
Now we have a Provo brand and image and lifestyle that is unrivaled among U.S. cities. We were named number one in jobs recently, nationwide. We’re at the top of the charts for tech startups. We get approached by companies who want to come be a part of the magic of Provo.
All of this translates to benefits to almost every Provo resident. The long-timers watch their property values rise to all-time highs, while their property taxes stay relatively low. Beyond that, there is an intangible energy and vibrancy to this place that is incredible. And at or near the heart of this magic is a critical demographic: young single professionals. This is a demographic other cities clamor to attract. They tend to have expendable income, which translates to a vibrant downtown and to sales tax revenue that dampens or eliminates the need to raise property taxes. Companies want to hire this demographic. Tech startups are formed by them. They have time and energy and passion to devote to causes, charities, and civic engagement.
None of this is to say that marrieds or students or families don’t contribute as well. We all know they form a vital foundation in Provo. But if you want to see a city with a healthy student population and family demographic but without the X factor that our strong community of young single professionals helps provide in Provo, visit Logan, Utah, which to be sure is a wonderful place full of charm and beauty.
So what can we do? I call on everyone in the city to help my administration as we strive to ensure that Provo attracts and retains young single professionals. Towards this end, I’m pleased to report that we’ve been laying the groundwork for a committee whose focus will be just that. We’ll all benefit, in the pocketbook and in intangible ways, by ensuring we attract and retain this dynamic demographic.