I have had some time to reflect on this past year and I am proud of the significant progress we’re making and the citizen engagement we see daily. So to highlight these achievements, here are my top exciting things that happened in 2023 in no specific order. (As it happens with these lists, I feel like I am leaving so much out.) Needless to say, I am proud of our work here in Provo and I look forward to the year to come!
1. Target Coming to Provo Towne Centre was Announced
We are thrilled to be able to offer Provo City residents a new Target store at the Provo Towne Centre, making this their second retail location. Target’s commitment to our community and Brixton’s efforts to revitalize an essential commercial center reflect the strength of Provo’s economy. We look forward to Brixton’s ongoing investment in Provo at Provo Towne Centre.
2. Award-Winning Provo Rec Center Celebrated 10 Years
The more than 1.8 million annual visitors to the award-winning Provo Recreation Center may not remember that just ten years ago, Provo was operating recreation in a part-time, shared facility with the Provo School District. What a difference a decade can make! The Provo Recreation Center was built to grow with the community while providing options for all. It’s gratifying to see the positive impact our health focus has had on our community. Ten years later, we continue protecting their investment by adding new amenities and preserving our existing facilities with a ‘New Forever’ maintenance attitude.
3. Regional Sports Park Project
We are an active community! With 330 local teams playing on only 11 existing fields, Provo City was not able to meet our local sports demand. Our award-winning Parks and Recreation department went into action by adding a visionary regional sports park on the Parks and Recreation Master Plan. The planned regional sports complex will be the second largest in the nation, with 21 multi-use fields, a 45-court Pickleball facility, and park amenities. Not only will it meet the current and growing sports needs of our community, but it will also generate more than $30 million in economic impact to Provo and surrounding communities.
4. 700 Million Gallons of Water Saved
Thank you, Provo! From last year, you have saved 700 million gallons of water. Your small changes are making a BIG impact. To put this into perspective, that's enough water to fill 1,060 Olympic-sized swimming pools. This is no small feat. It is a testament to our community's commitment, understanding, and respect for our natural resources. Our achievement is worth celebrating, but it's equally important to remember that water conservation is a continuous journey. As we celebrate our success, let's also remember to keep striving towards reducing our water usage, one drop at a time.
5. Provo Became a Big 12 City
Effective July 1, 2023, BYU sports experienced a once-in-a-generation transition, to becoming a member of a Power 5 athletic conference, namely the Big 12. With this influx of guests and exposure, I hope that we will each recognize this as an opportunity to put our best foot forward. In my mind, there is no good reason why Provo shouldn’t secure a reputation as the best place in the nation to attend an away game. The setting of the stadium, flanked by mountains, is spectacular. Our players and fans should display the highest levels of sportsmanship and hospitality. Thank you for being a part of this incredible place we get to call home—and for anything you can do to help us capitalize on this opportunity as a community.
6. Provo Airport Celebrated One Year of Flying High
Our Provo Airport's success can be attributed to the incredible increase in daily flights, from four flights a day to 12, with an expectation of reaching 17 by the end of this year. I commend Brian Torgersen, our Provo Airport Director, and his team for their tireless efforts in making this happen. As we look ahead, our Provo Airport will continue to serve as a preferred choice for vacationers who value affordable, convenient travel. Together, we are creating a city that is not only a fantastic place to live but a globally recognized destination as well. Thank you for being part of this exciting journey. Together, we are building a city that dreams big and achieves bigger!
7. Center Street is Safer for Pedestrians
Our City's continuous efforts to prioritize pedestrian safety, particularly in the heart of Provo, have led us to this crucial project. Resurfacing work was carried out on the roadway stretch between Freedom Blvd and University Ave, where the team addressed deteriorating conditions and potholes. Innovative safety measures were implemented in the form of raised crosswalks at mid-block crossings at 50 West and 450 West. These crosswalks not only calmed traffic but also enhanced pedestrian visibility, signaling to drivers that they were entering a pedestrian-friendly zone. Additionally, enhanced lighting was installed, benefiting both businesses and pedestrians, particularly during night hours. Shared lane markings, commonly known as sharrows, were freshly painted to indicate lanes shared by bicycles, scooters, and vehicles. Furthermore, special areas for outdoor dining were created at the northeast corner of 200 W and 100 W intersections, enhancing the downtown experience.
8. Celebrated a Century of Provo Golf Excellence
A hundred years ago, on September 13, 1923, a dedicated group of 34 Provo visionaries came together with a dream of crafting a unique golf experience in Utah. They founded the Timpanogos Golf Club, which has since been at the heart of Provo's rich golfing history. I'm filled with pride when I think of how our golf club transformed itself in 1986, adapting to the city's growing needs, and then rejuvenating its legacy in 2020. I invite each of you to visit, to play, and to become a part of this continuing legacy. Here's to another century of excellence, community, and shared stories at the Timpanogos Golf Club.
9. Celebrated Quail Orchard Park Grand Opening
On September 28th, we opened the doors of Quail Orchard Park, marking it as Provo’s 57th park. Nestled at 522 E 3900 N, this park boasts features that cater to everyone. From adventure-style playgrounds, contemporary pavilions, and family-style restrooms to walking paths illuminated by low-energy lamps, a natural meandering stream, pickleball courts, and group pavilions – Quail Orchard Park is a haven for every Provo resident, young and old.
10. Provo City Is Emergency Ready
Our public safety building isn't just about size and capacity – it's about excellence. We've been recognized with awards, showcasing our dedication to setting new benchmarks for emergency response. Central to this is our state-of-the-art emergency operations center (EOC), the first-of-its-kind dedicated space for Provo City and the newest in Utah County. It promises to be the nerve center during prominent events like the Freedom Festival and collegiate football games, doubling as a hub for continuous training. This ensures that in emergencies, our trained staff can swiftly document, record, and convey vital information, aiding incident response and resourcing.
11. Revitalized Provo’s Sister-City Bond with Meissen, Germany
We've rekindled our sister-city relationship with Meissen, Germany, a connection that's deeply rooted in our shared history with Karl G. Maeser, the founding principal of Brigham Young Academy. We were honored to recently host a delegation from Meissen, including Mayor Olaf Raschke. Highlights of the visit included a tour of City Hall, being publicly recognized during a Tabernacle Choir concert during their Temple Square visit, and a tour of Brigham Young University campus. I've always believed, Provo is not just a spectator in the global narrative of human connections—we're active participants, learning and growing through our friendships across borders.
12. Celebrated the Grand Opening of Our New Pedestrian Bridge
Located at the Provo Central Station at 610 S. Freedom Blvd., the bridge is a testament to our commitment to improving safety, air quality, and ensuring seamless access to the Wasatch Front regional transportation network. The inconvenience and danger posed by the frequent blockage due to freight trains at approximately 600 South and 100 West are now a thing of the past. We are proud to have completed this structure, a 145-foot-long safe passage that soars over two FrontRunner tracks and two Union Pacific Railroad lines. The inclusion of stairs with a “bike runnel” on both sides will allow you to wheel your bikes up and down the staircases easily.
15. Provo Advantage Campaign Going Two Years Strong
Having spent two years showcasing The Provo Advantage, we are thankful for you and the interest you’ve shown. 2023 was a year of impressive economic momentum for Provo City and the Provo Advantage is meant to be highlighting those successes right to your inbox. Stay tuned for more monthly content!
16. Launched Preserving Provo Initiative
Air quality was Provo residents' #1 environmental priority, according to a citywide survey in 2022 for the General Plan. Check out our monthly Preserving Provo newsletter to learn what Provo is doing to improve air quality, as well as ideas and resources for you to get involved.
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17. Covey Center Celebrated 15 Years
Congratulations to the Covey Center for the Arts on their 15th anniversary of showcasing family-friendly entertainment in our community. We celebrated with a Gala featuring The Osmond Chapman Orchestra, Utah Valley Symphony, Mindy Smoot Robbins, Dallyn Vail Bayles, Utah Metropolitan Ballet, BYU Cougarettes, Miss Provo, and a tribute to Paul Duerden. It's been a fantastic and magical 15 years. Your continued support makes Provo a better place.