Prompted by a grant from the Economic Development Corporation of Utah, Pleasant Grove held its first economic summit Friday, hoping to bring economic development players together in one room.
Historically, Pleasant Grove has been a bit behind on development — sometimes deliberately by design from previous city leadership and key players. But times have changed, and current Pleasant Grove leaders are now making huge efforts to ride the current development wave that Utah County as a whole is surfing.
True to organizers’ vision, Friday’s summit, which was held in doTerra’s Pleasant Grove headquarters, included Gov. Gary Herbert, key players from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, private business leaders, local government officials and economic development experts. Jeff Edwards, CEO of EDCUTah, said the gathering was vital in future successful economic development.
“The most important thing for economic development is for people to work together,” he said.
Mayor Mike Daniels started the conference with a call to action, encouraging all assembled to see the potential that is within the city. Referring to major developments in Lehi and southward in the Orem/Provo area, he said, “Pleasant Grove is physically located in an area that needs growth other than what they have there and there.”
“Pleasant Grove still has one of the most pristine, developable interchanges in Utah County,” he said. “We must have the faith and vision and foresight to see that the empty land we sit on is going to become the next mecca for somebody.”
Daniel Thomas is the regional partner of St. John Properties, which is investing in the 65-acre Valley Grove development just off the Pleasant Grove Boulevard freeway interchange. He said St. John was interested in the area, and has already infused $35 million in cash into the project. This was because companies like doTerra chose to pave the way, and as Daniels pointed out, the area was prime for development.
Large-scale developments like Valley Grove hope to be the “front door of Pleasant Grove,” as people enter the city from the freeway. Daniels said the west side of the interchange will also open up in the future, as the city has worked with the sewer district to mitigate the odor — a previous barrier to development.
“Pleasant Grove’s timing is now. In 10 to 20 years, we will look back on these months, and we will reference these months as the ones that transformed Pleasant Grove. The next 12 to 24 months will be jaw droppers,” said Brandon Fugal of CBC Advisors.
He credits the city’s potential with the cooperation between the private and public sector.
“This is a historic moment for Pleasant Grove to have an economic summit here,” Fugal said, lauding the development occurring, and that which he knows — but can’t reveal yet — is on the horizon for the city. “The future is bright for Pleasant Grove. This city is evolving and what we are seeing is only a prelude. Pleasant Grove is open for business.”