4 Ways We're Pioneering in Salt Lake County Regional Development
Posted By Regional Development
July 22, 2021
According to Days of '47, thousands of pioneers pulled handcarts or drove wagons with oxen or horses across the plains to a vast desert landscape, occupied by various Native American groups, that became known as the Utah Territory after they entered the valley on July 24, 1847.
"Coming together from many nations, they sought to create a new life. This trek of the early Utah pioneers exemplifies the courage, foresight and faith that continue to inspire modern-day pioneers."
To honor the spirit of foresight and innovation, we seek to work with all communities in Salt Lake County to facilitate modern-day pioneering in areas that will improve the quality of life for all residents.
4 Ways We're Pioneering Today in Salt Lake County
1. Plain Air
Air quality is among one of the top issues for all residents, and rightly so. We want air as clean as it was in 1847. To help improve it, multiple projects have launched or are in development to assess air pollution hot spots in Salt Lake County. For example, a new partnership with University of Utah, UTA, and DEQ will track air quality on electric bus routes to show residents and policymakers where air quality is poorest. This will allow us to strategically target resources; when built out, Salt Lake County can have the most detailed air quality monitoring map in the world.
2. Following the Trail ... of Economic Data
Early in the pandemic, Salt Lake County sought to have a better understanding of current economic conditions. Many indicators lag for months, which made it difficult to assess the current situation, which sectors were most impacted, and how they were bouncing back after initial closures.
Utilizing the skills of the Office of Data and Innovation, Salt Lake County created a public Economic Info Portal that takes data from places like the Utah State Tax Commission, and others, and presents them in a digestible way as soon as they are released. It's been able to visualize, for example, how accommodations is one of the few remaining sectors to recover to 2019 taxable sales numbers, as of May 2021.
3. Home, Home within a Range
Housing is one area that Utah must pioneer and innovate. With limited developable space along the Wasatch Front, Utah's housing market is in a crisis between limited supply, rising construction costs, and lack of attainable housing. As part of Salt Lake County's Regional Solutions series, 2021 will focus on Missing Middle Housing. Expert and architect Daniel Parolek will share and facilitate discussion on new and creative ways to generate more affordable and attainable housing in Utah. Interested in attending this fall? Stay tuned!
4. Pioneering Tax Increment Financing
Hold on to your Pioneer Day sparklers, you read correctly. Salt Lake County has spent much time in 2021 modernizing our approach to Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to better serve taxpayers and future developments.
TIF is a tool used for economic development by municipalities to stimulate private development for the betterment of the community in certain project areas that, but for the use of tax increment dollars, redevelopment would otherwise prove unlikely or difficult. As part of the ongoing process of improving Salt Lake County's TIF policy and becoming a better partner, a new webpage launched at slco.org/economic-development/TIF, where the TIF Area Project Database, future templates, and more detailed project application criteria can be found.