From orchards to Philadelphia

  Utahns who live in the booming Salt Lake City area need to manage growth now, says Baseline Scenario, a study by the nonprofit Utah Quality Growth Partnership. The partnership is a coalition of government, civic and business leaders concerned about urban sprawl in a 10-county area, including Salt Lake City. In the 1960s and "70s, when jobs were hard to find, many young people left the state to find work, says Stephen Holbrook, director of another nonprofit, the Coalition for Utah's Future, which sponsors the partnership. Now there are plenty of jobs and plenty of problems, too. "It's one of those two-edged swords," Holbrook says. "Jobs drive growth." While there are 1.6 million people in the area today, there will be 5 million by 2050, according to the report. That means half the valley's tillable farmland will be paved or developed, and commuting times and distances will double. "When you're used to growing up with towns scattered with orchards, and your city is on the way to (becoming) another Philadelphia, it's time to think about planning," Holbrook says.


Baseline Scenario is $10 and may be purchased from the Utah Governor's Office of Planning and Budget, 801/538-1619, or write 116 State Capitol, P.O. Box 140611, Salt Lake City, UT 84114-0611 (www.qget.state.ut.us).


* Jason Lenderman