Tooele UT still has a lot to offer, or, “It’s easier to make lemonade when you have quality lemons”….
I was a “newbie” in Tooele County back in the early ’90s, when the death
sentence was pronounced. Tooele County was losing it’s largest and most important employer. With the closure of the Tooele Army Depot, Tooele was
“dead”. The loss of the jobs meant that there was no real reason for anyone to
stay here, much less move in.
I’ve been reminded of the bad old days quite a bit over the last several
years, as the chemical weapons stockpile gets close to being eliminated, thanks
to the hard work of all the good folks that have worked at “south area” for
EG&G, the US Army, and others. A recent article in the Salt Lake Tribune
touched a bit on this latest death sentence. However, to paraphrase Mark Twain,
the reports of the death of Tooele County are greatly exaggerated!
Yes, like back in the ’90s, the loss of one of our largest employers is a
tough one to take, especially in these hard economic times. However, as was
touched on in the article, Tooele City, Grantsville and Stansbury Park in Tooele County are
working hard to mitigate the damage done. Tooele City especially has been very
aggressive in their economic development program. All these entities have been
busily telling the world that there’s a reason that residential growth in this
County actually exploded in the late ’90s. Many of these reasons are the same
ones that will attract commercial growth to Tooele, along with some good paying
jobs to replace those we’re in the midst of losing.
So, what makes Tooele so attractive to commercial and industrial companies?
Proximity to a major economic and transportation hub? Got it, 30 minutes to Salt
Lake City, with it’s major airport and lots of rails, some of which come right
through our back yard. A major trucking artery with I-80. There’s a reason
Wal-Mart set up a major distribution center in Grantsville a few years ago!
How about property at a reasonable price? Again, our prices are much lower
than most along the Wasatch Front, which is one reason we get so many folks
moving out here. Large tracts of land abound, all close to what passes as
“major” population centers out here. A willingness to allow responsible
How about a workforce? that’s an easy one. With better than half our folks
commuting to the big city, there are plenty of folks that will be willing to
stay local, even if the commute is a short one. In addition, the local
commitment to a well educated workforce is evident when you consider the new
“education corridor” that started with the new Community learning Center, the
ever expanding presence of Utah State University, and the addition of the new
Tooele Applied Technology College building slated to break ground this
Finally, the commitment of the Cities and County to economic development
means they are working hard to get in front of the folks that matter, wherever
they are. They are working closely with the Governor’s Office of Economic
Development to get our message out to the world. Tooele City has a gem for an
Economic Development Director in Randy Sant, and the County has Nicole Cline,
the official mentioned in the article. We have plenty of folks singing from the
same sheet of music.
So, are we watching the demise of a whole County? I think not. All signs
point to this simply being another stage in the continued growth of a vibrant,
dynamic County, with all of the potential in the world. As Ms. Cline mentioned
in the article, “we’re making lemonade”. Sure helps when you have some great
lemons! Or for some plain talk, Tooele UT still has a lot to offer.