Water, traffic among concerns expressed at Tech Ridge Open House in St. George – St George News
ST. GEORGE – Isaac Barlow had just completed a presentation outlining an updated vision of the 20-year project to an audience of around 150 who had gathered in the gymnasium at Vasion’s headquarters when the questions started.
Barlow said he knew it was going to happen. He had spent three evenings last week knocking on community doors to involve more Tech Ridge neighbors in the conversation.
The questions, which concerned the impact on traffic and whether there would be enough water, didn’t seem to rattle Barlow, who is the CEO of busybusy, as well as the managing partner of Tech Ridge.
âWe’ve been thinking about these things from the start,â Barlow told St. George News.
Many members of the community have expressed concerns about the impact and traffic control, especially regarding Donlee Drive. A woman said she saw more than 17 cars lined up trying to get to South Tech Ridge Drive. She was also worried about the children playing in this street.
âCan we have speed bumps? The woman asked.
âIt’s up to town,â said Barlow, smiling. âBut we are working to alleviate that pressure. We have new roads under construction to access Tech Ridge from the southwest and southeast corners of the mesa.
Southwest, Cloud Drive is 60 to 90 days from completion. The Southeast Corridor has yet to be named – Barlow and his company are open to suggestions – but it should be finished in about two years, which, Barlow added, will be right when the larger buildings are expected to be. completed.
St. George City Councilor Vardell Curtis, who spent a year on the St. George Town Planning Commission, said the community’s concerns were legitimate.
âTraffic will be a challenge,â Curtis told St. George News, âespecially if we’re currently stranded on Tech Ridge Drive, before growth really kicks in.â
But, said Curtis, Barlow and his company seem well prepared for the challenge. Likewise, former St. George’s Mayor Dan McArthur has expressed concerns about how the resulting growth and traffic will affect the quality of life in St. George.
âWe have to take into account the concerns of longtime residents,â McArthur told St. George News. âThere are times when you feel like growth comes first. But we only have one chance to get it right.
At the open house, Barlow assured the audience that he and his team were aware of their concerns.
âWe have hired the best planners in the business,â Barlow told the audience in a calm and even voice. âThey are town planners who specialize in town planning, which is really about building pedestrian facilities. Places where people will want to work, play and live.
Barlow said this was the guiding principle of Tech Ridge’s main planned community. While the plan has grown significantly since its introduction in 2017, the potential rewards may be commensurate with the growth, Barlow said.
In 2017, Barlow and the company predicted that the development of Tech Ridge would create 3,807 jobs, requiring 873 multi-family units and 196 single-family homes. Now the group says it expects to create 4,876 jobs, which requires 2,200 multi-family units and 200 single-family homes. The community will also feature storefronts, hotels and recreation areas.
This infrastructure is intended to support the growth in the value of jobs, which Barlow and the company plan to grow from $ 216 million in 2017 to $ 393 million in 2021.
Currently, four tech companies have signed up to work on Tech Ridge. They include Vasion, Zonos, busybusy, and Intergalactic. Each company recruits and seeks to develop.
For example, Vasion currently has 211 employees and is expected to have 366 by 2023. Zonos has 95 employees and expects to have 227 by 2023, which, again, begs the question of whether it there is enough water to go around.
Barlow said at the open house that the majority of Tech Ridge’s housing will be multi-family units, which use half of the water used by single-family residences. The 2,200 multi-family homes will use the same amount of water as 1,100 single-family homes in the region.
âWe have been, and will continue to be, very careful about our use of water,â said Barlow. âWith our housing plan, we are tackling water use as well as traffic issues.
That is, by having the majority of Tech Ridge employees living on Tech Ridge, the project seeks to alleviate the rush of traffic that begins and ends every day, Barlow said.
âWe invited people to the open house in the spirit of transparency,â said Barlow. âThis kind of project has never been done here before, so naturally residents will have a lot of questions and concerns.
“I’m glad we got to talk about these things,” he continued. âWe want people to know that we are working on these challenges. The concerns of citizens are our concerns.
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