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Davis Journal

Chamber given outlook on economic development and tourism

Nov 04, 2022 12:04PM ● By Becky Ginos

FARMINGTON—Davis County is the smallest county by land but the third largest in population. That’s how dense and built out it is. 

“We have a population of 362,000 which is expected to double by 2060,” said Community & Economic Development Director Kent Andersen at last week’s Davis Chamber of Commerce meeting. “There’s just not a lot of places to develop. I look at the current situation with my own kids. In 2040 it will switch. I want a place where my kids can live.”

Local realtors show the median income in Davis County is $85,000, he said. “But you need $90,000 to buy a home. Our median income does not match home prices. It’s a challenge to know how to continue to develop when we don’t have land.”

Thirty-five percent of the county’s population is under 19, said Andersen. “We used to raise crops, now we raise kids. We’ll have a larger age population in 2060 where now you have a 4,000 square foot home with six people in it, it may only be two people. South Davis has aged out – that affects the school district.”

The county oversees 15 cities and also manages the unincorporated areas, Andersen said. “Transportation is something we have a stronger role in. That doesn’t just include roads. We wish we had more trails. They’re packed, there's just not a lot of  trails.”

The Bonneville Shoreline Trail is being developed to add to the trail system, he said. “It will be a 55 mile non motorized trail from Salt Lake to the Weber River. It will be new and reconstructed with federal/private/public easements and 15 miles of trail from Mueller Park to Ensign Peak.”

Upcoming transportation projects include:

• Shepard Lane Interchange 

• 1800 N. Interchange 

• I-15 reconstruct – SLC to Farmington

• Davis/SL Community Connector

Legislative priorities:

• US-89/I-84 system to system interchange

• I-15 reconstruct – Farmington to Ogden

• WDC extension to Clinton

“We have to do some regional planning,” Andersen said. “We need to be strategic on how we use our resources.”

Davis County Tourism Director Jessica Merrill explained the other piece to put more money into the economy – tourism. 

“Most people think of tourism as fun,” she said. “But we also have to look at the practical side, why it exists and the power of tourism.”

Sales tax from tourism goes back into the community, she said. “Strong tourism subsidizes property tax. There’s about $1,600 a year savings per Utah household on property tax. That has an effect on your pocketbook.”

Davis County is fifth in total visitor spending, said Merrill. “Visitor economy is 4.25% for hotels, 1% for food and 4% transportation. It doesn’t come from the general fund, it comes from consumers and businesses.”

The hardest part is selling products we don’t own, she said. “Station Park is our number one driver for tourism.”

Merrill finished with this Discover Davis statement: “If you build a place people want to visit you build a place where people want to live. If you build a place where people want to live, you build a place where people want to work. If you build a place where people want to work, you’ll build a place where business has to be. If you build a place where business has to be, you’ll build a place where people have to visit.”λ