Facebook Twitter

EX-PROVO CIVIC LEADER PREDICTS BOOM FOR CITY

SHARE EX-PROVO CIVIC LEADER PREDICTS BOOM FOR CITY

Craig Call no longer lives in Provo, but he still considers himself one of the city's biggest fans.

"I'm bullish on Provo," Call said in a telephone interview.Call, who oversaw the Provo Town Square project and served four years in the Utah Legislature, left Provo a year and a half ago to go into business with his brother, Jay, in Boise. Jay is the founder of Flying J, a national fuel marketing company that has about 90 "truck plazas" spread from South Carolina to Oregon.

With financial backing from his brother, Craig Call has launched a chain of gas station/fast food/convenience stores in Idaho known as Flying J/Souper's Deli Stops. While Flying J caters to the cross-country trucking industry, Call's enterprise caters to local traffic. He has four Souper's stores - three in Boise and one in Lewiston - and is in the process of opening a fourth

Boise store. Business, Call says, is great.

And so was the move to Idaho. "The culture is more diverse in Boise, although it is the same size roughly as Provo," Call said. "And, Boise is really booming right now." The number of well-established big companies that have made a home in Boise has contributed to its progressive economic and cultural climate, Call said.

Provo appears to be on the edge of that same kind of development, Call said.

Although Call admits he no longer subscribes to Utah newspapers, he has kept tabs on the growth of the city.

The addition of big companies run by resident owners - Novell, Word Perfect, Geneva Steel - will have an immense effect on Utah County and on Provo, Call predicts.

"The most encouraging thing is the development of these companies that have an investment in the community. If they had been there 10 years ago, they could have given a dramatic boost to the development of downtown.

"Provo has a different future than it did 10 years ago," Call said.

Call, who worked to regenerate a life for Academy Square, applauds the "heroic" efforts that are continuing at the present to save the building. His experience with preservation of historic buildings in Provo has come in handy in Idaho; he has been appointed as a trustee of the Idaho Heritage Trust by the Idaho Centennial Commission.

As a trustee, Call will dispense funds donated to the commission to preserve Idaho's historic buildings and rural landscapes. At present, the trust is negotiating to acquire private land, including a historic cabin, along the Snake River, Call said.

As for politics, Call said, although "it was a 100 percent positive experience for me (in Provo), it is nice to be on the sidelines and take a deep breath." The political climate in Idaho is more confrontational than in Utah, Call said.

Call admits he misses political involvement, but has no immediate plans to enter the fray just yet. Right now the Idaho native is just enjoying being back home.