As you motor into Ivins, you pass a sign that declares the town to be "Home of the Red Mountain."
This tiny bedroom community a few miles east of St. George is also home of the blue fire engine. Ivins bought its first new fire engine recently, after years of owning a used one. Because the fire chief (who is also the mayor) loves blue, and the town loves its fire chief/mayor, the city ordered a mammoth, royal blue fire engine.The employees at the factory where the truck was manufactured were so disconcerted by the color request that they called Ivins to make sure they had read the order correctly.
Mayor Chris Blake also had the name "Terminator" painted on the turbo-charged truck. "I stole it off a calendar of firetrucks," he said.
Colorful touches like the blue truck, coupled with the ease that comes when everyone knows everyone else's genealogy, makes Ivins a charming town.
So charming that apparently everyone wants to move there. Ivins was the fastest-growing Utah city during the 1980s. The town's population swelled 143 percent between 1980 and 1988.
Of course, if a town is small enough, the arrival of one family or the birth of triplets can create that kind of growth.
But Ivins isn't that small. The city really did grow a lot in the '80s. About 600 people called Ivins home in 1980, according to the U.S. Census. Eight years later, the estimated population was 1,460. And still growing.
"We're looking at right around 1,700 now," said Ivins town clerk, Jane Churchfield. "And people are proud of it, too."
The town has nine subdivisions. Eight were built in the `80s. "I would bet there isn't a house in town built before 1940," Blake said.
Subdivisions and trailer courts pretty much sum up the essence of Ivins. "We're a bedroom community. There's not much to do out here," Blake said. The town sports a plant nursery, a small convenience store and the National Fitness Institute - which employs 20 Ivins residents.
If there are no jobs, why go there? "It's warm and pretty," said Churchfield, herself one of the `80s move-ins. "I love the scenery and people."
While much of Washington County's growth is attributed to retirees, that isn't the case in Ivins. Most of the move-ins are young families, Blake said. He's doing his part. The mayor, 34, and his wife just had their seventh child. "I can't let the population dwindle," he joked.