The current City Council has set Lehi on a course that no one could have envisioned a year ago.
The landing of one of the state's largest economic development projects ever has awakened the once sleepy pioneer town. Micron Technology's $2.5 billion semiconductor plant will change the character and atmosphere in the city for generations.Once content to be just another small town south of Salt Lake City, Lehi now finds itself the center of statewide attention. In addition to the estimated 3,500 jobs Micron will bring, a new tourist attraction will pull in visitors nationwide. Thanksgiving Point in northwest Lehi will feature a hotel, restaurants, a golf course and acres of gardens and flowers.
Three of the five council members who helped set those and other projects in motion are walking away from it all. Five people who haven't previously held public office and one who was a council member 20 years ago are vying for those three spots on the council. The winners of the Nov. 7 election will inherit the responsibility of shaping Lehi in the wake of unprecedented change and growth.
First-term council members Knollin Haws and Carma Johnson enjoyed serving the city, but the hectic pace took its toll on them and their families. They'd like to spend more time with personal and family concerns.
Johnson, who was appointed for fill two years remaining on a previous council member's term, didn't look forward to campaigning. "I like to serve my community, but I'm not the type to plaster my name all over town and try to sell myself," she said.
The six that are running don't have that problem. Citizens Party candidates Robert Fox, Rod C. Olsen and Blaine G. Thomas, and Progressive Party candidates Frances M. Comer, Robert D. Park are Richard W. Smith are all out on the campaign trail.
Councilman Wayne Carlton, who served 10 years, said he's ready to move on.
"I think it's time for some new ideas to come to the city," he said.Those who replace Carlton, Johnson and Haws will have to come up with plans for dealing with unprecedented residential and commercial growth, transportation and Micron.
Here's a brief look at each candidate:
Frances M. Comer
Address: 260 S. 100 West
Occupation: Retired educator
Why are you running? "Over the past years, I have seen a need for strong female voice on the council," she said.
On Micron Technology: Comer said she believes that Lehi has done an admirable job in putting together a financial package for Micron. "It is incumbent on the council to continue to follow Micron's activities very closely to make sure Lehi receives what has been promised," she said.
Planning for residential and commercial growth: Comer said it's possible to put some restrictions on building that will help manage growth and allow infrastructure to catch up.
What the city needs: The city must step in to resolve some of its road problems if the Utah Department of Transportation is unwilling, she said. Comer also favors a recreation center or other city-sponsored events for young people.
Address: 3650 N. Frontage Road
Why are you running? "As the saying goes, `It's time to put up or shut up,' " Fox said. "We are at a crossroad. Many decisions must be made. I want the voice of the people to be included in those decisions."
On Micron Technology: Fox, 49, said he believes the City Council has taken the proper measures.
Planning for residential and commercial growth: Fox favors a complete review of city ordinances to be certain they are within the law. He also wants the council to do a master plan that includes an economic development package. Fox also wants to review studies done on transportation, sewer, water, power and housing density.
What the city needs: "We have a great need for more public parks in our city and specifically a recreation center for youths. I would favor expansion of the (city) pool to accomplish this," he said.
Rod C. Olsen
Address: 584 W. 2200 North
Occupation: Lineman program coordinator, Utah Valley State College
Why are you running? "I just think it's time for a change," said Olsen, 33, a former Lehi City power department worker.
On Micron Technology: Olsen said he supports the economic development package. "I think it's good for Lehi," he said. The city needs to ensure both parties honor the commitments made.
Planning for residential and commercial growth: "I think we need to address it through planning, but I do not think moratoriums are the answer," he said. Olsen suggests the city get additional professional engineering and planning assistance.
What the city needs: The city needs parks outside the old part of town, he said. The city's west side needs sewer services to avoid having to pump uphill to American Fork. Olsen said council members must listen to recommendations made by city-appointed committees.
Robert D. Park
Address: 1066 N. 790 East
Occupation: production control, EG&G Defense Materials
Why are you running? "The best answer I can give is that Lehi City has provided me a wonderful place to raise a family," Park said. He said he wants to repay the city and guide it for his grandchildren to enjoy.
On Micron Technology: Although Park doesn't generally favor redevelopment agencies, he said doesn't mind the arrangement between Micron and Lehi because the company will pay for infrastructure up front.
Planning for residential and commercial growth: Park, 55, said the city must strike a balance between the two. The water system must be upgraded. Business areas must be must be planned out in advance. City streets must be improved and maintained, he said.
What the city needs: "As Lehi continues to grow, emphasis needs to be put on establishing open areas and playgrounds that are clean and have safe equipment for our children," he said.
Richard W. Smith
Address: 119 S. 200 West
Occupation: Retired military
Why are you running? "I see the need to help make Lehi become a city to be proud of by having a City Council that works with its citizens."
On Micron Technology: Smith, a local officer in Ross Perot's United We Stand, America, was an outspoken critic of the economic development plan Lehi set up for Micron. "Micron has made no commitment to Lehi. Lehi made a giant commitment to Micron," he said.
Planning for residential and commercial growth: Smith, 66, said he supports the initiative for a 3 percent growth limit per year.
What the city needs: Smith "We need to get our master plan completed. I'll work hard on this with our citizens and the planning and zoning committee," he said. Smith also mentioned common sense. "I hope to implement a little good old common sense into the problems we now face in Lehi."
Blaine G. Thomas
Address: 10 E. 300 South
Occupation: Insurance sales, Zion's Insurance Agency
Why are you running? Thomas, a councilman from 1972 to 1976, said he has a a list of things he'd like the city to get done including upgrading roads, starting a recreation program and expanding the public safety department.
On Micron Technology: There's lots of pros and cons about it, but the economic development package is not a bad deal for Lehi, Thomas, 61, said. It can be a good marriage, he said.
Planning for residential and commercial growth: "My philosophy on that is plan ahead not from behind," he said. The city should set parameters for adequate roads and open spaces and hold developers to them, he said.
What the city needs: The must establish a recreation program because it can no longer depend on schools and churches for youth activities, he said. Lehi must plan for orderly business growth to broaden its tax base, he said.