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West Valley mayor addresses State of the City in annual speech

Thursday, February 21, 2013593 views

West Valley City is the place for job opportunity, growth, diversity and economic development.

So said the mayor in the annual State of the City Address, given this year at City Hall on Feb. 6. During the public meeting, Winder gave a speech that outlined recent accomplishments and goals for the coming year.

Winder said anyone seeking opportunity would do well to “go West” as the pioneers did, or head to West Valley City.

“As pioneers arrived to a quickly filling up [Salt Lake] valley, they chose to continue on west, over Jordan, to homestead their farms and till the rich earth. As immigrants showed up to a valley already well established, they once again looked to the west for their land of opportunity, here among the diversity and affordability of our community. And as businesses, entrepreneurs and young professionals today look for their land of opportunity, they are coming into the west in record numbers to this city, prospering in the shadows of the Oquirrh Mountains,” he said.

Winder cited the strengths of the city in opportunities for economic development, diversity, affordability and the hard work of city officials and a dedicated local community.

He cited statistics that show the community is growing due to a number of important businesses making the city their home, bringing jobs and an increased tax base.

Winder said the city issued more than 400 building permits for over $115 million of new construction projects in both the residential and commercial sectors.

“Business is booming and we are becoming well known as the most aggressive economic development department in the state… We have seen more jobs created in our city this past year than in any of the past three years, bringing our three-year total to over 5,000 new jobs,” he said.

Winder also spoke of the importance of good neighborhoods and local diversity as a strength of the local community.

“Part of why people love West Valley City is that they feel welcome here,” he said.

The opening of the Chinese Friendship Gate at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center last year and the recent Martin Luther King Day interfaith event were both recognized as examples of city efforts to honor and include people of all ethnicities and faiths.

Winder said crime statistics were in line with a city the size of West Valley and pledged an increased presence for police officers in the coming year to change any negative perceptions about the west side of the Salt Lake Valley.

“People often worry that the west is more wild than it is,” he said. “People who wonder why a West Valley City crime story appears on the news more often than one about their town forget how big we are. West Valley City, with 132,000 people, has as many residents as Saratoga Springs, Centerville, Highland, Farmington, Herriman, Brigham City and Holladay combined. We are Utah’s second-largest city and cover over 35 square miles,” he said.

In the coming year, Winder said city officials would take on the task of increasing community involvement in city government.

He pledged an increase in opportunities for residents to work for the city, participate on city boards and volunteer in neighborhood associations. Winder set a goal to have 132 more residents involved by the end of the year.

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