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IRON COUNTY STRATEGIC Economic Development Plan

Prepared by:



In 1923 the President of the Union Pacific Railroad Company said of our residents, “I find a people who are conquerors of their enivronment; a people who have risen above failure to success, who have learned to work together, and who have dreamed a dream and labored to see its fulfillment through their children.�

TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction Mission / Economic Development Team Industry Clusters Manufacturing Renewable Energy Small Business Development Tourism Ongoing Challenges Vision Iron County Incentives Goals

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Iron County Strategic Plan 2018

IRON COUNTY UTAH HEALTHY NUMBERS The current economic state of Iron County is mostly positive. The Utah Department of Workforce Services reports that our year-to-year change in nonfarm jobs has increased steadily since the end of the recession in mid-2009. We experienced a surge in job growth beginning in 2016 that has slowed somewhat, but has continued in 2017. The Utah Department of Workforce Services reports that Iron County added more than 870 jobs between March 2016 and March 2017 for a gain of 5.1 percent. More recent numbers show a steady increase of 333 jobs since the first of the year. Currently, the unemployment rate has dipped below 4 to 3.9%. which is below the current National unemployment rate of 4.1% and closer to Utah’s 3.3%. Utah DWS also reports that first-time claims for unemployment insurance show no signs of labor force distress.

RETAIL & TAXABLE SALES Iron County’s gross taxable sales grew by a healthy 5% year-over-year increase for the first quarter of 2017. A few large retailers that have struggled nationwide have closed or are closing locations in Iron County, including Sports Authority, Rue 21 and Sears. However, new retail stores have also been opening in Iron County, including Sportsman’s Warehouse, TJ Maxx, Ross Dress For Less, Boulevard Home Furnishings, Deseret Industries, Hibbett Sports and a new Harbor Freight Tool store. Locally-owned Lin’s Marketplace added an additional 10,000 square feet to their Cedar City location and the store underwent a major redesign in the past year. Vacancy rates of retail properties have dropped to just 5% as of June 2017.

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Iron County Strategic Plan 2018

CONSTRUCTION PERMITS Dwelling unit permits in Iron County have climbed dramatically and steadily from only 94 in 2012 to 338 in 2016. Construction permitting for 2017 is keeping pace with strong figures for the same time period in 2016. Nonresidential building permits have slipped only slightly despite an extraordinarily strong performance during the same period in 2016.





Iron County has backed off the blistering job


growth pace of 2016. However, employment

In Iron County, construction, manufacturing,

expansion remains strong and currently

private healthcare and social services and leisure

clocks in at a more sustainable level.�

and hospitality services added the most new

Lecia Langtston, Utah DWS Economist

jobs, with only professional and business services experiencing a signicant loss of jobs.

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CEDAR CITY - IRON COUNTY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OUR MISSION Provide rich business resources for retention, expansion, and recruitment while focusing on our unique community strengths, assets and environment.

OUR PRINCIPLES FOSTER COLLABORATION Fostering cooperation, communication and coordination of city, county and community leaders. Danny Stewart Economic Development Director


Cedar City Corporation

Recruit quality businesses that provide

10 N Main Street, Cedar City, UT 84720

higher wages and beneftis to their

Mobile: 435.592.01111


Office: 435.865.5115

IMPROVE INFRASTRUCTURE Improve and maintain a healthy

< Brad Abrams

infrastructure to encourage vital

Economic Development Coordinator

economic growth.

Cedar City Corporation 10 N Main Street, Cedar City, UT 84720


Mobile: 435.327.1337

Explore opportunities to raise awareness

Office: 435.586.2770

of Cedar City and Iron County through

the arts, recreation, events, film and culture.


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Iron County Strategic Plan 2018

CEDAR CITY - IRON COUNTY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE The Cedar City / Iron County Economic Development Committee is empowered to advise and make recommendations to the Cedar City Mayor, the Cedar City Council, and the Board of Iron County Commissioners related to new and existing strategies for economic development within the City and County and to support projects that foster, promote, and enhance local economic development efforts.

MIKE BLEAK Iron County Commissioner

MAILE WILSON Cedar City Mayor

TERRY HARTLEY Cedar City Council

CRAIG E. ISOM Director of the SUU Business Resource Center

SPENCER JONES Central Iron County Water Conservancy District

STEPHAN ALLEN President of the Iron County School Board

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Looking ahead, the greatest opportunities for economic growth in Iron County lie mainly in four industry clusters, which will guide this strategic overview.



Light Industrial & Distribution

Utility-Scale Solar

Attracting new manufacturing

With rapid expansion and

and distribution to Iron County

new opportunities on the

is a critical part of our overall

horizon, solar energy has

economic strategy. Plastics and

emerged as an important

aerospace manufacturing have

part of Iron Countyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

thrived here and are a natural fit

economic future.

for Iron County.



Tech & Entrepreneurship

Recreation, Events & Film

As the knowledge economy

Our proximity to National

continues to develop,

Parks, Monuments, and

entrepeneurs and freelancers

Forests, as well as numerous

are seeking practical resources,

state-managed parks and

collaborative spaces and

recreation areas, makes our

sincere support.

area ideal for the tourism industry.

Since the iron mine closure, Industrial and Manufacturing recruitment has remained a top priority and continues to bring good jobs to our area.

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LIGHT-INDUSTRIAL MANUFACTURING A TOP PRIORITY Recruiting manufacturing and industrial

of the top counties in the state to one of the

companies to Iron County has been one of the

lowest, creating an opportunity for the

top priorities of the Cedar City – Iron County

manufacturing industry to fill the gap. Since its

Office of Economic Development since its

genesis, the Iron County manfacturing

formation in 1988. For decades, one of the

community has steadily grown into the

county’s top employers was at the Iron Mine in

Southwest Region’s main manufacturing hub,

Central Iron County, where high-paying jobs were

with A-list companies such as Genpak, American

plentiful. In the early 1980s, mining operations

Pacific Corp, Metalcraft Technologies and GAF.

ceased and almost overnight Iron County’s average monthly income plummeted from one

Fall 2017 Beaver, Garfield, Iron, Kane and Washington Counties

Manufacturing Employment and Wages LARGEST EMPLOYERS 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21.

Genpak RAM Manufacturing Viracon Wilson Electronics American Pacific Corp Metalcraft Technologies Litehouse Deseret Laboratories Smead Manufacturing Stampin’ Up Bway Corporation St. George Truss Company Western Quality Foods Sunroc Building Materials Reid Ashman Manufacturing Newera Manufacturing Riverwoods Mill Express Group Holdings Timberline Cabinet Doors Innovative Yacht Builders Atkore Plastic Pipe Corp

Industry Name (Code) Manufacturing (31)

2016 Employment

2016 Avg. Monthly Wage

Dec. 2015 to Dec. 2016 % Change in Employment




Food Manufacturing (311)




Beverage and Tobacco Product Manufacturing (312)



-4.8% 10.7%

Textile Mills (313)



Wood Product Manufacturing (321)




Printing and Related Support Activities (323)




Chemical Manufacturing (325)




Plastics and Rubber Products Manufacturing (326)




Nonmetallic Mineral Product Manufacturing (327)



6.4% -10.5%

Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing (332)



Machinery Manufacturing (333)




Computer and Electronic Product Manufacturing (334)




Transportation Equipment Manufacturing (336)




Furniture and Related Product Manufacturing (337)







86,357 5.8%

$2,749 119.3%


Miscellaneous Manufacturing (339) Total Area Nonfarm Payroll Jobs Manufacturing (31) as a % of Total

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Iron County Strategic Plan 2018

MANUFACTURING MEANS JOBS The Cedar City – Iron County Office of Economic

to attract GAF Roofing and Mueller Industries to

Development works closely with the Governor’s

Iron County, and to retain and expand Décorworx,

Office of Economic Development, the

in Cedar City. State and local incentives were also

Economic Development Corporation of Utah, and

created to ensure that MSC Aerospace’s

other statewide partners to promote these

SyberJet operations will remain in Cedar City,

properties for new businesses. We have

bringing hundreds of new jobs in the near future.

successfully partnered with GOED and EDCUtah

164+ JOBS

Twenty years ago, Decorworx started as a small sign and banner shop in a rented space on Cedar City’s Main Street. Jeff Dansie, the company’s founder, found a niche in retail interior design and became a preferred vendor for independent supermarket cooperatives across the country and internationally. Now, Décorworx has revitalized a historic building in the heart of Cedar City’s historic downtown and will be creating 164 new jobs over the next several years.

100+ JOBS

Mueller Industries, the global copper-tubing manufacturer has recently renovated the former

30+ JOBS

Cerro Copper building and has created over 70 new jobs in 2017.

Charlotte Pipe’s Cedar City facility manufactures PVC pipe and distributes to the western United States. The company just completed construction of a 150,000-square foot addition with plans to add 30 new jobs this year.

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MANUFACTURING HISTORY Avg. % of Utah Number of Payrolls % of Total % of Total Year Employment Monthly Avg. Monthly Establishments (Millions) Area Jobs Area Payroll Wage Wage 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016

152+ JOBS

4,081 3,754 3,920 4,068 4,134 4,394 4,826 5,022

$2,932 $2,952 $3,014 $3,082 $3,121 $3,225 $3,212 $3,279

92.5% 91.3% 91.2% 91.0% 91.2% 91.8% 88.7% 88.5%

275 257 255 266 269 283 300 308

$143.6 $133.0 $141.8 $150.4 $154.8 $170.1 $186.0 $197.6

5.8% 5.5% 5.7% 5.7% 5.6% 5.6% 5.9% 5.8%

7.1% 6.8% 7.0% 7.1% 6.9% 7.1% 7.2% 6.9%

Food service industry leader Genpak manufactures and distributes foam and plastic food containers in 18 locations across the country. Cedar City has been home to Genpak for 20 years. In that time, the company has expanded five times and is southwest Utahâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest manufacturer. Recently, Genpak purchased a vacant building located adjacent to their Cedar City plant and have added 72 new jobs and plan to add 80 new jobs over the next 24 months.

1000+ JOBS

Metalcraft Technologies, Inc. has built and distributed metal aircraft components for more than 30 years in Cedar City. The company recently purchased SyberJet out of San Antonio, Texas, and has moved the bulk of their assembly operations to Cedar City. The SyberJet SJ30 is the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fastest business-class jet. MTI and SyberJet are subsidiaries of MSC Aerospace. Last summer, SyberJet flew its first SJ30 aircraft completed in the Cedar City plant. Plans for this company include the creation of 1000 new high-paying aerospace jobs over the next several years.

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Iron County Strategic Plan 2018

BUSINESS EXPANSION & RETENTION In addition to recruitment of new industrial and manufacturing companies, the Cedar City – Iron County Office of Economic Development is working closely with GOED and the Southern Utah University Business Resource Center to improve local Business Expansion and Retention (BEAR) efforts in the County. In the past few years, we have helped several small companies in Iron County to qualify for Rural Fast Track Grants and that will add new jobs to our economy. We have numerous small- to mid-sized manufacturers that expect to grow in the next few years and we are working to become more familiar with each of these companies and their needs; helping them to identify the challenges they need to overcome in order to grow.

BUILD-TO-SUIT PROPERTY Industrial and manufacturing jobs are key to Iron County’s continued success and we are still working to attract new manufacturing companies here. We currently do not have any large-scale office and/ or warehouse spaces that would accommodate prospective companies, but we do have thousands of acres of land in the county with rail access and industrial-scale utilities already in place.

PORT-15 UTAH A local developer has partnered with the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) to develop more than 740 acres in western Cedar City as “Port-15 Utah.” Charlotte Pipe, a PVC pipe manufacturer and distributer from North Carolina, has a production plant in Port-15 Utah, and there are still more than 500 acres available in this shovel-ready business park.

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Iron County Strategic Plan 2018

SOLAR GROWTH RENEWABLE ENERGY UTAHâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S SOLAR CAPITAL Iron County is ideally situated geographically for

more than 700 megawatts of renewable energy

solar energy development. In the past several

and more than a billion dollars has been invested

years, more than 12 utility-scale solar energy

in the construction of these projects. At the peak

power plants have been built in Iron County,

of construction in 2015 and 2016, more than a

making our county the leader in solar energy

thousand laborers were employed by solar

production in Utah, with 17 projects in Iron

companies in Iron County. Today, about 20

County comprising of more than 7,000 acres of

full-time positions exist because of these projects.

land. Together, these projects are generating


In Jan 2015, Scatec Solar broke ground on 700 acre utility-scale solar project called the Red Hills Renewables Park. This 80 MW project has brought in $140 million in capital investment and an estimated $5.3 million in tax revenue over the next 20 years.

APPALOOSA SOLAR 1 Onyx Renewable Energy

This 200 MW utility-scale solar project, northeast of the Three Peaks substation, is set to begin construction in 2-3 years with a projected $204 million in capital investment, generating an estimated $1.4 million in tax revenue over the next 20 years.

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Iron County Strategic Plan 2018

The success of utility-scale solar here is largely due

permitting, planning and creating project

to Iron Countyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s abundant solar resources and our

incentives. Our current infrastructure of

willingness to recruit these projects. Iron County is

electrical substations is approaching capacity for

the first county in the state to create local

solar projects, but as solar companies continue

property tax incentives to assist with the creation

to find opportunities to be successful here, Iron

of solar projects, and the county works very well

County will continue to foster renewable energy

with these companies from start to finish, with


IRON COUNTY SOLAR PROJECTS 1. Utah Red Hills Renewable Park

80 MW

2 Buckhorn Solar

3 MW

3. Cedar Valley Solar

3 MW

4. Beryl Solar

3 MW

5. Enterprise Solar

80 MW

6. Sun Edison 1 - Fiddlers 7. Sun Edison 1 - Quichapa

9 MW

9 MW

9. Granite Mountain West

50 MW

10 Granite Mountain East

80 MW

11. Iron Springs Solar

80 MW

12. Three Peaks Solar

120 MW

13. Appaloosa Solar 1

200 MW




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SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT THE ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT For more than a decade, small technology-based

in Iron County. Companies such as Construction

and entrepreneurial-run businesses have sprung

Monitor, WebMD, Casino Game Maker, Staheli

up in Iron County as in many other parts of the

West, and many others that are thriving

state. Because we are home to Southern Utah

nationwide and globally.

University and Southwest Technical College, and

Although our workforce and current broadband

because we have good broadband internet

infrastructure are good, we could improve

access, Cedar City and Iron County are well

accessibility to affordable broadband for small

situated to continue to foster these kinds of

businesses and startups. In addition, we can

businesses and to recruit more of them into our

spotlight Iron County’s potential as a tech


industry hub with a university presence, skilled workforce and innovative professional network.

TECH UP SOUTHERN UTAH Tech-Up Southern Utah an educational support group that has developed organically in Cedar City, has been meeting regularly for nearly a decade. This group provides an opportunity for entrepreneurs to network and tap into local


talent. From this incubator-like group of

The SUU Business Resource Center continues to

professionals, a sub-committee called “Tech2”

be a major asset for Iron County’s small business

has formed and is actively working to market Iron

development and helps grow our local econo-

County as a great alternative for companies

my. This center offers valuable tools and training

looking to offer their employees a better quality

to our local small business community and they

of life. With affordable housing, air pollution and

have helped numerous small businesses to thrive

long commutes, many tech companies are

in Iron County. Each month, they bring together

starting to consider rural remote workers as a

community partners to continue to improve small

viable option.

business development in the county. The SUU

Tech2 is also working to organize the current

BRC is key in Iron County’s strategy to assist local

entrepreneurial ecosystem, with a website that

entrepreneurs to create and grow business here;

will spotlight the tech collective and the many

however, critical funding is necessary for this

activities and startups that are finding success

program to continue to assist businesses.

Staheli Westâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s DewPoint Steamer was invented by Cedar City resident, David Staheli, and has revolutionized the agricultural industry with a steaming method that provides the necessary moisture for hay, allowing farmers to harvest without waiting for natureâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s dew.

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destination in Iron County and a reason for visitors

Tourism has long been a part of Iron County’s

here to extend their stay. New OHV trails in Iron

economy and today it continues to play a

County and a new mountain biking trail system in

significant role. Iron County has been a tourist

Cedar City appeals to an even greater audience of

destination for more than a century.

recreation enthusiasts, and Cedar Breaks National

Our proximity to National Parks, Monuments, and

Monument’s Dark Sky designation is attracting

Forests, as well as numerous state-managed

even more tourists to the area. The Church of

parks and recreation areas, makes our area ideal

Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ temple in Cedar

for the tourism industry.

City will serve a broad regional area of southern Utah and Nevada residents who will travel to Iron


County regularly and we anticipate this will

Last year, more than $8 billion in tourism

increase visitation in the area. The community

dollars was spent in the state of Utah. Iron County

had nearly a 170,000 visit the community this fall

took in a significant amount, as visitation was up

for the temple open house.

at each of our major tourism venues, including Cedar Breaks National Monument, Brian Head Ski


Resort, Kolob Canyons, Frontier Homestead State

The Cedar City – Brian Head Tourism Bureau is

Park, and the Utah Shakespeare Festival.

recognized as one of the state’s finest tourism

Tourism visitation in 2016 was the best year ever

organizations. Maria Twitchell and her staff work

in Iron County. Our lodging occupancy averaged

closely with neighboring counties and with the

61% compared to the state’s average of 60% last

Utah Office of Tourism. Through marketing

year, and tourism-related tax revenues increased

strategies, the bureau’s mission is to attract more

by about 25% from 2015 to 2016. The Brian Head

overnight visitors to Iron County, to extend their

Fire in 2017 impacted tourism during June and

stays and to encourage repeat visits for the

July (two of our top months). But the ski area was

economic prosperity of the county. The Office of

undamaged and we anticipate a strong winter

Economic Development works closely with the

recreation center for the 2017-2018 season.

Tourism Bureau to promote Iron County.

The recent completion of the Beverly Center for

Similarly, we are currently working jointly with the

the Arts, which is now home to the Utah

Utah Film Commission to establish a local film

Shakespeare Festival and the Southern Utah

commission in our region to attract even more

Museum of Art, gives visitors to the area a new

tourist-related investment.

In 2016, leisure and hospitality sales in Iron County jumped 12% from $87.9 million to $98.4 million.

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The positive news in Iron County does not negate ongoing challenges that we face economically. At the top of the list is the average monthly wage discrepancy between Iron County and the rest of the state. At the beginning of 2010, Iron County’s average monthly wage was 71% of the state’s monthly average. Back then, the average Utahn made $3,173 per month compared to Iron County’s $2,259. In the first quarter of 2017, Iron County’s monthly average slipped to 69% of the state’s average wage. Iron County’s average is now $2,616 compared to the state’s $3,762. While the state’s average wage increased by $589 per month in the past seven years, the average wage in Iron County increased by just $231.



Another serious issue in Iron County is Intergenerational Poverty. Thousands of Utah families are living in intergenerational poverty — a situation of poverty and public assistance use that continues from one generation to the next. As part of the Intergenerational Welfare Reform Commission, The Utah Department of Workforce Services is working with multiple Iron County organizations, state agencies, and other key partners to understand intergenerational poverty and reduce the number of children who remain in this situation as adults. Iron County is one of five counties in the state experiencing the greatest impact of this issue. Currently, 47% of children in Iron County in IGP situations are at risk of remaining in poverty as adults. The perennial low wage problem in Iron County compounds our intergenerational poverty risk.



The recent Brian Head Fire, which destroyed more than a dozen homes and burned nearly 72,000 acres, cost about $34 million dollars to contain in June and July 2017. The Federal Emergency Management Agency will cover 75 percent of that cost and Iron and Garfield Counties, along with the state, will pay for the remaining 25 percent. “Beyond just putting the fire out, there’s the air quality impacts, the water quality, the fishery, the tourism industry, and all of the other things, and they all fit into the economy,” said Jason Curry, spokesman for the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands. “Those effects linger for years and years.”

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Iron County Strategic Plan 2018


Iron County is one of the most arid counties in the second driest state in the U.S. In 2016, the state water engineer announced that over appropriated water rights in Iron County and several years of lower-than-average snowpack were cause for the creation of a groundwater management plan. At that time, it was estimated that 28,000 acre feet of water was being drawn from the Cedar Valley aquifer while less than 20,000 acre feet was being replenished back into the aquifer. In the past year, Iron County, Cedar City, and the Central Iron County Water Conservancy District have created a number of aquifer recharge projects in several locations in the county, but the actual success of these efforts is yet to be measured. Early indications are that recharge basins built in 2017 were successful in returning more than 1,300 acre-feet to the valley’s aquifers. Our limited water resource impacts potential growth and new business opportunities, so this issue continues to be an economic concern. In 2016, the Cedar City – Iron County Office of Economic Development was approached by two manufacturing companies that were interested in building new facilities here. These companies were interested in Iron County because of our railroad and interstate highway access and our proximity to their customers throughout the western United States. Nearly 700 new high-paying jobs would have been created, however, both companies required large quantities of water for their manufacturing processes and after evaluating numerous options with our local water specialists, it was determined that Iron County’s limited water resource could not support their needs.



The Utah Prairie Dog was listed as an endangered species in 1973 and downgraded to threatened status in 1984. Through 2014 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service managed the species, making development in Iron County difficult for many years. In November of 2014, a U.S. District Judge ruled in favor of “People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners” (PETPO) in a suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. That ruling stated that because the Utah prairie dog was only found within the state, the Commerce Clause did not allow the federal government to interfere with Utah’s own management efforts. The ruling placed the prairie dogs under the protection of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. In March 2017, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the 2014 ruling, placing the prairie dogs back under federal control. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently working with the state of Utah, counties and other partners to prepare a General Conservation Plan that integrates with the state’s successful management plan, meets the Endangered Species Act legal framework, and provides a streamlined process for developers or landowners to obtain take permits for development projects. Iron County and its partners hope the General Conservation Plan will meet near-term needs, with the long-term goal to replace the GCP with a locally-driven conservation strategy to, ultimately, delist the Utah Prairie Dog.

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VISION IRON COUNTY GOALS 1-YEAR VISION: 2019 The Governor’s Office of Planning & Budget estimates Iron County’s population to be in the neighborhood of 55,000–56,000 in the next year.

Describe where you would like your county to

l Southern Utah University is constructing a

be economically one year from now.

new business building and they are working to

l We would like to continue on our current

better integrate their facilities and their programs

trajectory of economic growth at a manageable

with the community. The school of business


recently organized a local entrepreneurship

What challenges would you like to overcome?

council. We plan to work with this group to

l We hope that Federal Prairie Dog

explore new local business opportunities.

management will closely match the state’s

What economic growth would you like to see

management strategy for the past couple of


years, allowing continued development on

l Healthy growth is occurring in Iron County

privately-owned property with minimal

as Southern Utah University continues to grow

obstruction. We are encouraged by the federal

and as new residents continue to move here for

government’s new direction. We hope to see the

various reasons. We would like to see continued

species delisted as an endangered species.

growth in each of our business cluster areas to

What opportunities would you like to take

help balance this growth.

advantage of?

Are you interested in short-term recruitment

l The Cedar City Chamber of Commerce is

or expansion?

initiating its Vision 2050 program, including Iron

l We are more interested in long-term projects,

County, Cedar City, Southern Utah University, and

though the promise of more utility-scale solar will

other community entities, both private and

bring with it short-term expansion in the

public, to coordinate vision and strategic

construction of these projects. This has proven to

planning. The Chamber is currently exploring

be beneficial over the past several years.

Envision Utah’s process to guide this planning.

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Iron County Strategic Plan 2018

LOCAL BUSINESS EXPANSION & RETENTION l Development of local incentives matrix facilitated by EDCUtah. l Development of Iron County Export Plan per World Trade Center Utah specifications.




Creation of Appaloosa 1 Solar Incentive.


Initiation of new First Solar Project Area Plan.

l Completed standardized administration program for all CDA/CRA Project Areas at county level.


Complete local BEAR strategy with SUU Business Resource Center.

l International Economic Development Council training on business expansion and retention in January, 2018.


l Develop local incentive structure for Cedar City’s Coal Creek CRA Project Area to encourage job creation & community improvement.

l Cedar City Events – Tour of Utah, Haute Tour, Cedar City Half Marathon, etc. l


Completion of Rural Tourism “How To” Conference in partnership with Cedar City – Brian Head Tourism Bureau and Cedar City Chamber of Commerce.


Completion of a new Iron county retail market study, in conjunction with EDCUtah and Southern Utah University.

l Completion of Better City study and intial phase(s) of implementation In the Cedar City Historic Downtown. l Completion of NACo Creative Placemaking training and initial planning from this training.

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NEW BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT l Complete Iron County Megasite Certification - Port 15 or Iron Springs Industrial Park. l Complete Economic Development Website Update with focus on:


Available Property Search, Workforce Development, Transportation, Infrastructure, Incentives, etc.


Partnership with Washington County to work with First Solar to bring a new 200 MW utility-scale power plant to western Iron County’s southern boundary with Washington County


l Initiation of Entry Point broadband program analysis. l Establishment of relationships with Utah’s Silicon Slopes, Provo’s One Million Cups program, etc. l Partnership with Iron County’s “Tech Up” group to promote Iron County as a prime location for technology startup companies,


using case studies of existing successful companies, and promoting our quality of life, quality of resources and quality of air. l Continued collaboration with the SUU Business Resource Center and the SUU Entrepreneurship Council in the annual Best Business competition and other small business endeavors.


Expand involvement with the Utah Film Commission, including the creation of an Iron County Film Commission and the development of a website highlighting various locations and our


collaborative efforts with the state.

Southern Utah University’s continued growth has positively impacted Iron County’s economy over the past two years. In March of 2017, the state reported that SUU led the state’s universities in growth from 2015 to 2016 with a 13.6% increase in total enrollment .

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5-YEAR VISION: 2023 Population: Kem C. Gardner projections place Iron County’s population around 55,000–57,000 in the next five years (59,900 – 2025, Kem C. Gardner Research Brief 2017) Describe where you would like your county to

agribusiness opportunities here could provide

be economically five years from now.

important new jobs.

l We plan to see Iron County continue on our

What kind of infrastructure and other

current trajectory of healthy, consistent growth

enhancements is the county considering to

throughout the county, with balanced growth

help with economic growth?

within our core business clusters. We anticipate

l The development of new water resources

that our aerospace opportunities within the

from western Iron County and from the WahWah

Manufacturing/light industrial cluster will

Valley are crucial to Iron County’s ability to grow.

experience growth as the Syberjet program

l New manufacturing projects will increase use

progresses, and as SUU expands into Aerospace

of our rail infrastructure.

Pathways Programs in concert with Southwest

l The recently-completed 5700 West industrial

Technical College and the Iron County School

belt route will make the I-15 exit 51 more


appealing for development and will benefit

What kind of mid-range opportunities exist

industrial-zoned areas of the county and Cedar

within your county that can help you achieve

City. The future completion of the northern

your goals?

portion of this corridor will be even more

l The expansion of our Aerospace Pathways


Program and the availability of airport-adjacent

l Increased utility-scale solar power projects are

property creates numerous job-creation

increasing the size of our local substations as well.


It is anticipated that more electrical transmission

l Megasite Certification will allow us to pursue

and distribution infrastructure will continue to

large-scale manufacturing opportunities.

increase along with the growth of these projects.

l The potential for new retail development in

l The Cedar City Regional Airport is a

key areas of the county should see movement

tremendous resource to Iron County and

within the next five years.

continued airport improvements will open new

l Rich Iron Ore deposits in Iron County are

opportunities for growth and job creation.

a resource still waiting to be tapped. New and

l Development and expansion of trails systems

increasing demands for iron will eventually play a

will be very beneficial to the tourism & recreation

role in our growing economy.

aspects of our economy. We anticipate increased

l Iron County’s agriculture sector has been key

visitation to the county as these trails make the

to our economy since settlement in 1851. New

county a destination to a broader audience.

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Iron County Strategic Plan 2018

10-YEAR VISION: 2029 Population: (71,687 – 2030, Governor’s Office of Planning & Budget, 2012 projections) Describe where you would like your county to

we are Utah’s number one utility-scale solar

be economically five years from now.

power producer.

l If we achieve our plans to help create more

l Agribusiness projects could grow to be more

primary employment through business

prominent in Iron County’s future.

expansion and recruitment, then we anticipate

What developments or land represent

that the gap between the state’s average and

strategic growth opportunities for the county?

county’s average wage will be narrowing.

l Port 15 Utah’s shovel-ready, rail-served 500

l Iron County’s economic diversity, paired with

acres is key to industrial growth, as is the

new jobs created in the next decade will

neighboring Iron Springs Industrial area with

strengthen and stabilize our economy.

418 rail-served acres.

l Increased population will also increase the

l The 5700 West industrial belt route has direct

number of higher-paying health care professions

I-15 access at Exit 51. This is beneficial to the Port

in the county, helping to narrow the wage gap.

15 and surrounding industrial-zoned properties,

Other primary employment will also spin off the

and property along this corridor is valuable for

growth in our target clusters, adding to our job

business development. As the northern section


of this belt route is completed, more property

What type of long term opportunities is your

and new freeway access will become even more

county working on?

valuable at Exit 71 or at a new access between Exit

l Creative collaboration between Iron County, its

62 and 71.

communities, Southern Utah University,

l Property near the Cedar City Regional Airport

Southwest Tech, the Cedar City Chamber of

has strategic growth opportunity as

Commerce, and state agencies, are helping us

aerospace-related businesses become more

focus our strategies collectively. The Chamber’s

involved in our educational pathways program in

Vision 2050 program will help these entities coor-

Iron County. In particular, 100 acres to the north

dinate planning into a shared vision.

and west of the airport could provide

l The infrastructure plans mentioned in the

growth opportunities.

Five-Year Vision statement will need to

l Interstate-15’s Exit 62 has nearly 100 acres

continue throughout the coming decade.

prime for retail development.

l Innovations in solar electricity storage and distribution could dramatically change the world within the next decade. Iron County’s embracing of these technologies could be very beneficial as

Page 29

Iron County Strategic Plan 2018

IRON COUNTY INCENTIVE STRATEGY Iron County’s strategy or philosophy with regard

Head, and other parts of the county to encourage

to offering incentive opportunities is pro-active.

new job creation and investment in the area.

As we plan for new business recruitment, local business expansion and retention efforts,


renewable energy and tourism opportunities,

The Cedar City – Iron County Economic

we plan to utilize all the national, state and local

Development Committee will meet with experts

incentive tools that are available in order to pro-

from the Economic Development Corporation of

mote continued, healthy growth. We view these

Utah in early 2018 to create a new matrix to steer

incentives as a way to help us be more relevant

the creation of local EDTIF incentives. We have

in the extremely competitive world of economic

created a number of project areas and incentives

development. We understand that our commu-

in the past, but each of these have been

nity’s economic health is sustained and improved

negotiated on a case-by-case basis. A new

by seeking healthy growth by emphasizing our

matrix will allow us to more accurately plan for

county’s strengths and assets and by creating

local incentives based on new job creation, wage

other incentives to encourage investment here.

levels and capital investment.



Iron County has utilized the creation of local

Iron County has been designated as a recycling

project areas to create incentives from new

market development zone and the qualifying

property tax increment for numerous projets.

parts of the county are also designated as an

Each of our utility-scale solar projects were built

enterprise zone. We use these designations,

with the creation of a dozen project areas and

whenever possible, to help companies where

local incentives of up to 70% of new increment

applicable. We also work very closely with GOED

for up to 15 years, depending on the size of the

and EDCUtah in the creation of EDTIF tax credit

project. We have found that these incentives were

incentives at the state level as an economic

crucial to make these solar projects happen. The

development tool. As was previously mentioned,

County, and our local taxing entities, are willing

the Rural Fast Track Grant is also an effective

to consider these kinds of incentives if there is

tool that we have used a number of times in Iron

significant capital investment in the county and

County to help companies to grow and create

based upon job creation. Project areas and local

new jobs. Currently, all of Iron County with Cedar

incentive programs also exist in Cedar City, Brian

City exempted, qualifies for this program.

Iron County Strategic Plan 2018

Page 30




The Cedar City – Iron County Office of Economic Development and our local elected officials could benefit from training in economic development principles, practices, resources, data, demographics, and opportunities. Topics of interest could include Utah redevelopment law, Utah incentives, federal programs, state agency programs, educational resources and public finance tools. At the very least, it would be helpful to receive education about GOED’s programs, including:


EDTIF Tax Credit


Enterprise Zones


Industrial Assistance Fund


Life Science & Technology Tax Credits


Recycling Market Development Zones


Rural Fast Track



Utah New Market Tax Credit


Utah High Cost Infrastructure Tax Credit


Up to 90% of new rural job creation comes from expansion of existing local businesses, and from local startup businesses. Support resources for business startups and expansions need to be significantly enhanced and assistance provided for developing entrepreneurial communities and networks. Business Resource Centers and Business Incubators can be important catalysts for new business startups, and have a proven track record of helping existing businesses grow and expand.



Many Information Technology jobs can be performed from Iron County locations that have sufficient broadband capacity. A major effort should be initiated to engage Utah’s vibrant IT cluster/Silicon Slopes businesses in partnering with the State to place IT jobs in rural areas of the state. Because this will require a trained rural workforce, it is also imperative that the State’s new Information Technology Pathways program has a strong rural focus, with a goal of delivering world-class computer coding and other IT classes to every rural Utah grade school, middle school, and high school (and it can be delivered at minimal cost online).

Page 31


Iron County Strategic Plan 2018


The Rural Fast Track (RFT) grant funds and BEAR funds are almost depleted because they are a set percentage of the Industrial Assistance Fund (IAF) account, which hasn’t been replenished since 2014. It is critical that RFT and BEAR be removed from the IAF, and receive dedicated line-item funding to ensure their ongoing viability. It is also preferable that RFT and BEAR have separate funding lines, rather than being combined. The RFT program needs approximately $2.5 million of annual ongoing funding to maintain its current usage level, and BEAR needs approximately $350,000 to $400,000 per year.



Of course, this proposed change would be without adversely affecting the existing EDTIF Incentive Program, which has benefited multiple projects in Iron County. The State should explore the possibility of a rural incentive that could combine or blend the High Cost Infrastructure Tax Credit incentive with a rural EDTIF incentive to address both operational and infrastructure costs of a business locating in a rural setting. Water resource development is especially crucial in Iron County.



One of Iron County’s greatest economic challenges is our county’s low wages. Our average monthly household income is currently less than 70% of the state’s average wage and that gap continues to widen. Because Cedar City’s population is over 20,000, businesses in the city cannot qualify for Rural Fast Track Grants. Our greatest potential for primary job creation in Iron County is within Cedar City’s boundaries. By allowing RFT Grants in the Cedar City boundaries, it would encourage businesses to offer higher-paying jobs in an area where the majority of our population resides, and help us to begin to narrow the overall wage gap in Iron County.



There is great potential for Wasatch Front businesses to expand their operations through satellite operations in Iron County. The State could develop a marketing strategy that targets Wasatch Front businesses and highlights the advantages of doing business in a rural community. Additionally, an incentive package should be developed, specifically targeting Utah businesses. As part of this incentive package, consideration should be given to modifying Rural Fast Track Grants so they could be used to cover the moving and startup costs of Utah businesses that expand to a rural location.


OFFICE: 435.586.2770


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