Golden Eagle spotted in Provo

This Golden Eagle was spotted by Chris Padilla right off of Lakeview Parkway, West of I-15 near Osprey Point. Thanks for sharing these awesome photos Chris! If you would like to see more of his wildlife and nature photos from his travels and stomping grounds (mainly in and around Provo Utah) check out his Instagram account, @wildlifeshotsbychris.

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East Bay Golf Course to host Division I Regional Cross Country Championships!

East Bay Golf Course

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Over the past year East Bay Golf Course has been working with BYU to submit a bid to host the NCAA Cross Country Championships. We recently received word that Provo has been awarded the 2018 and 2021 Championships! These races will be held at the East Bay Golf Course on November 9, 2018 and November 12, 2021 and will bring over a 1,000 runners, coaches and their families to Provo from all over the US. It is an honor to be selected.

These races, in conjunction with hosting this summer’s first ever Utah Women’s Open and 2020 Utah State Amateur golf tournaments are a real honor for Provo City and East Bay. I’ll have more information as we get closer to the events so stay tuned for more details.

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Expedia names Downtown Provo as one North America’s Coolest

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Photo by City Home Collective

A recent article published on the travel website Expedia.com lists Downtown Provo as one of the coolest in North America! With Utah Lake to the west, Y Mountain to the east, and Brigham Young University to the north, downtown Provo is both historic and eclectic. Students and travelers alike pore over the shelves in search of literary gems at Pioneer Book, and every Thursday the Provo Food Truck Roundup fills the streets with good eats.

Find your chill: Chocolate gets a bad rap as indulgent and “sinful,” but the Taste chocolate factory gives downtown Provo its heavenly scent. Follow your factory tour with a healthy drink from Ivie Juice Bar and go from naughty to nice.

A total of 19 cities made the list, including Cancun in Mexico, Old Pasadena in California, Boston in Massachusetts, Grand Junction in Colorado and Tarrytown in New York.

So what’s their criteria for coolest downtowns? One-of-a-kind dining options, local arts venues, unique shopping experiences, fascinating historical sites, and access to urban greenspace. You’ll find some of your favorites and a few unexpected gems, and a locally loved place to hit “refresh,” so pack your fabbest street style and get ready to visit some hot cities with cool downtowns.

Check out the whole ranking here. And the Daily Herald’s article here.

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Water Blooper

I was working on a presentation last week and came across this video that was never released. It was produced a few years ago to help residents understand the need for an increase in water rates but it was scraped because some felt like it made light of a serious topic.

As I watched again this week I felt like it had too much good information about our water system to let it go unseen. Press play for pure enjoyment.

Jack Mergist is the star and sprinkled in his humor. Rebecca Green wrote it,  James Terry & Brandon Crow shot, Blake Romney produced it and Nick Ludlow did the motion graphics. A great group of talented friends of the city!

PS – The video was made back when we had the turkey accident in Deer Creek Reservoir.

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Celebrating Digital Inclusion Week in America’s Most Connected City!

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All Provo residents (14 and older) are invited to celebrate National Digital Inclusion Week by participating in the Get Online for Good Open House at the Provo City Library, sponsored by the United Way of Utah County.

The first 75 attendees to complete a short online course at the open house (using your own laptop / smartphone or a computer the library provides) will receive a $5 Sodalicious gift card.

When: Thursday, May 11th – Stop by any time between 2pm and 8pm

Where: Provo City Library – Shaw Programming Room #260 (upstairs)

Why: Learn how you can use the internet as a tool to get connected to your neighborhood, find volunteer opportunities, use the United Way of Utah County’s app to find local services for people in need, register to vote, and more. You’ll be introduced to dozens of useful online tools created by civic and non-profit organizations in our community. This event is created to introduce the general public to local online tools and give us all the opportunity to learn what digital inclusion is and how it may be affecting our neighbors and fellow citizens.

If you can’t make it to the event, check out www.EmpowerProvo.org to take the short course on your own.

What is “Digital Inclusion”?

Digital inclusion is making sure that everyone has access to digital literacy training, devices like computers or tablets, and an internet connection.

Girl Develop It Provo Volunteers

Why Does Digital Inclusion Matter in America’s Most Connected City?

When compared to the rest of the nation, Provo has made incredible progress in making sure everyone has access to the internet. In fact, a recent report shows that 96% of Provo homes are connected.

However, in some ways, that makes digital inclusion more important than ever. Our “digital divide” may not be deep…but it can be wide. Organizations and businesses may assume that everyone is online, excluding people who are most in need of services. A lot of information that used to be available in paper form is now only accessible by those who have tech skills and an internet connection.

Low-income families, working adults without computer skills, and senior citizens are often the most affected.

Digital inclusion programs in our city help residents learn how to connect with their children’s K-12 schools, create resumes, apply for jobs online, find services for low-income residents, and develop the skills needed to compete for employment in a tech-focused job market.

What Digital Inclusion Services are Available in Provo?

A variety of programs are available to help. Here are a few you might want to know about (and pass on to your friends and neighbors):

Adopt-a-Computer – The United Way of Utah County’s Adopt-a-Computer Program provides donated, refurbished computers to low-income recipients who complete ten hours of personalized tech training. Surplus computers are donated by local tech companies and Provo City and refurbished by volunteer groups including Girl Develop It Provo. Donated computers have also been “adopted” by non-profit organizations serving at-risk populations including the Provo Bicycle Collective, Encircle LGBT Family & Youth Resource Center, and the Provo Housing Authority. For more information, call 2-1-1.

Adopt-a-Computer Warehouse

Computer Help Lab – Residents looking to improve their tech skills can show up at the drop-in lab at the Provo City Library on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2-5pm in the Special Collections Room upstairs.

So far, over a hundred people have received on-on-one assistance at the lab. Seniors have come in to learn how to connect with family using a tablet. Residents facing homelessness and insecure housing have learned how to search for assistance programs and check online listings. Low-income residents have developed tech skills and applied for jobs online. It’s a welcoming, casual environment designed to give residents the digital literacy training they most need.

Relaunch – In this four-week support group, the United Way of Utah County is helping women looking to rejoin the workforce. Participants will develop their tech skills by polishing their resumes, starting a LinkedIn profile, and beginning a job search online. Everyone who completes the training will receive a complimentary copy of Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg and a free LinkedIn headshot taken by a professional photographer.

Sessions are 11am-1pm on May 24th, May 31st, June 7th, and June 14th at the Provo City Library.

The group is free, but commitment to all 4 weeks and advanced enrollment is required. For more information, email digitalinclusion@unitedwayuc.org or call 801-494-7314.

EmpowerProvo.org – Do you know how to register to vote online? Use an interactive map to find your neighborhood chair and other representatives? Download the United Way of Utah County app to locate resources? Use the best search to find local volunteer opportunities? This short online class will walk you through dozens of helpful online tools available to Provo residents.

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Happy Cinco De Mayo Provo!

This video never gets old and it’s perfect for Cinco de Mayo! Celebrate the holiday by riding your bike around town & sample tacos from some of Provo’s best Mexican cuisines!

What’s your favorite Mexican restaurant in Provo?

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What’s in our 2017 Budget?

The city budget is one of the most important policy documents that the Mayor and Municipal Council considers every year. Putting together the recommended budget is a critical responsibility of the Mayor, and the Administrative staff takes this duty very seriously.

State law requires that the Mayor deliver the recommended budgets to the Council at the first council meeting in May each year, and the Council must adopt a budget by June 22 for the fiscal year starting July 1.

Some people feel that the budget is first and foremost a financial document, but in reality, the City sets its priorities for city services through the budget. So it is not just about the money, but it is also about how we prioritize and deliver city services in the coming year.

So, we wanted to share some of the highlights of the recommended budget and encourage our residents to share their opinions on the budget with your elected officials.

  • The total recommended city budget totals about $207 million, including all operating and capital budgets for all funds.
  • The budget allocates $56 million in the General Fund, which provides most general city services like Parks and Recreation, Public Safety, Community Development and other city services.
  • New positions are recommended in the sanitation and wastewater funds, and positions partially funded in FY 2017 for Fire, Legal, Customer Service and Police are fully funded in the new budget
  • Property tax and sales tax rates are not proposed to increase in the new fiscal year.
  • A variety of small user fee increases are proposed in our continuing effort to make sure that the costs of city services should be covered as much as possible by those who use the services
  • Utility rates are anticipated to increase in the water, wastewater, stormwater and sanitation funds by about $11 per month all inclusive for the average residential user to provide for needed capital improvements in our systems. A new rate structure for wastewater services for multi-family housing is also recommended to be implemented.
  • No electric rate increase is included in the proposed budget.
  • Funding continues to be provided for needed capital needs for city buildings.

Budget decisions are never easy, but our commitment has always been to provide a responsible budget that meets the needs of our community while still keeping fees and taxes as low as possible. We hope that this document balances all of the needs of our community and our city government and maintains and improves Provo’s excellent quality of life.

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Rooftop Concert Series 2017

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Hey Rooftop Concert Series Fans! Hope you’re excited for the first show of the season! Join us this Friday, May 5th in front of the Nu Skin building (100 W Center) starting at 7:30 pm for a FREE concert showcasing the finest bands in Utah. featuring

You won’t want to miss The AcesForeign Figures, and Festive People!

We are so excited to have The Aces headline the first concert. The local band premiered their EP, I Don’t Like Being Honest, this month after signing with Red Bull Records in October. This fall they take off on a busy tour, but Utah will always be where they got their start. The Aces have been playing shows together in Provo since middle school and they’ve been on our rooftop stage before. We feel lucky to get them this year when they’ve gained so much national attention. See their latest video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYpDjxyj4oU&feature=youtu.beAnd see them LIVE this Friday!

ROAD CLOSURE HEADS-UP

Please take note of the following road closures:

  • Center Street eastbound lane will be closed on Friday, May 5 starting at 7:00 am from University Avenue to Freedom Boulevard.
  • Center Street westbound lane will be closed on Friday, May 5 starting at 1:00 pm from University Avenue to Freedom Boulevard.
  • 100 West southbound lane will be closed on Friday, May 5 starting at 4:00 pm from 100 North to Center Street.
  • Center Street will reopen on Saturday, May 6.

DOWNTOWN PARKING

Ride your Bike – Ride your bike to the concert to avoid traffic and park your bike at our Free Bicycle Valet hosted by Canyon Bicycle and the Provo Bicycle Collective!

Provo Rooftop Concert photographed by Justin Hackworth
Provo Rooftop Concert photographed by Justin Hackworth

Ride UTA – Forget about worrying where to park, think green and hop on the bus and get off along University Ave. More information here.

FrontRunner – Introducing the best thing to happen to Provo since BYU Creamery! UTA’s commuter rail service, Frontrunner, runs to 600 South in Provo from stations up and down Utah and Salt Lake counties. You can even ride all the way to Salt Lake City International Airport. View current schedules here.

Parking – Parking in Downtown Provo isn’t as stressful as it sounds. ProvoBuzz has plotted out all the spots you need to know in order for you to get around town. Use the interactive Downtown Provo parking map below to find the best place for you to park.

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Road Closure Heads up for
Provo City Half Marathon

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Photo by Daily Herald

Thousands of runners will storm through Provo – Saturday, May 6 for the Provo City Half Marathon. We want them to be safe so some driving pattern adjustments will need to be made on that day. Some streets will need to be closed to traffic during the event. If you’re not running in the race, you may want take note of how it could impact traffic.

Runners will start their trek down the canyon at 7:00 am. Between 7:00 am and approximately 1:00 pm the outside southbound lane of University Avenue will be closed between the mouth of the Canyon and 200 North University Avenue. The downtown area between 200 North to 300 South and 100 West to 100 East will be closed for the finish line area until approximately 1:00 pm.

Motorists should expect significant delays crossing University Avenue and in our Downtown area between 7:00 am until approximately 1:00 pm. If you need to get across University Avenue, please do so on 300 South. 

The map below outlines the race route.

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Provo #5 Top City for Working Parents!

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Provo has been ranked the #5 best city for working parents!

SmartAsset wanted to find the best cities for working parents. So they ranked 464 of the largest U.S. cities using nine factors, including the unemployment rate, the average high school graduation rate and the violent crime rate. They also looked at household income, average childcare costs, housing costs and average commute time. To learn more about how they conducted their analysis, read their data and methodology section.

Provo has moved up several spots since Smart Asset released the 2016 edition of their analysis. Last year, Provo ranked as the ninth-best place for working parents. In a year, its unemployment rate fell from 2.7% to 2.5%. Its violent crime rate dipped slightly and the average commute time in the city dropped from 18.4 minutes to 17.6 minutes.

The average high school graduation rate in Provo remains below the national average. But local schools have made progress. The graduation rate is now 72%, up from 69% in our 2016 study.

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