Thursday, September 13, 2012

St. George, Utah, stirred by rebounding economic activity

by Jane Ann Morrison, of the Las Vegas Review-Journal

Since 1984, I've made pit stops in St. George, Utah, on my way to and from the Utah Shakespeare
Festival in Cedar City.

I observed growth over the years, of course, but on my most recent trip, somehow the town seemed even
bigger, with more businesses, definitely more restaurants and actually, more traffic.

While I routinely see sad strip malls emptied out in Las Vegas, I saw bustling growth in St. George, a
two-hour drive northeast of Las Vegas.

Gregg McArthur, who grew up in St. George and has been executive director of the St. George Area Chamber of Commerce for two years, helped answer my biggest question: What was stimulating St. George's growth?

About the time I began going there and when he was growing up there, the town had a population of
about 15,000. In the late '80s and '90s it took off. Now it has a population of about 78,000.

When the recession hit in 2007, St. George flat lined.

"St. George had foreclosures. We had a mini-crisis here with housing," McArthur said.

The foreclosures often were second homes, but the crisis was miniscule compared with Las Vegas.

But in 2011, growth resumed. And in 2012, there were 2,450 more jobs than the previous year and he's
seeing more ribbon cuttings.
He cited several reasons for this latest spurt. To read more >> Las Vegas Review-Journal