We reached a big milestone recently in our pivot towards product development as an organization: we completed our first “Mega Site” certification in Elberta, Utah.
For those of you wondering what a Mega Site is, let me quote EDCUtah's incomparable Mike Flynn. A Mega Site is a “large acreage, extensively researched, heavily infrastructured piece of dirt in a community looking for a ‘landmark' project.”
I quote Mike because it was he and Stephanie Frohman who originally had the idea to bring a Mega Site program to Utah. Mike and Stephanie recognized that if we take the guesswork out of site development, Utah could be more attractive to large-scale advanced manufacturing. So those two took the laboring oar nearly 20 months ago to do an exhaustive best practices survey in partnership with MRED students at the University of Utah. Drawing on that information, EDCUtah formed a Mega Sites Steering Committee to set up a process for certifying a Mega Site that would work for both our Beta Site and for future Mega Sites.
CRS Engineers worked closely with the landowners, Farmland Reserve, and with the Utah County Commission to answer any possible questions a potential end user might have about the site. We now have boxes full of information on the site and can actively pitch it to the right tenant.
We hope we can take the Mega Sites program to the next level through finding additional funding and partnerships. We hope to fully operationalize a Mega Sites program in Utah by hiring a full-time employee to administer site certification and to manage the marketing. We are optimistic that a fully functioning Mega Sites program will complement some of the State’s current economic development initiatives, including the Governor’s push to create 25,000 jobs in Rural Utah over the next 3 1/2 years, and a potential Inland Port.
We will keep you posted on how you can help us take this program to the next phase in the coming weeks and months. If you’re interested in learning more about our process or if you feel like your community is poised to participate in this program, please feel free to reach out to anyone on our team.
The list of “thank yous” is long and will keep growing over time. But a sincere thank you is in order to Mike and Stephanie for identifying this opportunity and for making it their “side hustle” for nearly 2 years. A huge thank you is also in order for each of our Steering Committee members who helped us develop an important set of criteria and who gave us a tremendous amount of time, knowledge, and insight along the way.