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Heber Valley's growth has leaders preparing for economic boom

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HEBER CITY — The majestic Heber Valley is beautiful and quiet, but is also getting a whole lot busier. Already, it's exploded on the national scene as a prime tourist destination and the perfect place to retire.

The question now: How will all the attention impact the area?

"We're up here in the mountains. We have a gorgeous view; I have elk and deer in my back yard. We don't have smog like Salt Lake does," Nicole Robinson said, describing her Heber Valley home.

The U.S. Census Bureau says the population here has jumped by nearly four percent in the past 10 years. That's four times the national average.

It has sweeping vistas, lots of open land, miles of trails, and an iconic railroad carrying passengers through Utah's beautiful canyons. It's not hard to see why so many people want to come here.

"I like to do a lot of fly fishing, hiking, biking," said Charles Hansen, who also calls Heber Valley home. "There's a lot of stuff to do up here."

The Heber Valley is now attracting worldwide attention. This year, Forbes magazine listed Heber City as the fifth fastest-growing small town in the country.

HGTV also showed the area some love when it built the channel's 2012 Dream Home at a spot in Midway overlooking the Provo River. The home was given away to a lucky winner.

Plus, the U.S. Census Bureau says the population here has jumped by nearly four percent in the past 10 years. That's four times the national average.


"I've noticed the highways are awfully busy," Hansen said.

"There's a Walmart that opened up a few months back," another resident said, "(with) strip malls attached to it, so that's kind of nice."

Cities like Midway and Heber City are planning for the boom. Both are building up residential areas, bringing in commercial development, and trying to build a larger tax base.

Residents say they want their economy to grow, but wouldn't mind if their cities stayed on the small side.

"Heber, itself, and Midway could stay small, (that) would be fine with me," Hansen said.

I would rather it stay kind of a smaller community," Robinson agreed, "because that is why I like living here."

That's not all that's happening here in the Heber Valley: there's also a lot of development going on. Wasatch County Director of Economic Development Ryan Starks joined KSL News at 6:30 for a live interview to discuss the economy of the area. Click on the extra video clip to see what he had to say.

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Nadine Wimmer


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