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This is Fred Ball for Zions Bank, speaking on business.
I love Utah's Dixie. I always enjoy my visits and have a great fondness for the business community and civic leaders. A few weeks ago I was in the area and marveled at the growth, effervescence, zest and zeal of the people and the positive attitude of the community as a whole.
The setting for the city itself is just spectacular. Red bluffs make up the city's northern boundary and two lava-colored peaks sit in the city center. The northeastern edges of the Mojave Desert are visible to the south. Zion National Park can be seen to the east and the Pine Valley Mountains loom to the north and northwest. It's beautiful!
The last official population numbers I found are from 2005 when it was publicized that 125,000 people lived in the county. That surely is a low figure because it's projected that the population will reach 162,000 by 2010. It's estimated that St. George itself has about 69,000 people. From 1990 to 2000, St. George beat Las Vegas as the fastest-growing metropolitan area into the U. S. The present economy has seen a slow down of growth in all areas, and St. George is no exception. However, there is no doubt that Washington County will still be one of the bright growth stars in the Intermountain West.
The newly proposed regional airport, located southeast of St. George, will be a great stimulus for the local economy. It will have the capability of accommodating larger commercial aircraft.
I'm also happy to report that the business community is vibrant. Government jobs with organizations such as the Washington School District, Dixie State College and St. George City are all major contributors to the job pool. Significant private sector employers include Intermountain Health Care, Wal-Mart, SkyWest Airlines, Sunroc Corp, Lin's Supermarket, Red Mountain Spa and other growing companies.
I enjoyed my recent visit with outstanding Washington County businesses. This week's programs will feature several of them.
For Zions Bank, I'm Fred Ball. I'm speaking on business.