At the time the Clipper broke the story of this new 550-acre "West Side Development" along I-15 next to Hill AFB, we thought it seemed like a "pretty big deal."
Now, as time has progressed over the past 1-1/2 to two years, we know it's a "huge deal."
The many involved point to the potential for up to 50,000 new jobs being created, making an even bigger powerhouse of the Hill AFB area. After all, the base is already the state's single-site largest employer, providing between 24,000 and 25,000 jobs.
This tremendous creation of jobs will come from new aerospace firms locating here to in-state firms locating more of their workload here, officials said.
There will be office complexes and related facilities "outside the gate," near I-15, west of the base. Inside the base, meanwhile, those old buildings that resemble giant World War II quonset huts, as some of them are--will be replaced. That will not only provide state-of-the-art working conditions for about 5,000 employees on that end of the base, it will also offer the option for more purpose-built space that can mean further expansion and enhancement of the base as a vital link in the nation's, and world's, defense network.
It should be strongly noted that the Air Force and its parent Department of Defense (DoD) will not be putting up any of the money for all of this.
Rather, DoD is partnering with Sunset Ridge and its affiliated developers, including Utah's own Woodbury Corporation, to built the structures. The land off the base will not be sold for private development. DoD will retain ownership while buildings on the land will be privately owned.
The DoD is giving developers a chance to reap handsome benefits from what they do, and bring new businesses and jobs, while it gains much-needed new work stations and facilities built by the private sector.
With costs estimated at $350 million or more to replace existing HAFB facilities in the "1200 Buildings" sequence, that just isn't in the cards, especially under the current war scenario.
The cities of Sunset and Clearfield are directly involved, having officially signed on, with the Davis County Commission heartily endorsing the project as well. It may formally sign on as early as next Tuesday. Weber County and its cities of Riverdale and Roy are likewise committed, as is the State of Utah, from the Governor on down.
This will mean more jobs for Davis County folks, certainly including those in South Davis. These jobs will typically pay in the $50,000 to $100,000 range, with service jobs paying less.
But this will go a long way in bringing to pass the desire of so many to create "livable wage jobs" close to home. That way, nearly half of the county's workforce doesn't have to leave Davis County every day and travel, mostly to Salt Lake County, to work.
It saves on wear and tear, not only of personal vehicles in many cases, but also personal wear and tear and time away from family and personal pursuits that must be deferred during an up to one-hour commute each way, usually five days a week.
Everyone benefits further by the construction of a well-planned, phased-in development, which officials involved say will look much like the renderings shown on pp. A1 and A12. There will be new challenges brought by all of this growth, which could take up to 30 years to achieve, to be sure.
But with growth also come the new facilities, businesses that many people yearn for, whether it be that national restaurant which brings the Cheesecake Factory to mind, or that new freeway interchange, wider roads, more school choices, you name it.
Lastly, this project is a pioneering one. Let's hope it can be done so as to benefit and make us all proud.