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  • PROVO (Daily Herald) -- Utah County commissioners are ready to demolish multiple buildings in downtown Provo to make way for a new convention center. They just have one problem: One of the remaining tenants won't leave.

    Provo City and the owners of the Atchafalaya nightclub are at legal loggerheads over whether the place should still be open.

  • PROVO (Deseret News) — Wendell Gibby wants a judge to reverse a decision in the landowner's longtime legal battle with Mapleton over development of Maple Mountain.

    Gibby's attorney has filed a motion requesting that Judge David Mortensen reverse his 2008 ruling that city officials had complied with the terms of a memorandum of understanding in an attempt to settle a series of lawsuits over the proposed subdivision. Gibby also is appealing the judge's decision to award the city $78,000 in attorney fees.

  • PROVO (Deseret News) — Utah County commissioners Tuesday selected Okland Construction Co. to build a $38 million convention center in downtown Provo.

    The project is scheduled to be completed by February 20, 2012.

    In the next two months, crews will begin demolition of 200 West, between Center and 100 North, near the Provo Marriott, and then begin construction of the three-story, 120,000-square-foot building in late August or early September, said Commissioner Steve White.

  • PROVO (Deseret News) — A proposal to build a bridge across Utah Lake is coming under attack — again.

    Officials with the conglomeration of environmental groups advocating for a no-build alternative to the Utah Crossing Inc. plan say the proposed bridge is not financially viable.

    "We've asked the state to immediately reject the (Utah Crossing) proposal because we believe it smells of a scam," said Marc Heileson of the Utah Chapter of the Sierra Club.

  • PROVO (Daily Herald) -- Maddy Talbert is one of only a few employees who wish they weren't needed.

    Talbert is the director of the Wasatch House, a clubhouse that helps people with mental illnesses learn job, life and coping skills and help prepare them to be out in the real world as much as possible. She loves her job, and she loves helping the members. But her goal is to help those people so that she and the clubhouse won't be needed anymore.

    "That's what we like to hear," she said.

  • PROVO (Deseret News) — Three months into his administration, Mayor John Curtis is undertaking the task of selling residents on the city's first power rate increase in 22 years.

    Curtis ran as a fiscal conservative, but he said increasing costs and needed infrastructure improvements make utility rate increases for power, water and sewer services inevitable.

  • PROVO (Deseret News) — The details are still fuzzy, but Provo residents probably will vote in November on a $34 million to $41 million bond to build a new city recreation center.

  • PROVO (Daily Herald) -- City officials are moving forward with plans to build a new community recreation center for Provo. The Provo Municipal Council met with Mayor John Curtis, members of the administration and their financial advisers Tuesday to discuss the planned center, the final price tag and some of the pricier amenities.

  • PROVO (Deseret News) — An environmental group has a plan for Utah Lake, and it doesn't include a bridge.

    The Utah Valley Earth Forum recently submitted to state officials a no-build option to counter a developer's proposal to construct a bridge across Utah Lake.

    Jim Westwater, chairman of the environmental group, submitted the proposal to the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands prior to the March 31 deadline.

  • PROVO (Deseret News) — The possibility of a bridge over Utah Lake troubles Jim Westwater, and not just because of possible environmental consequences.

    Westwater, chairman of the Utah Valley Earth Forum, worries that those making decisions on the project may be biased.

    The Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands will have the final say on the proposed six-mile, $600 million, privately funded toll bridge across the lake that would span from just north of Pelican Point in Saratoga Springs to 800 North in Orem.

  • PROVO (Deseret News) — As early as the fall semester of 2011, some 744 students could be living in new, apartment-style housing units on the BYU campus.

    The Provo Planning Commission on Wednesday night approved a university plan to build four new 35-unit dormitories on the former site of Deseret Towers in the northwest area of the campus. The four-story buildings, which will house 210 students each, will feature pitched roofs, marking a departure from existing flat-roofed student housing.

  •  (Salt Lake Tribune) When it comes to growth, Utah is still whistlin' Dixie, Coal Country is still singing the blues and the state, as a whole, is still humming lullabies.

    The latest census estimates are out -- the last batch for counties and metropolitan areas before 2010 Census numbers are released next year. Here are some interesting tidbits:

    Did you know St. George and Provo-Orem are the nation's second and third fastest-growing metro areas?

    Only a Sunshine State city outshined Utah's top gainers in population growth this decade.

  • (Daily Herald) HB 381 may be getting most of the attention, but another bill concerns Ray Christensen much more.

    Senate Bill 45, sponsored by Sen. Wayne Niederhauser, R-Salt Lake, increases the number of unrelated single people allowed in a single-family neighborhood home to three in university cities. Some neighborhoods in Provo have two- and three-person neighborhoods; some, like Wasatch, where Christensen lives, have a more convoluted formula.

  • (Daily Herald) Three lines of legislation in a bill that only one legislator voted against this session actually affects only a few people but ideologically has pitted factions of Provo against each other.

    At the heart of the issue is where city government ends and state government begins, or how far state government's arm reaches into the city.

  • (Daily Herald) City officials still are not sure how much federal money they will see from two annual development grants.

    The money, from community development block grants and HOME entitlement funds, is intended to help cities help low- to moderate-income people through home ownership, economic development, parks and other projects. Allocated annually, Congress passed the bill appropriating more than $4 billion for CDBG in January.

  • PROVO (Deseret News) — No one was surprised when City Council members voted unanimously Tuesday night to vacate one block of 100 West in downtown Provo, paving the way for a proposed "privately owned public space," part of an expansion of Nu Skin's corporate campus.

    The vote gives Nu Skin the green light to move ahead with a four- to six-story, 120,000-square-foot office building at the corner of Center Street and 100 West — across the street from its existing 10-story corporate headquarters.

  • PROVO (Daily Herald)  -- Love it or hate it, people who want to talk about the proposed Nu Skin expansion can have their chance tonight at a public hearing before the Municipal Council.

    The council is scheduled to vote on vacating 100 West between Center Street and 100 South, which has to happen before the city can sell the land to Nu Skin, as proposed. Tonight's decision would not approve of Nu Skin's entire project or even immediately hand over the land, but it would be a critical step for Nu Skin to move forward on its plans for a 120,000-square foot expansion.

  • (Salt Lake Tribune) During floor discussion Wednesday on a $113 million capital facilities bonding bill, several House members pleaded on behalf of the State Hospital in Provo, which has housed the mentally ill for many decades.

    "They need a new pediatric unit," said Rep. Laura Black, D-Sandy, in offering an amendment to SB282 to fund the design phase for the structure this year.

    The current children's housing -- half a century old -- is seismically and electrically unsafe and does not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Black said.

  • PROVO (Daily Herald) -- Residents of a south Provo neighborhood filled the Municipal Council chambers last week to ask for a park.

    It doesn't need to be big or fancy, Spring Creek residents said. They just need a small park on the south side of State Street, close to their homes, where families can gather and children can play.

    "Please purchase land for this purpose while there is still land to be had," Whitney James asked the council.

  • PROVO (Daily Herald) -- A citizen survey showed that 75 percent of Provo residents are in favor of the proposed recreation center, and 65 percent would favor the facility if the library bond is extended to pay for it.

    The survey, released by Mayor John Curtis on Tuesday, also showed that generally, Provo residents are satisfied with the direction the city is going and happy with the city government. The survey was completed by Dan Jones and Associates and interviewed 415 residents, none of whom were BYU students. It had a 4 percent margin of error.

  • PROVO (Daily Herald) -- The Zions Bank Financial Center will soon be open for business.

    Kelly Ward, the area president and manager of the Provo region branch of Zions Bank, said the bank should open for normal business hours in its new digs on March 29. The current downtown Provo office at 111 N. 200 West will close at 2 p.m. on Friday, March 26, and the drive-thru will be open Saturday, March 27.

    "It's substantially complete," Ward said of the building, which had the name put on this week.

  • PROVO (Deseret News) — What was once a cubist skyline along 900 East will soon become a sleek new housing development.

    BYU officials and architects shared floor and site plans Thursday evening with the next-door Wasatch neighborhood regarding four new, four-story residence halls to replace Deseret Towers.

    The buildings, with their white stone bases, red walls, peaked roofs and a central green area, will house more than 730 students in two- and three-bedroom apartments, similar to Heritage Halls.

  • PROVO (Deseret News) — Mayor John Curtis named Dixon Holmes to the newly created position of deputy mayor of economic development Wednesday, eliminating the position of director of economic development.

    Curtis said the move is a strong statement that the city's economic development will be one of its primary interests.

    "Over the last few weeks, it's become clear to me that one of the most important things we can do to address our economic situation is to focus on economic development," Curtis said.

  • (The Enterprise) Ground was broken on a $12.5 million clubhouse and proshop for the Riverside Country Club at 2701 N. University Avenue in Provo. The clubhouse will be 40,325 square feet, and the proshop will be 12,469 square feet. The new facility will include a restaurant, kitchent, ballroom, meeting halls, boardroom and locker rooms. Zions Bank Real Estate Banking Group is providing the financing for the demolition and ground-up construction. The facility was designed by Douglas W. Fredrickson Architects of Phoenix. Magleby Construction of Lindon is the general contractor.

  • (Daily Herald) A bill that would halt a practice used by Provo city to reduce the number of renters moved forward on Thursday.

    House Bill 381 would eliminate a licensing technique used by some cities to negate renters who are grandfathered into a no-rent zone.

    "They could use it to potentially abuse the system," said Rep. Steve Sandstrom, R-Orem.

  • (Daily Herald) Fans of Sephora, a San Francisco-based cosmetics and perfume retailer, can look forward to the opening of a new store in Utah next month.

    Sephora, a division of Paris-based luxury products group LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, is opening a new store inside J.C. Penney Co. at the Provo Towne Centre on March 26. The cosmetics company entered the Utah market in 2008 with the opening of a 500-worker distribution center in Salt Lake City as well as its first Utah "store-within-a-store" at a Riverdale J.C. Penney.

  • PROVO (Deseret News) — Riverside Country Club will break ground for a new $12.5 million clubhouse and pro shop Thursday.

    The 40,235-square-foot clubhouse and a 12,469-square-foot pro shop building will replace Riverside's former clubhouse, built in 1960, which has served as a gathering place for many Utah County events. It will feature a new restaurant and kitchen, ballroom, meeting halls, boardroom and locker rooms.

  • PROVO (Deseret News) — Utah Crossing Inc. may not be alone in applying for use of land it wants to utilize to build a bridge across Utah Lake.

    The Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands recently sent a letter to adjoining landowners of the corridor of land that crosses Utah Lake from Vineyard to north of Pelican Point, asking for competing bids.

  • PROVO (Daily Herald) -- Chris started using drugs and alcohol as a freshman in high school in Tucson, Ariz.

    His high school had a lot of heroin use among students, and Chris began using the drug as a junior. A broken arm and wrist got him a prescription for pain medications, and an addiction to the pain pills gave way to an addiction to cocaine, then heroin.

    "Once I started doing heroin, it just never stopped," he said.

  • PROVO (Deseret News) — Work crews have started pulling down some of the canopies around the east wing of the Jacob Hamblin Building at the Missionary Training Center.

    It will be two weeks before demolition of the one-story structure on the MTC campus, located at 900 East and Stadium Avenue, begins in earnest.

    "We're going to clear the site for about a week or so, then I'm guessing in two weeks we'll have a track hoe in and some trucks for hauling the building away," said Brian Webb, project manager for Okland Construction.

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