Monday, June 27, 2016

Rural Utah town's population has exploded 3,000% since 2010, mainly from high-tech businesses

A rural Utah town has seen its population explode 3,000 percent since 2010, with farms being bought up to provide space for housing, as high-tech jobs replace agriculture. Vineyard, which had a population of 106 in 2010, now has 3,195 residents, with projections calling for the population to reach 40,000, Katie McKellar reports for the Deseret News. (DN graphic)

"The national and state housing market is booming. The county's high-tech Silicon Slopes sector is surging, placing Utah County [county seat, Provo] second in the nation for 2015 job growth, according to new data recently released by the U.S. Department of Labor," McKellar writes. "But as Utah County's prosperity spills over into communities like Vineyard—close enough for convenience yet abundant with open land—longtime residents are faced with a rapid rural-urban shift, and all the growing pains that come with it."

Locals "have watched their town's farmland vanish," McKellar writes. "Where there were once rolling fields, cow barns and chicken coops, there are now neighborhoods, town houses, schools, gas stations." Residents like Robert and Cumorah Holdaway, 86 and 87, "sold all 350 acres of their dairy farm to developers for the usual reasons: The children who would have taken up the business moved on to different work. Farming became less and less practical to turn a profit." Only one farm remains in Vineyard (Best Places map) but local officials "have anticipated it will eventually be rezoned to residential, according to the town's master plan."

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