SANPETE//SEVIER, Utah (ABC4 News) – Central Utah is home to thousands of Utahns, welcoming newcomers and visitors alike. And some in Sanpete and Sevier counties say they hope for health and economic growth for their communities in the coming years.
On Manti Main Street is the Sanpete Messenger, where journalists like Robert Stevens report on happenings in the county’s cities.
“We’re just a little farm county, and it’s just a little rural county,” said Stevens, who’s the managing editor of the local newspaper.
The state of Utah reports the county’s economy thrives on education, government and agriculture.
And Stevens said if the community does not get enough snowpack, the water supply is challenged.
“It runs down, it fills the reservoirs, it fills the rivers and it ends up going out into irrigation and it always runs out,” Stevens said.
COVID-19 has impacted the community and Stevens hopes things can improve.
“I would like to see people feel like things are going to be fine no matter what,” he said. “You know, I would like to see more of that. People feeling healthy and secure.”
Stevens continued to say that especially in a small community, businesses rely on one another – including the Sanpete Messenger.
“The economic impact is really evident because of course, we rely on advertising sales and when the advertisers don’t have the budget or they’re barely keeping their doors open,” he said, “that means we also struggle to keep the doors open because we don’t have their ads.”
Despite challenging times, Roberts said people in the community are always willing to help those in need.
“I have lived in a lot of places and I’ve never seen a community that has this level of togetherness in times of need or coming together for someone else,” Roberts said.
Sevier County is home to more than 21,000 Utahns and a University of Utah study projects that in the next 45 years, it will grow to nearly 33,000.
“We do want to keep our small-town living, but we also want to share it,” said Richfield resident and business owner Katie Lindsay.
The state reports the economy thrives on trade, livestock and manufacturing and it’s also well-known for its outdoor recreation.
“We see a lot of different ways of life,” she said. “We appreciate our farmers and our blue collar workers – of which there are a lot here in Richfield.”
In the county’s largest city, Lindsay and her husband run Richfield Monuments Headstones Utah – a business she said that’s been around for quite some time.
“The oldest businesses here in Richfield are of course us, Richfield Monuments,” she said. “You also have…the Wonder Cafe and Christensen’s…and the Richfield Reaper.”
Lindsay said she enjoys living in her central Utah community with her family and is open to having more diversity and jobs in the area.
“What I would love to see in Richfield is just a little bit more industry,” she said. “We love to live here and if my kids choose to stay here and live here, then I do worry and hope that there are enough jobs to keep them here and allow them to raise a family.”