TOOELE, Utah (ABC4 News) – Tooele County is home to thousands of Utahns, and some say they hope their communities continue to grow and offer change that will benefit locals and tourists.
Christy Spilker is the co-owner of Tooele Valley Bicycle and has lived in the area for 20 years.
“When we moved into Tooele, I think there were two stoplights and just two lanes,” Spilker said.
She said throughout the years, the county has grown.
“There are wonderful people that come with the growth,” Spilker said.
The county is home to more than 72,000 Utahns, and a University of Utah study projects that in the next 45 years, the county will be home to 134,000 people.
As the community continues to grow, Spilker hopes it’s done wisely.
“Our infrastructure and our population need to grow side-by-side,” she said.
And in the coming years, she would like to see more trails for locals and visitors alike.
“We have a lot of mountain bikers, we have trails – they’re not well-known outside of the valley – some of them – but we have some trails,” Spilker said, “and we would love to have more trail systems, we’d love to have some paved trails here that are safe for the road cyclists.”
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Spilker said people were buying bikes or needing repairs on the one they owned.
“We had lots of repairs, and we had a lot of people wanting bikes because that was something that you could still do,” Spilker said. “That was a way to enjoy the outdoors, social distance, and get exercise.”
Once their inventory sold out, Spilker said its now difficult to get new bikes and parts – as other bike shops are also running in to similar situations.
“We weren’t able to replace it because of factories closing down and an increased demand, the supply wasn’t available,” she said.
Several months into the pandemic, Spilker said her family’s business could be challenged in the coming months if manufacturers are not able to meet the demand.
“Now, we have a whole two bikes in our store, and we don’t know when we’ll get more.”
While it can be a challenge to have limited availability, Spilker said it’s good to know people are getting outside.
At the Black Cat Barber Company, barber Krista Mullenix said she moved to the county for the small-town living.
“I’ve lived in California before and Utah is a lot more laid back. I feel like things are easier, the cost of living is better,” she said.
While growth is expected, Mullinex hopes for businesses to keep local.
“I hope that we get more small businesses and not like bigger corporations and stuff,” she said. “So, hopefully we can have more of that come in, more options for healthy food.”
And for the county to keep its hometown feel.
“I’d prefer because that’s one of the main reasons that I wanted to move here was because it’s a little bit smaller on side,” Mullinex said. “I mean, growth is inevitable, it has to happen, but hopefully it’s just not too crazy.”
A state report suggests the economy thrives on defense, transportation, communications, trade and services.