In my one-on-one interviews I asked members of the American Fork City Council what concerns they hear from residents. Interviews take different directions, but I also asked most of them, “If your term ended tomorrow, what have you done or accomplished of which you’re proudest?” In some cases, they disclaimed any personal credit and described things around the city which particularly please them — and that’s good too.
Just for fun, I asked most of them their favorite old and new restaurants in American Fork.
Beyond issues and concerns addressed in other posts about these interviews …
Multiple council members agreed that the lack of week-to-week news coverage of American Fork City is unfortunate; the days of a weekly American Fork newspaper and the stalwart reportage of Barbara Christiansen are behind us. Councilman Rob Shelton mentioned the Lehi Free Press and the Timpanogos Times and said, “There is a huge void in our community. That’s my biggest concern as a councilman. The scariest thing is an uninformed electorate. I think people want to be informed, but how do they engage? Maybe all they get is talking to neighbors and getting a newsletter.”
Everyone on the council agreed that it would be good if more people were involved — in attending meetings (including staying beyond the public comment period), staying informed, volunteering, and so forth. Councilman Kevin Barnes said he’d like more feedback from residents.
Roads are a perennial topic of concern among residents and on the council. Several members pointed to expanded road budgets and to the City’s policy of making other infrastructure repairs before a road is finished, so it doesn’t have to be opened as soon or as often thereafter. Some mentioned how much more progress we would have made already with our roads, and at how much lower a cost, if voters had approved the proposed bond issue for roads in 2013 — but progress is significant in any case.
Councilman Rob Shelton focused on the arts in American Fork and noted his wish that more residents saw the good things that are happening. He cited the new Regalo theater company, the Timpanogos Arts Foundation, renewed excitement about the old Harrington School, and other projects partially funded by the PARC Tax.
“If people would open the curtains a bit,” said Councilman Taylor, “this place is good.”
When I asked each member of the council which accomplishments make them proudest, there were common themes and even some unanimity:
- building the City’s fund balance (reserve) to the legal maximum and keeping it there;
- renewing the PARC Tax, where revenues now exceed $1 million per year;
- finishing Art Dye Park (where the PARC Tax helped), including adding the long-planned access from 980 North; Councilman Taylor recalled that he was initially opposed to moving the Steel Days carnival to that park, “but it was fantastic”;
- wise budgeting;
- serving on a council that works together;
- being able to acquire land for a major park south of the freeway; “If I do nothing else,” said Councilwoman Carroll, “at least I can point to that”;
- the new (second) fire station, which is now within months of opening;
- funding more police officers and other first responders;
- managing the complexities of development near 200 South and the FrontRunner Station, including a helpful CRA.
In some of these matters, the newer council members were quick to disclaim any personal credit — but also to express their pleasure at these accomplishments anyway.
Councilman Taylor singled out the American Fork Library as “a gem,” noting recent expansion of the children’s area and a wealth of language and other tools available to the public.
For Fun: Favorite American Fork Restaurants
I promised no “gotchas” in my interviews or my reporting of them, and here’s where the rubber really meets the road. I’ll tell you what they said about their favorite American Fork restaurants, but I won’t tell you who said what. You’ll just have to visit the eateries yourself and see which members of the city council might be there.
I often heard, “That’s a tough one. There are so many good ones.” But several emerged from the pack (in no particular order).
- Burgers & Barley
- All About Bakery (“a crown jewel” in the new Easton Park neighborhood, one said)
- Costa Vida
Speaking for myself, I heartily agree about the old ones and one of the new ones. I must try the other new ones soon.
Here’s a link to the next post:
And here are links to the posts in this series:
- Water and Fiber
- City Finances and Inflation
- Growth and Its Challenges (including Development)
- Good Candidates and the Workload
Thanks for reading!