The new elementary school under construction in Eagle Mountain’s Overland community will soon have an official name and mascot.

At the March 14 school board meeting for the Alpine School District, three names were presented to board members for consideration. The names were presented by Aaron Stevenson, who was recently appointed principal over the new school in February of this year.

Prior to his appointment, Stevenson was the principal of Pony Express Elementary in Eagle Mountain.

“Aaron is super familiar with Eagle Mountain and the community here, and we are thrilled to have him placed as the principal for our new school,” says Julie King, Board Member with the Alpine School District.

Selecting the school’s name has been one of Stevenson’s first tasks as principal. A naming committee was formed consisting of parents and PTA members from Mountain Trails Elementary and Hidden Hollow Elementary who will now be located within the new Overland Elementary school’s boundaries.

Ashley Becar, a kindergarten teacher at Pony Express Elementary, was elected as co-chair of the naming committee.

“It is quite the process to be a part of,” said Becar at the meeting. “It was very fun and very interesting.”

According to Becar, the naming committee sent an online survey to parents in the new school’s boundaries on March 3. A separate survey was also given to students who will attend the new school. Out of 393 name suggestions, the naming committee had 229 unique names to consider.

Desert, animals, sky and stars were all common themes among the survey responses. The naming committee split into groups to review and consider every suggestion, according to Becar.

The top three school names and mascots under consideration are:

Desert Peak Elementary, Home of the Wildcats

According to Stevenson, this name was chosen because of the commonality of desert themes among survey responses. The street on which the new school will be located is Wildcat Peak, which inspired the mascot.

Desert Sky Elementary, Home of the Explorers

Stevenson says this name pays homage to the openness of Eagle Mountain and the City’s dark-sky ordinance. He says the “Explorer” mascot is a great representation of the “adventurous spirit” of the people in Eagle Mountain that love the outdoors.

Juniper Hills, Home of the Owls

According to Becar, Juniper trees were also commonly mentioned in survey responses. The Owl was also the most commonly suggested mascot for the new school. Becar says the mascot was also inspired by the “neighborhood owl” that is frequently spotted in the Overland community.

Other names suggested were the “New Cool School Hamsters,” the “Leaf Elementary Cockroaches,” the “Skywalker Elementary Skywalkers,” and “John Cena Elementary.”

“It really was quite an enlightening process,” said Stevenson at the meeting. “It was really powerful to have representatives from both communities working in these small groups… pouring over suggestion after suggestion and insight after insight. That really provided a comprehensive understanding of what the community’s thoughts and feelings were.”

While the public is not able to vote on the new name and mascot, King welcomes resident feedback prior to the next school board meeting.

“[Residents] are welcome to email me. They can also message me or text me if they want to send me their personal opinions,” King says.

The name will be voted on by the ASD board at the March 28 board meeting.

The Unified Fire Authority continues work to expand its presence in the community.

Currently, two fire stations, Station 251 and Station 252, are operational within Eagle Mountain city limits.

According to Ryan Love, Public Information Officer with the Unified Fire Authority, properly locating fire stations is a focus for the organization.

“When a fire station is closer to an emergency location, firefighters can respond to the incident more quickly, potentially saving lives and minimizing property damage,” Love says.

Station 252 is located along Pony Express Pkwy near Ridley’s while Station 251 is currently located just south of City Hall in City Center.

According to Love, two new fire stations are actively under construction in Eagle Mountain. The first, Station 253, will be situated on Mid Valley Road near Frontier Middle School in City Center. The second is a relocation of Station 251, which will be located just south of Eagle Mountain Blvd. along Pony Express Pkwy.

Plans for the building where Station 251 is currently located are still under consideration by the Unified Fire Service Area, according to Love. Finalized ideas will be forthcoming.

UFA anticipates an overall reduction in response times once construction of the two fire stations is complete.

“With more fire stations in Eagle Mountain, the existing stations can provide mutual aid to each other, allowing for a faster and more effective response to emergencies across the city,” says Love.

Station 253 is being built to house a fire engine, ladder truck, ambulance and Battalion Chief – comprising a total of 11 firefighters.

As Eagle Mountain continues to grow in population, Love says Station 253 will also have the ability to expand its services to meet any increases in demand for emergency services.

The Unified Fire Authority anticipates that construction on both stations will be complete this summer.

The public will also be welcomed at a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house upon completion of each of the fire stations, says Love.

UFA will also be hosting a community pancake breakfast for all Eagle Mountain residents once Station 253 is complete.

“We look forward to this opportunity as it will allow our firefighters to engage with our residents outside of an emergency setting,” says Love. “Residents who attend will be able to ask questions that will help them better understand who’s protecting their community, what our job involves, what firefighters do, and how, and why we do it.”

Love encourages residents who are interested in attending the pancake breakfast to stay up to date by following the Unified Fire Authority on social media:

Facebook: @unifiedfireauthority

Instagram: @unifiedfire

Twitter: @fireauthority

The test results have come back within state guidelines.

On Feb. 27, Eagle Mountain City switched the City’s water source from Well #1 to Well #5, causing some residents to notice a difference in the scent and flavor profiles of their tap water. Eagle Mountain City utilizes several wells throughout the year as maintenance and other needs arise.

According to Mack Straw, Public Utilities manager for Eagle Mountain City, Well #5 was turned on so crews could perform maintenance on Well #1 — the City’s usual water source during the winter months. The difference in tap water smell and taste results from differing levels of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) between the two wells.

“Okay I knew I wasn’t going crazy,” said resident Kirsten Anderson when the City issued a statement about the water. “I told my roommate about it a week ago. It tastes so NASTY now. I won’t drink the tap water unless I put some kind of flavoring in it. Might go to bottled water at this point. I don’t trust that it’s actually safe. Tastes really off.”

According to Straw, as water runs through the aquifer, it will pull minerals along with it. TDS is determined by measuring the amount of dissolved minerals in the water.

“[The water] is still healthy, still meets the parameters of safe drinking water, there’s no high levels of anything toxic,” says Straw. “[But] it does change the profile of the taste and smell in some situations.”

Eagle Mountain City tested Well #5 again on March 8, following public concerns about the safety of the drinking water.

The tests returned a TDS result of 948 ppm (parts per million).

While the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends a primary standard of less than 1,000 ppm for drinking water, primary drinking water standards vary from state to state.

“EPA is not the end all, be all. That’s what they recommend,” says Straw. “The state can set their own and that’s why it’s the ‘primary.’ And they’ve deemed it 2,000.”

The primary standard for the state of Utah is 2,000 ppm with a secondary standard of 500 ppm.

“The primary standard is designed to be protective of public health while the non-enforceable secondary standard is in place as a guideline for levels of TDS that may cause aesthetic effects,” according to the Utah Division of Drinking Water.

Although Well #5 has the capacity to supply the entire community during winter, City Administrator Paul Jerome says the City recently turned on Well #3 to blend with the water from Well #5 and bring down the overall amount of TDS.

The cost to turn on a City well is around $5,000 and, according to Jerome, is not a decision the City takes lightly.

“That’s why we try to do it in the most efficient manner possible by just turning on Well #5 because it could feed the whole city,” says Jerome.

Since Well #5 was turned on, some residents have feared that the level of TDS in the water may make them sick. Straw says that there is “no chance” this is the case.

According to Straw, the City also performs tests for bacterial presence in the water, and the most recent test for Well #5 was negative for harmful bacteria, namely coliform and E coli.

Some residents may have noticed a chlorine-like smell in their tap water. “Yes, what is going on with the water?” asked resident Kaitlyn Brouwer on Facebook. “Someone in my neighborhood tested the tap water TDS and it was at 835 (way higher than normal) and tap was only a hundred or so lower. They also said they found high amounts of chlorine.”

However, Straw says that a chlorine-like smell in the water is a good sign. Free chlorine in the water attacks any dangerous bacteria that may be living in the water.

“If we didn’t have that,” Straw says, “that’s when we would start to be concerned, because that tells us something is consuming that free chlorine.”

According to Straw and Jerome, the Central Utah Water Conservancy District’s sources will be back online on March 20th. Maintenance is anticipated to be completed on Well #1 by mid-April.

Additionally, Straw says that the City will be installing TDS analyzers into each of the City’s wells that will provide real-time readings.

“That’s not required by the state. We’re doing this to make sure residents have real-time data that can be shared on request,” Straw says.

In the summer months when all wells are operating, Straw says he anticipates the TDS level to be around the 600 ppm range.

Eagle Mountain City currently has six operational wells with one under construction and another currently out for bid.

Founded in Pleasant Grove more than 20 years ago, John Hancock Charter School says it prides itself on the ability to provide students with a unique educational experience.

The charter school’s second campus is slated to open in Eagle Mountain in August, located at 2890 N Scarlet Road, according to Principal Julie Adamic.

Adamic, who will be principal over both the Pleasant Grove and Eagle Mountain campuses, says she is excited to be a part of the Eagle Mountain community, citing local events the school will be participating in, such as Pony Express Days.

Unlike public schools operating under a school district, charter schools work directly with the state of Utah.

“We still have all the same accountability to the state…The difference is our school can make site-based decisions, whereas a district usually makes those decisions for traditional schools,” says Adamic.

While the Alpine School District board oversees 94 schools and more than 82,000 students, the John Hancock Charter board oversees only itself. This allows the school and the state to create a more customizable plan to meet the school’s needs and support its students, according to Adamic.

Like other public schools, charter schools do not have an admissions process. Instead, they are required by federal law to hold a lottery for student admissions when space is limited. Once the enrollment period is over, the school will randomly draw applicants using a computer program.

Adamic says the school held its lottery for the Eagle Mountain campus in January and is now accepting students for any open positions on a first come, first served basis.

John Hancock Charter School’s mission is to provide students with an “individualized educational model and a first-class system,” says Adamic.

The charter school’s Pleasant Grove location has a capacity of only 180 students. In Eagle Mountain, each elementary school will have a capacity of approximately 175 to 180 students according to Adamic, with 200 students at the junior high. The Alpine School District has an average school size of 877 students.

To provide a greater number of students with a small-classroom experience, Adamic says that the Eagle Mountain campus will be separated into “five small schools within a school.”

The campus will have four elementary schools for grades K-6, and one middle school for 7th and 8th-graders.

“It creates a safe environment where they’re allowed to try new things, make mistakes, pick themselves up and do it again,” says Adamic. “It’s all about relationships.”

Openings are still available for the middle school, and Adamic encourages parents of younger children to get on the waitlist, if they are interested by filling out an “Intent to Enroll” form at www.johnhancockcs.org.

The school will hold events for students to meet one another as the new school year grows closer.

John Hancock Charter School will be open for the first day of school on Aug. 15, 2023.

*Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article featured a misquote regarding faith-based decisions. The quote has been corrected to “site-based decisions.” John Hancock Charter School is not a religious school.

Open land near the intersection of SR-73 and Ranches Parkway is soon planned to be the home of a major retailer.

Walmart has announced plans to construct a location at the northwest corner of the intersection, just off what is known as Spring Run. Once complete, Eagle Mountain’s Walmart will comprise nearly 200,000 sq. ft. of retail space.

“We are honored that the retail giant Walmart is considering expanding into Eagle Mountain,” says Mayor Tom Westmoreland. “We look forward to working with them and welcoming them to our community.”

Walmart brings an additional shopping location to the community that will diversify Eagle Mountain’s retail base and serve residents’ day-to-day needs.

The proposed Walmart location is anticipated to generate an estimated $1 million in annual sales tax revenue. These dollars will be used to improve City services such as roads, parks and public safety.

Prior to the start of construction, planned to begin in 2023, the proposed Walmart site is slated for rezoning to a regional commercial designation. This change will be considered at the April 18 Eagle Mountain City Council meeting.

Council members will also consider the addition of language to Eagle Mountain City Code to provide for exceptions to compatible buffer zones to accommodate Walmart’s location.

Apart from zoning hurdles, traffic needs are anticipated to be a major consideration prior to the approval of Walmart’s new location.

“We are working with Walmart to improve plans for traffic flows, knowing that the Ranches Parkway and SR-73 intersection is already a very busy area,” says Eagle Mountain City Economic Development Director Evan Berrett. “Ideally, the presence of Walmart will help expedite UDOT’s plans to begin the planned widening of SR-73.”

The Utah Department of Transportation has Phase II plans to transform SR-73 into a freeway with frontage roads that will improve east/west traffic flow in Eagle Mountain within the next 10 years.

Walmart’s arrival in the community also acts as a signal for other companies to begin considering an Eagle Mountain location. These restaurants and retailers will further diversify the shopping options for residents.

Economic development in Eagle Mountain occasionally carries tax incentives that facilitate a company’s location in the community. That is not the case with Walmart as the retailer is not being offered incentives at this time.

“Eagle Mountain City did not seek to entice Walmart to construct a new store in Eagle Mountain,” says Berrett. “Walmart recognized the extreme growth and opportunity in Eagle Mountain. This will likely not be the only Walmart location in the decades to come.”

Once fully operational, Walmart will employ dozens in the community and provide additional construction jobs while work to build the site is ongoing.

Walmart operates more than 10,000 stores and clubs under 46 banners in 24 countries, according to their website.

*Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article indicated the rezone would come before the Eagle Mountain City Council on March 21. That date has been rescheduled to April 18.

Unlike sanitary sewer systems, storm sewer systems do not clean or filter the water that passes through them.

In sanitary sewer systems, the water is cleaned, treated and recycled for reuse. In storm sewer systems, the water is channeled untouched out of urbanized areas and back into nature.

Because of this, it is important for residents to make sure rainwater is the only thing entering City storm drains.

Larry Diamond, Storm Water supervisor for Eagle Mountain City, is responsible for educating City staff and residents on what’s known as “illicit discharge.” This term applies to anything dumped into storm drains that did not fall in the form of rainwater.

“All of our storm drains go to detention ponds, and then from detention ponds they go to the Tickville Wash,” he says. “Which eventually flows to the Jordan River, which is an impacted body of water.”

Any foreign substance dumped into a storm drain can contaminate local bodies of water, destroy plant and animal habitats, or even contaminate drinking water.

Illicit discharge can come in many forms, such as garbage, used motor oil or engine fluid, pet waste, grass clippings or leaves, or even soapy or dirty water from washing the car.

Diamond says the City typically responds to around two instances of illicit discharge each month, but have responded to seven so far in 2023.

While dumping anything other than storm water into a storm drain is a violation of Eagle Mountain City code, Diamond says his department seeks to educate residents.

“We don’t want to fine anybody,” he says. “So, if somebody does have a spill, we want them to call us and have us come out and help clean up. …We want to just work as a team to keep the waterways clean and to minimize cost.”

Residents are encouraged to report instances of illicit discharge to the Eagle Mountain City Stormwater department. Some signs of illicit discharge may include stains on, or around, storm drains, empty containers near storm drain inlets, or pipes or hoses leading into storm drains.

Residents can also prevent illicit discharge by ensuring that sanitary waste is always disposed of in the sanitary sewer system (sinks, toilets or tubs), washing the car in the yard rather than the driveway, and by disposing of hazardous waste at the nearest household hazardous waste facility.

“Our goal is to prevent pollutants from making it into a storm drain,” says Diamond. “It’s tenfold cheaper to clean up the spill when it’s on the surface before it gets into the catch basins or into the pipes.”

Residents are strongly encouraged to report instances of illicit discharge by calling the Stormwater hotline at (801) 789-5959 (#4).

Learn more about illicit discharge and how to prevent it with the following guides:

Eagle Mountain City is still in the early planning stages for a downtown area, but plans took a recent step forward.

At the Feb. 21 Eagle Mountain City Council Meeting, City Economic Development Director Evan Berrett presented a bid award recommending that Downtown Redevelopment Services be awarded the ability to build concepts for a future downtown, among two other Small Area Plans.

“Although these areas are called small areas, they will have tremendous impact on the city as a whole.,” says Berrett. “We absolutely want to involve residents in this process as much as we can and in any way we can so that we can maximize positive outcomes and produce plans that everyone can be excited about.”

Downtown Redevelopment Services will be leading a team proposing a wide range of ideas for the three areas that will be planned to offer unique amenities in each location.

Considerations will include which services would work best in those areas for the betterment of the lives of residents, the satisfaction of landowners and the economic stability of the community.

Downtown Redevelopment Services’ Mission

Downtown Redevelopment Services’ website states as their mission:

“Community is at the center of all of the work that we do. It is the community members and stakeholders that ultimately drive the results sought. That is why we guide communities towards proven downtown revitalization strategies and empower everyday people to determine their own destiny.”

How were they selected?

After seeking bids, a City staff review committee scored the proposals and invited the top scorers for final presentations. The committee recommended awarding the bid to Downtown Redevelopment Services in partnership with CRSA/Architecture Planning & Design in Utah, Avenue Consultants, and Zions Bank Public Finance. 

The Downtown Redevelopment Services proposal was not the lowest cost proposal. Their bid was $41,515 for each of the three areas, totaling $124,545.

In general, staff felt that given the significant impact these area plans would have on the future of Eagle Mountain, that it was more important to find the right team that can deliver the highest quality product with strong public and stakeholder engagement.

“These small area plans present a unique opportunity to choose our own destiny,” says Berrett. “Using what can be learned from cities around the country, and the collective hopes and desires of residents of Eagle Mountain, we have the potential to plan amazing areas that will build and shape the vitality, traditions, prosperity, and opportunity that will exist in Eagle Mountain for generations.”

Downtown Redevelopment Services and their partners scored highest overall and demonstrated through their proposal, along with the presentation they made, that they would best serve the needs of Eagle Mountain.

One of the deciding factors was Downtown Redevelopment Services’ approach to engage with residents, City Council, landowners and other stake holders in a cooperative effort.

City Council approves

The City Council approved awarding the bid with a 4-1 vote. Councilmember Colby Curtis voted against the proposal – citing his issues with density and mixed-use development.

Location of the three areas

Gateway Park is located at the gateway to Eagle Mountain City near SR-73 (Cory Wride Memorial Highway) where the quarry and surrounding area are currently located. This area will have easy access to nearby Mountain View Corridor and Redwood Rd.

Commercial Core is a corridor located adjacent to Eagle Mountain Blvd. This area is the largest of the three at approximately 2,000 acres. Due to its size, this area could prove to be the impetus for greater employment opportunities close to home.

Mid-Valley Downtown is located near Mid-Valley Rd., across Pony Express Parkway from Cory Wride Memorial Park. This area is envisioned to be the downtown of Eagle Mountain City and could provide needed and enjoyable amenities for many residents.

Balance of design

Small Area Plans provide for a balance of residential and commercial entities, keeping traffic flow needs, aesthetically pleasing design, as well as the evolving of community needs in mind.

Although the three areas will have some impact on one another, they are independent plans being completed by the same team.

While traveling Eagle Mountain, residents may notice ladder signs advertising local businesses.

These signs provide the local economy with accessible advertising in key locations to bring awareness and potentially boost revenue generation.

For several years, about 20 signs were operated within Eagle Mountain city limits, according to Melissa Clark, president of the Eagle Mountain Chamber of Commerce.

“Within the last year, there was a big demand,” says Clark. “A lot of small businesses are trying to make their mark in the community and help other people know that their business exists.”

To keep up with rising demand for the signs, the Chamber of Commerce is undertaking a ladder sign improvement project. This includes repair and maintenance of ladder signs that have become faded or signs that are out of working order.

In addition, the Chamber plans to construct new signs as part of the improvement project.

“[Small businesses] have gotten additional business from having these signs up,” says Clark. “And for those family-run businesses where the bottom line is really tight, that advertising, that chance to get their name out, means life or death sometimes for the success of that business.”

While the signs were previously constructed and maintained by vendors based out of other Utah cities, Clark says the Chamber is proud to be working solely with Eagle Mountain-based businesses.

These include a local contractor to construct and install the sign structures and a local printing company to print and install the sign faces.

The signs are constructed out of boards wrapped in aluminum, which makes them better able to withstand inclement weather and potential rock-chip damage, according to Clark.

In addition to ensuring the signs are durable and properly maintained, Clark says the Chamber has made a greater investment in environmentally-conscious solutions.

“When [the board wraps] need to be changed out from one business to another, they just get rewrapped, which means way less waste,” Clark says.

The Chamber expects to have completed all 60 signs within the next two months.

Once the signs have been installed, they will be inspected semi-annually and assessed for needed repairs.

For Clark, who comes from a family-owned business background, the ladder sign project is a “labor of love.”

She says that all revenue generated by the signs is directed back to Eagle Mountain’s small businesses in the form of supportive programming through the Chamber, such as business boot camps. These courses help business owners learn about commercial financing or small business tax strategies.

Clark says that of all the businesses advertised on the ladder signs, more than 70% are owned and operated in Eagle Mountain.

“My dad was an HVAC guy, and my grandpa and grandma owned a small hardware store in a small rural town,” says Clark. “And I just know that as our world gets bigger and our community gets bigger and more populated…for those small businesses, those signs mean everything.”

Business owners who are interested in learning more about the ladder signs may do so by visiting www.eaglemountainchamber.com/signs.

Eagle Mountain City has formally adopted a new Transportation Master Plan.

In September, City staff presented the Transportation Master Plan to the Eagle Mountain City Council for discussion and approval.

At both the September, and a subsequent October City Council meetings, the Council tabled the proposed Plan until further research could be conducted to study its impacts on wildlife and key neighborhoods.

On Feb. 7, the Transportation Master Plan was again presented to Council for approval with further research included.

Kevin Croshaw, transportation engineer with Horrocks Engineers, presented additional analysis, specifically on the impacts of a proposed SR-73 freeway.

Together with City staff, Horrocks Engineering analyzed the projected impacts of traffic congestion on Pony Express Parkway and Ranches Parkway should a future freeway be aligned further west — away from residential areas.

The analysis showed that pushing the freeway to the west would lead to increased volumes of traffic on Ranches and Pony Express Parkways, as opposed to constructing the freeway closer to the residential areas to the east.

“The farther east we could keep [the future freeway], he more traffic it pulled off of Pony Express…and Ranches Parkway, for that matter,” says Chris Trusty, engineer for Eagle Mountain City. “Anywhere from 12% to 20% less traffic on those roads than if it had been further to the west.”

Engineers and City staff also performed an analysis to determine if expanding the capacity of Mid Valley Road would impact traffic congestion on Pony Express Parkway.

Croshaw called the impact of the expansion “negligible.”

In addition to expanding the capacity of Mid Valley Road, the Transportation Master Plan also lays out a plan for Mid Valley Road to head east from City Center, through the Hidden Valley area, and into Saratoga Springs, according to Trusty.

“[This] would provide another east-west connection between Eagle Mountain and Saratoga, and we’re trying to get funding to do further studies on that,” says Trusty.

As part of the analysis presentation, Croshaw also provided four alternative alignments of the future SR-73 freeway to the Council to illustrate the potential outcomes of the Master Plan. He noted that the Utah Department of Transportation, while open to the City’s input, would make the final decision.

Accommodations for wildlife were also taken into consideration and were added to the proposed Transportation Master Plan.

“That was one thing that we originally didn’t show on the Transportation Master Plan,” says Trusty. “So, we added that corridor in and made recommendations for roadways that cross that kind of swath of land and identified areas where we would want there to be wildlife underpasses, overpasses or at-grade crossings.”

Chad Welch, on behalf of the Eagle Mountain Nature and Wildlife Association, took to the podium and asked for language clarifications in the sections regarding wildlife crossings and requested that the Mid Valley Road wildlife crossing be changed from a surface crossing to an overpass.

The Transportation Master Plan, with the two changes requested by Welch, was approved by the Eagle Mountain City Council 5-0.

While recognizing that the plan is not written in ink, and is subject to changes in the coming years, Trusty says the plan will be the City’s “guiding document for roadways,” from this point forward.

Read the final official version of the Transportation Master Plan.