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

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

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.

After several mild winters with little snowfall, Eagle Mountain has experienced a plentiful winter.

Current snowpack, as of today, from 8-20 inches was reported depending on the location and elevation, according to

Living in a desert region, one might think that would mean dry and hot, but in the Cedar Valley, a rich array of weather events with all four seasons is enjoyed.

The area is an abundant habitat with a full array of animals and plants that have adapted to the sometimes harsh conditions. According to National Geographic, more than one billion people, one-sixth of the Earth’s population, actually live in desert regions. That includes Eagle Mountain.

Desert animals have evolved ways to help them through times of drought and heat as well as cold.

National Geographic further discloses that desert plants may go without fresh water for long periods of time and have developed long roots that tap water from deep underground. The cacti have special means of storing and conserving water.

Having received an abundance of rain and snow this winter means that wildflowers will be abundant throughout the spring, summer and fall during their various bloom times.

The first measurable snowfall this season was reported on Oct. 23 and 24, 2022. This has been followed by more rounds of snow Nov. 2, Nov. 28; and Dec. 2, 5, 7, 8, 12-15, 24, 28-29 and 31.

Snowstorms continued throughout Jan. 2-3, 5-6, 10-11, 15-18, 22-23, 27-29. Snow was also seen during February, with trace amounts reported until the recent snowfall Feb. 21 and 22.

This frequent snowfall was interspersed with periods of rain, heavy and prolonged at times, supplementing the large aquifer situated in the community.  

Few automobile accidents were reported during Tuesday and Wednesday’s winter storm. Safe driving is encouraged while Eagle Mountain City Streets department crews continue to work to clear the roadways.

The Utah County Sheriff’s Office Eagle Mountain division will be offering several RAD (Rape Aggression Defense) classes to residents free of charge in 2023. 

RAD is a self-defense and empowerment program for women and children that teaches risk awareness, reduction and self-defense techniques, according to the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.  

According to the Utah County Children’s Justice Center, 1 in 3 women in Utah experience some form of sexual violence, and 1 in 3 women report being a victim of domestic violence. Rape is the only violent crime in Utah that is higher than the national average, and 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be molested before the age of 18. 

To help individuals protect themselves from such crimes, the Utah County Sheriff’s Office offers RAD Women courses for women and teenagers ages 13 and older, and radKIDS courses for all children 5-12 years of age.   

The radKIDS program teaches children safety skills with a special focus on easy-to-learn physical skills for abduction reduction. The program is split into two age groups, 5 to 7-year-olds and 8 to 12-year-olds, to better suit the needs of children of different ages. 

Residents should note that both age groups are taught the same principles, and it is not necessary to complete one class before moving on to another.  

“radKIDS is a personal empowerment safety education aimed at keeping children safe,” says Camilla Brown, radKIDS Coordinator for the UCSO. “We have a variety of topics we teach including home, school and vehicle safety, out-and-about safety, bullying prevention, realistic defense against abduction, personal space/personal touch safety, and more.” 

According to Brown, children in the radKIDS program are taught three basic rules for self-defense. 

  • Rule 1: “No one has the right to hurt me, because I am special.”  
  • Rule 2: “I don’t have the right to hurt anyone else, including myself, UNLESS someone is trying to physically hurt me, and then I can stop them.”  
  • Rule 3: “If ANYONE tries to hurt me, trick me, or make me feel bad inside, it’s NOT my fault and I can tell someone.” 

“The sad reality is that the vast majority of abductions and sexual molestation are done by someone the child knows or is related to,” says Brown.  

“Because of this, we don’t focus on strangers. Instead, we focus on good people and bad people and that is it was people do that help us know. radKIDS is most known for their abduction reduction strategies. There are 10-14 physical skills (based on age) we teach that are designed and proven for children to be able to use.” 

The radKIDS program is 12-hours long and is taught twice a week in two-hour increments. RadKIDS classes are currently underway for ages 5-7, and classes for ages 8-12 will take place in March.  

While spots are no longer available for either of these sessions, residents can reserve a spot on the waitlist. Classes will also be held again for each age group in September and October.  

According to Brown, 90% of self-defense is comprised of risk-reducing strategies. Because of this, women enrolled in the RAD Women course are taught risk awareness and risk reduction skills, as well as 26 physical skills with which to defend themselves should the need arise. 

“Here in Eagle Mountain, we are able to offer an extra piece to our classes called ‘Keychain Defense Options.’  At the end of the class, women are able to not only take with them the knowledge they have learned, but also a specialized keychain to help defend themselves,” says Brown.

Registration for the first RAD Women class of the year is now open. Classes will take place from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. on Apr. 10, 17, 24, May 1, and May 8. RAD Women courses will also be held again in November of this year. Residents who are unable to register may also join the waitlist.

The location of each course will be emailed to class members prior to the start of each program.

Due to the mature nature of the subjects covered, residents should note that teenagers are encouraged to be accompanied by a trusted female adult to each class. The RAD Women program is 15-hours long and is taught weekly over the course of five weeks.  

“As instructors, we have seen the impact these classes have had on both women and children,” says Brown. “The power and confidence they walk away with is astounding. We have witnessed it change lives. We cannot choose the way those around us act, but we can choose to change how we are prepared to deal with it.” 

To learn more about the RAD Women and radKIDS programs, please visit Eagle Mountain’s Community Safety webpage.  

Residents of Eagle Mountain have probably noticed a heavy layer of polluted air hanging over the valleys. The entire Wasatch Front faces significant air quality challenges in both summer and winter.

Winter inversion

During winter, the unique topography, consisting of high mountain ranges to the east that prevent pollution from dissipating, combined with high pressure weather systems, leads to periodic inversions that trap cold air beneath a layer of warm air. This acts like a lid over the Wasatch Front.

Summer particulates

In summer, high temperatures combine with vehicle and industry emissions leading to high particulate levels that become trapped by this same geographic configuration.

Wildfires in the state, as well as nearby states, such as California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Idaho, also add significant amounts of pollutants to the area during wildfire season. The jet stream carries that smoke over the area.

Air quality history in Utah

According to a report The History of Air Quality in Utah: A Narrative Review, written by Logan E. Mitchell, University of Utah and Chris A.B. Zajchowski, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Va.,published in 2022 by the Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI), air pollution rose in prominence as a public issue in the 1880s as Utah’s urban areas grew.

The report adds that early non-indigenous explorers in the 1800’s noted how blue smoke from wood fires would hang in the Salt Lake Valley for extended periods of time.

Latter-day Saint pioneers settled in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847, and as they developed Salt Lake City, air pollution quickly became a persistent problem as they used coal and wood fires for cooking and for warmth.

Since then, scientific advances have increased the understanding of air quality impacts on human health, groups of citizens have worked to raise public awareness, policy makers have enacted legislation to improve air quality and courts have upheld rights to clean air.

This same report states that Utah’s air quality future still holds challenges and opportunities.

Eagle Mountain being proactive

Chris Trusty, Eagle Mountain City engineer, says there is plenty the City has done to help alleviate air quality challenges.

“To help reduce drive times and lessen idling times, Eagle Mountain City has replaced several four-way stops in favor of overhead traffic signals, which reduced the total number of cars having to stop at each intersection,” says Trusty.

Active physical transportation such as biking or walking to destination points can also improve air quality.