POCATELLO, Idaho - Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad and Chubbuck Mayor Kevin England spoke at the Chamber of Commerce Friday to talk about taking action to make the communities better.
The mayors and business leaders discussed working together to get businesses into the area, and had words of advice to give to anyone who wants to improve the area.
"I think I've been asked more about the state of the city than anything else in my two months of being the mayor," said Kevin England.
Both mayors said they hear talk from residents of both cities saying there's nothing to do in the area, something they not only disagree with, but say any changes that do come to the area need to have purpose.
"Change just for the sake of change isn't good," England said. "It needs to be a planned change. Something we have a vision for, something we want to see happen and work toward that common vision and goal."
Mayor Blad gave updates on several projects at the meeting, including:
- The Pocatello Regional Transit Facility on S. 5th, expected to be completed this upcoming June,
- The Pocatello Animal Shelter, set to open in December,
- The South Valley Connector project, slated for completion in 2016, and,
- A major joint project, a large wellness park going in near the Bannock County Fairgrounds. Mayor England said the cities work together on projects all the time.
"They're so connected to each other it would be a mistake for us not to recognize that they really are dependent on one another," said England.
The business leaders at the event also said the mayors came with good news regarding jobs.
"Overall it was an uplifting feeling, where we're trying to get attitudes up and people invested," said Mark Nye, a managing partner at Racine, Olson, Nye, Budge and Bailey. "It sounded like we might have some new things coming job-wise."
The mayors also said the business leaders are the front lines in the community.
"One of the things we need to be doing as leaders is to inspire, encourage and recognize change is among us all the time," said England. "We need to be a part of that."
Other projects discussed include the Wastewater Treatment Plant needing to undergo a $20 million required improvement project, as well as a $10 million investment into the airport as well.
Mayor Blad also said there are several companies looking at the soon-to-be vacant Heinz factory. He also said there are several business prospects that could bring 300-500 jobs to the area, including one specific business very interested in the Heinz building.