Tooele residents feel the city’s population is growing too quickly and economic development too slowly, according to a survey conducted in February 2020 by Utah State University Extension as part of its Utah Wellbeing Project. Findings of the survey were shared with local governments leaders in June.
About 70% of respondents felt population growth was too fast. In contrast, 63 percent felt that economic development was too slow.
Tooele is one of 25 cities participating in the Utah Wellbeing Project. The project is designed to assess the wellbeing and perspectives of city residents to provide information to government leaders in their general planning processes.
Leading the project is Courtney Flint, sociology professor at Utah State University and community resource specialist for USU Extension.
She said surveys of residents from similar cities along the Wasatch Front also indicate concern that population growth is moving too fast.
As far as personal wellbeing is concerned, Flint pointed out that Tooele respondents who felt more connected to their community had higher overall personal wellbeing scores.
Wellbeing indicators were measured on a 5-point scale from very poor (1) to excellent (5). The average personal wellbeing score among Tooele respondents was 3.77, with 67% indicating their wellbeing at a 4 or 5 on the 5-point scale. The average score for community wellbeing in Tooele was 3.14.
Flint said Tooele was a bit lower in average overall personal wellbeing than the other three established, mid-sized cities (Draper, Bountiful and Cedar City) surveyed, but all of these scores were around a 4 on a 5 -point scale, so essentially, Tooele’s scores fell in the moderate to good range.
“So, while Tooele wellbeing scores are a little lower, they are still closer to 5 than 1,” she said.
When asked about the degree to which people in Tooele take action together in response to local problems or opportunities, the average score was 3.39 on a 1-5 scale. When asked about the degree they feel connected to their community, the average score was 2.82.
Survey participants were asked about the influence of landscape features on their wellbeing. Mountains, rivers and streams, trails, and lakes were found to have an overwhelmingly positive influence on respondents’ wellbeing. Over two-thirds of respondents also noted city parks and farmland as having a positive influence.
In terms of development and industry in the landscape, over half of respondents noted extractive industry as having a negative influence on their wellbeing. More respondents noted manufacturing industry and residential development as having a negative influence on their wellbeing than those that noted them as having a positive influence. Comparatively, nearly twice as many respondents noted commercial development as having a positive influence than those that noted it as having a negative influence.
The highest rated assets of living in Tooele were public safety, recreation opportunities, access to public land, access to quality food, and access to healthcare. Highest rated risks were substance abuse, water supply, shopping opportunities, roads and highways.
A total of 252 completed surveys were recorded during this effort. The report contains descriptive information based on Tooele resident responses and comparisons with other cities.
Respondents were given the opportunity to provide comments at the end of the survey. Comments were made by 100 respondents (40% of those that completed the survey).
Tooele residents had a variety of concerns about their city. Many people mentioned wanting to see more recreation activities available, especially for youth. Another common request was bringing in more variety of retail stores, restaurants, and grocery stores.
However, people were also concerned about controlling the growth of Tooele and not allowing it to outgrow the resources and space available. There were several comments about improving the city image of Tooele, especially in the downtown area. Other concerns mentioned include traffic, drug use, and property taxes.
The Tooele report can be found at: