|Released:||January 10th, 1999|
Growth looms over the Wasatch Front like thick smog. It's an issue rife with commercial and political implications for Utah's families. KUED presents Utah: Is This Still the Place?,a public affairs documentary that takes a personal look at the impact of growth along the Wasatch Corridor, stretching from Brigham City to Nephi, and from Tooele to Heber.
Produced by KUED's Scott Thompson with executive producer Colleen Casto, Utah: Is This Still the Place? examines growth and its implications on housing, transportation, agriculture and open space. Airing in conjunction with community workshops launched this month by the public-private partnership Envision Utah, the documentary explores challenges facing families living in a state that is projected to be home to 5 million residents by the year 2050. The documentary is narrated by KUER-FM's Michael Havey.
Utah: Is This Still the Place? talks intimately with four families - from different demographics and backgrounds - about the impact of growth in their lives, and their hopes, fears and concerns about the future of their children. "Our goal was to include diverse families with whom as many Utahns as possible could identify - whether it's a high school junior unsure of finding a job after college, or a senior citizen who makes the difficult decision to sell his land," says Thompson.
Featured families include Golden and Irene Mangleson, a couple in their seventies, who live in Levan. The Mangelsons trace their lineage back to pioneer days, with relatives who founded Nephi. Now, they have decided to sell part of their 1,000 acres of farm land. "Once you drive a farmer off the land, he won't come back. He finds out that there are easier ways to make a living," says Golden.
Also interviewed are Dana and Lisa Williams of Park City, who have two children, ages 11 and 13. A community activist, Dana is a real estate agent and a member of Citizens Allied for Responsible Growth (CARG). "We're not an anti-growth group by any means," he says. "It's more a matter of making sure that the growth that happens here is appropriate, fits a need, and that the benefit of the project outweighs the impact of it."
Dan and Claudia Aragon of Salt Lake City, young parents in their 20s, also share their reservations about what growth will mean to their young children. Moving north on I-15, KUED talks with the McPhersons of Fruit Heights, who have eight children. Having moved back to their native Utah after living in Seattle, the McPhersons talk about the changes they've seen along the Wasatch Corridor.
Focusing on families, Utah: Is This Still the Place? empowers individual residents to be part of the discussion. "We concentrated on families to get personal perspectives on growth - both good and bad," says Thompson. "We find out how individuals plan to maintain the quality of their lives in the midst of rapid growth. People may not like it, but there's a sense that it is inevitable. This issue doesn't have any easy answers."
Thompson hopes the documentary will generate dialogue about growth among Utahns. "Each community and each family has got to come to their own conclusions about how to deal with growth. How Salt Lake City decides to handle its problems may not be the appropriate solution for Nephi or Tooele."
Part of the challenge in producing Utah: Is This Still the Place? was taking cameras into families, according to Thompson. "We had to make sure individuals were comfortable with a television crew inside their homes who followed them in their day-to-day activities. I spent some time talking to the families, listening to their concerns, and developing their trust so that we could record their lives for a broad audience," he says. "Ultimately, it's their story - they are the individuals making conscious choices about how they'll face impending growth in Utah."
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