We would like to welcome the new St. George city leaders and show our support for those who are returning.
But with our welcome and support comes some concerns.
Although a majority of the university students didn’t vote, it doesn’t mean we are not your constituents. Every person in this city deserves representation whether that person voted for any of you, voted for a candidate who wasn’t elected, or didn’t vote at all.
Make St. George a university city
We’ve seen some evidence of this in the recent renaming of 700 East, but there remains much to be done.
When we hear you talk about making St. George a university city, we want to know specifically how. Will there be a push to open more university-friendly businesses in town that offer a place for students to hang out? Will the city be promoting a more expansive SunTran route that runs late at night and on Sundays so students can work and live off campus if they need to? What’s the plan? Tell us.
Create jobs for students
City leaders have often discussed about fostering an atmosphere that will entice students to choose Dixie State University as their destination school. Remember: Students attending DSU add to the local economy, and they can add even more if there are adequate jobs and housing available to them.
There’s been talk in the past about creating more jobs in our area. Our question is, how? What is the city doing right now to bring more employment opportunities to St. George?
Allow for university-friendly activities and venues
We must provide an atmosphere that is friendly toward university students who want something to do when they’re not working or in class.
Rather than creating criminals with ridiculous city codes that prohibit us from dancing or drinking, the city should be easing up on its overly strict dance hall laws and allow for a few alternatives.
The City Council has historically banned dance hall permits that would have created university-friendly environments in the downtown area. We’re urging you to rethink this bad policy. You’re not only hindering the local economy, but you’re also discouraging entrepreneurialism. On top of that, denying permits to businesses that cater to university students makes it seem like the city council simply doesn’t like university students.
And we know that can’t be true.
Expand housing for students
According to the 2013 fall semester bed count report, which was presented at the Sept. 20 board of trustees meeting, nearly every student housing option — both on campus and off — was filled almost to capacity. The only exception is Red Rock Ridge, at 77 percent capacity, which is located far enough away from campus that students typically need transportation to get to and from the university.
What will you be doing to better serve the students who need a place to stay while going to DSU? Will there be adjustments made to housing codes so more apartments can be built near campus? Will there be efforts made to increase transportation for those of us who aren’t lucky enough to land a spot near the university?
All these things are incredibly important now more than ever. Enrollment at DSU is dropping. We need to create an inviting and inclusive city. We can’t have St. George be a place of alienation. This has to be a place students want to come to.
We need off-campus housing options. We need job options. We need transportation options. We need entertainment options.
We need you to follow-through on your part. Make St. George into the thriving university city it should be. We are your constituents. Represent us.