By Myrna Trauntvein
Richfield could serve as an example of what attracting a hotel to a community could do for the local economy.
Seth Atkinson showed several maps of the progression of businesses attracted to the Richfield area once a Comfort Inn was built in 2002.
“Richfield saw a lot of complementary businesses build around the site of the hotel,” said Atkinson.
Surrounding developments after the hotel was built included: the Hampton Inn (2003) and the Fairfield Inn and Suites (2007).
Miller’s Gas Station, Wendy’s and Taco Bell were all in place in 2004.
Winger’s Restaurant came in 2006 and Home Depot followed in 2009.
By 2014 Costa Vida had been added.
“Those complimentary businesses would all be taxable,” he said. “They would also increase the sales tax for Nephi just as they did in Richfield.”
Richfield is next to the I-70 corridor just as Nephi is near the I-15 corridor.
“Nephi is in a good position,” said Mark Jones, mayor. “We are centrally located in the state.”
Looking at the maps, said Atkinson, the viewer can see the clustering near the first hotel complex. The businesses moved into the same area as the Hampton Inn.
Complementary development is usually combined in such a way as to form a complete whole or enhance each other.
The new businesses should attract developers who might also be interested in the existing business and not one that competes with it. For instance, a supermarket might want a dry cleaning establishment next door; people who come to get their clothes clean may shop for groceries at the same time.
A supermarket would not want another supermarket next door or a produce market.
However, in the case of Richfield, the Comfort Inn was followed by the Fairfield Inn and Suites.
“Richfield is my home,” said Greg Rowley, council member.
That was where he grew up and he said that, contrary to the belief of some, Richfield was not that much larger than Nephi. The total population for Richfield in 2016 was 7,592.
Nephi was listed at 5,560.
In 1990, Richfield was listed at 5,593 and Nephi at 3,515.
According to Best Cities Compare, the change in population from 1990 to now was 35.74 percent for Richfield and 58.18 percent for Nephi.
“The growth of business and the increase in sales tax have come as a benefit of the addition of the hotel,” Rowley said.
Don Ball asked why the hotel was not planned for the north Nephi area near the freeway interchange.
The fact that Central Valley Medical Center was located near the north Nephi freeway interchange would mean that the infrastructure was in close proximity and there was no development in that section.
“It is not annexed,” said Atkinson. “It would still be in the 100s of thousands to take the infrastructure further into that area.”
In the future, that area between Nephi and Mona at the north interchange would likely develop, said Jones.
However, for the time being, the city council thought that the land near the south interchange would be the best for development.
Atkinson said that the hotel developer also thought the area was a good place for the hotel to be built.