Washington City Mayor Kress Staheli in front of City Hall, Washington City, Utah, Nov. 24, 2021. Staheli is the author of a letter to the editor submitted to St. George News. | File photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
OPINION – Washington City started 165 years ago with 38 pioneer families determined to grow cotton. Later generations succeeded in gardening and farming operations, with a few hometown businesses intermixed. The population of the city fluctuated some over the years but remained fairly level for multiple generations.
Life in Utah’s Dixie required grit, determination, faith and hard work. Just recently, the city has begun transitioning from a place of merely surviving to one of thriving. Our pioneer ancestors would be quite surprised to see Washington today.
What started as a small agricultural community has now grown into the No. 1 small city in America to start a business according to a recent ranking from WalletHub. This ranking took into consideration three factors: access to resources, cost to do business and business environment.
This is a ranking to be proud of, yet not surprising considering our strong roots. We’ve worked hard in recent years to create a culture that shows we’re open for business for anyone wanting to harness their entrepreneurial spirit in starting and growing a company. The WalletHub study ranked Washington No. 1 in start-ups per capita and No. 1 in highest average growth in number of small businesses.
If you were to start a business in the near future, wouldn’t you seek a place that is business friendly, a place with population growth to sustain a robust market and workforce, a place with the quality of life to attract employees and a place where a business license could be easily obtained? Wouldn’t you choose a place such as Washington?
We’ve made considerable capital investments in our infrastructure. Our city’s roads, power grid, water, sewer, storm drains and tech infrastructure are capable of supporting an educated and skilled workforce in a variety of fields. Our low tax rates and minimal red tape make starting a business attractive to veteran business owners or first-timers alike.
Our undeveloped land with access to Interstate 15 and state Route 7, along with close proximity to a regional airport, check the boxes many businesses desire. Our heritage and sense of community helps everyone feel welcome. Our recreation programs and vast network of parks and trails help sustain a healthy and active lifestyle. It’s easy to go from work to the top of a red rock cliff in a matter of minutes.
Smaller cities like ours offer benefits that larger cities do not. These include lower overhead costs, stronger relationships with customers and the potential to become a “big fish in a little pond.” With 98% of our building permits being residential over the past couple of years, we have the rooftops to support commercial development right here. Those under my roof are ready for more restaurants and retail options. I think it would be great to have more grocery stores and entertainment options as well.
Now is the time to start, open and grow a business in Washington. With our No. 1 ranking as proof, we’re open for business for those with the same characteristics as our first settlers: those who want to succeed while contributing to our elevated quality of life. As major, I look forward to being at your groundbreaking and grand opening!
Submitted by KRESS STAHELI, Greater Washington City.
Letters to the Editor are not the product of St. George News, its editors, staff or news contributors. The matters stated and opinions given are the responsibility of the person submitting them. They do not reflect the product or opinion of St. George News and are given only light edit for technical style and formatting.