Now that 2016 has come to an end, we’re taking a look back at the highs and lows of Lehi this past year. The following are our city’s top ten stories that we covered this year. We hope you enjoy this final look back at the year we’ve just left behind!
10. Lehi City Continues Major Public Works Projects
In 2016 there were two major road projects in Lehi City. The Center Street realignment was the largest project undertaken by the city. The engineering department and the streets division completed a major realignment of Center Street from approximately 1500 North to 2100 N. The realignment improved visibility and safety and required a coordinated effort between the city and private property owners. The project was completed in November, 2016.
The Streets Division also completed a major construction project at Ashton Boulevard in the summer of 2016. The division hired Geneva Rock to mill down the existing asphalt, remove the median barriers, and lay five inches of new asphalt. The project was budgeted at $810,217.87.
The Streets Division installed traffic signals at five new intersections to help with the flow of traffic. The new signals are located at:
- 1200 E. 3200 N.
- 1700 W. and Main Street
- 2300 W. and Ashton Boulevard
- Executive parkway and Ashton Boulevard.
On September 27th, the Lehi City Council received a presentation detailing the Dry Creek Dam and Debris Basin, or the Dry Creek Reservoir, as it will be known upon completion. This project is being created as a water storage facility, but will surely become a hot spot in the summer months for the variety of fun water activities it will provide. It will be in North East Lehi.
Lehi Engineer Lorin Powell, said “it’s a real neat thing,” and he estimates that eventually the city would need approximately $10 million to complete the project and bring the water system to the citizens of Lehi. The dam would also be constructed to provide recreational amenities to the residents of Lehi and surrounding area, such as boating, fishing, and beach areas. The project would be like similar water facilities in Herriman and Springville.
The North Utah County Water Conservancy District is the owner and operator of the facility, but Lehi City will share a portion of the cost to complete a permanent storage reservoir.
9. LHS Football Returns to Playoffs
The Lehi Pioneer football team made a return to the playoffs after a 12-year drought. Junior quarterback Cammon Cooper lead the Pioneers to an 8-4 record with a first round playoff win against Sky View before falling to eventual state champion, the Bingham Miners. Lehi finished the season with a 4-2 region record, ranked 8th in the state and ranked 616 nationally.
Depth was a big factor as the season wore on. With the opening of Skyridge High School, many students who would have been on Lehi’s team transferred. This hurt Lehi’s special teams the most and required many players to play offense and defense. Players who may not have seen playing time in years past along with younger players had to step up and had more opportunities.
With the hurdle of still being a 5A school, playing with a semi-depleted roster, and a smaller student body, Lehi rose to the challenge to have a special season.
Quarterback Cooper finished the season with 309 completions out of 486 attempts. He had 38 touchdowns to 13 interceptions, with a quarterback rating of 104.8. He also added three rushing touchdowns.
Running back Grayden Hadfield (SR) averaged 5.1 yards per carry on 168 carries for 858 yards and ten rushing touchdowns and five touchdowns through the air.
Receiver Kade Moore (Jr) led the team in receiving touchdowns with twelve on the season. Moore finished the season with 72 receptions for 1073 yards.
Tight ends Dallin Holker (Jr) and Carson Terrell (Sr) both saw action in many two tight end sets. Holker finished with 105 receptions, 1295 yards and eleven touchdowns. Terrell, often the safety valve for Cooper, caught 57 passes for 837 yards and eight touchdowns.
On the defensive side of the ball, Will Overstreet (Jr) lead the team with three interceptions and three caused fumbles followed by Qi’Sean Rust (Jr), Oakley Krumvieda (So) and Jase Andersen (Jr) each with two interceptions.
Terrell lead the team with three sacks and 10.5 tackles for a loss while also finishing third on the team with 83 tackles. Overstreet lead the team with 93 total tackles followed by linebacker Zach Bingham (Sr) with 84.
The 2017-2018 school year will bring new opportunities and challenges. A new 6A region will be introduced in next school year. LHS sports will all move back down to 4A except for football, which will stay 5A. With many of the 5A schools moving up to 6A and some 4A schools moving into the 5A bracket, Lehi football will still have a smaller student body to pull from compared to many of the other 5A schools.
8. Strength for Shelbie Luce
KADEE JO JONES
Coming in at number eight on our top stories list is beloved Lehi teenager, Shelbie Luce, and her battle with cancer. In July, Shelbie was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) and just a few short days later, started her first round of chemotherapy. AML is a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow which exhibits excess immature white blood cells.
With the first day of school just one month away, Shelbie found out she would miss her senior year at Lehi High School. Despite the challenging news, her friends and the community rallied around her by showing love and support and by raising money for her medical costs.
Several fundraisers were held in honor of Shelbie. The first was a bake sale held in the Maverick parking lot on Main Street. Several other fundraisers soon followed, including a silent auction at The Gardens at Dry Creek and many “miracles minutes” at various LHS events. Through the generous donations of the community, thousands of dollars were raised to assist the Luce family.
Friends and community members did more than raise money however, they showed support by creating a campaign called, “Strength for Shelbie.” T Shirts were made in honor of Shelbie, as well as lanyards and car decals. “Strength for Shelbie” is also a hashtag for all to use to show support for Shelbie and her family.
One special event showed Shelbie the community would always be there for her. After Shelbie’s first round of chemo, the doctors released her to come home for a week. Shelbie’s friends and family took advantage of that opportunity and decorated the roads leading to her home with pink ribbons. When Shelbie pulled up to her house, a crowd of loved ones stood by to greet her and the day was not only a happy one for Shelbie, but for everyone involved.
Her battle with cancer has been long as Shelbie has now undergone four rounds of chemo, and has been in and out of Primary Children’s Hospital for the past five months. She recently finished her last round of chemo and is currently going through tests to determine her cell counts.
Shelbie says, “As I look back at all the support I’ve been given by my family, friends, and the community, I realize that I would not have been able to get through this trial without them. I have felt everyone’s love for me and my family, and for that, I am so grateful.”
The dictionary defines courage as, “The ability to do something that frightens one,” but in Lehi, we define courage as 17-year-old Shelbie Luce, who inspires us to be strong every day.
7. Lehi Hosts Tour of Utah Stage Four
For seven days in August 2016, Utah hosted one of the top international cycling events. Stage Four of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah started at the IM Flash campus in Lehi. Elite cycling teams from all over the world started their 95 mile ride with a party in front of IM Flash that included BMX bicycle stunt performers, a climbing wall, face paint, and great food.
At noon on August 4, 2016, the top ten racers were announced and made their way to the Stage Four starting line. When Lehi’s very own Taylor (TJ) Eisenhart’s name was called, the crowd at IM Flash went crazy cheering on their hometown favorite. Eisenhart was voted Fan Favorite of the Tour of Utah, getting more than 55% of the votes. Australian David Lachlan Morton was the overall winner of the Tour of Utah, with TJ Eisenhart coming in seventh overall.
Taylor Eisenhart discovered his passion for cycling after a family trip to France when he was seven years old. It was 2001 and the Eisenhart family was there to witness Lance Armstrong win the Tour de France. His parents, Tim and Donnalee, bought TJ a bike and he, his Dad, and brother competed in local races. By the time he was 16 years old, TJ Eisenhart was racing for Team USA. After a successful amateur career, he was signed by BMC to race for the developmental team of the World Tour. Eisenhart is one of only two Americans on the BMC team and most of his training and races are in Europe. The Tour of Utah was very special for Eisenhart, riding on familiar roads and being cheered on by family and friends.
6. Elsie Mahe’s Passing Touches Lehi and the World
SALLY F. FRANCOM
On November 29, 2016, three-year-old Elsie Mahe, daughter of BYU assistant football coach and former NFL player Reno Mahe, and his wife, Sunny Mahe passed away due to a tragic accident at home after nearly a week in Primary Children’s Hospital. Elsie’s death was caused by being entangled in blind cords. Her story galvanized the Lehi and Traverse Mountain community. Thousands of people prayed for her, donated time, talents, services, and goods to the Mahe family.
Elsie’s sweet personality was evident in the many photos and drawings which were posted online. News organizations throughout the country reported the story and a GoFundMe account has raised nearly $85,000 to date. At least eight people received life-saving organs from Elsie and the conversation regarding organ donation and becoming an organ donor has been raised to the top of public conversation.
According to Reno and Sunny, one of the bittersweet outcomes of their tragedy is that for many, Elsie’s story has renewed their faith. In a Facebook post on December 12, Sunny Mahe wrote, “Thank you to those of you who have shared how Elsie’s story has helped you to have a change of heart or feel closer to Christ. This is the true miracle of Elsie’s life. She saved physical lives through the miracle of organ donation, but will help save souls through those of you who allow her story to touch your heart and motivate you to live better, be kinder and have a bright hope for the future.”
To learn more about becoming an organ donor, visit www.yesutah.org, or call 1-866-YES-UTAH.
5. Broadbent’s Sold to Lehi City
In 1882 Joseph and Sarah Broadbent built a small shop onto their home and opened a general store. For 134 years, Broadbent’s has been in the same place, an icon in Lehi. The merchandise they’ve carried as well as the building itself, has changed drastically over the years, but the hard-working, family-friendly, hometown feel has stayed the same. On October 25, 2016, the final papers were signed and Broadbent’s was sold to Lehi City.
In a pamphlet detailing the history of the store there is a note from John, Alice, Nann, David and Betty Broadbent: “This business has survived through wars and depression. It has seen over a century of change and growth. Yet, one thing remains constant: the tradition of hard work, service, and dedication to our customers that began with Joseph Broadbent in 1882. The business is ‘the people’ business and we love and appreciate our customers; they become our dear friends.”
Betty Broadbent Anderson is the last member of the Broadbent family to run the business. At 71, she has dedicated her life to the store and feels this is the best thing for her to do for her family. “I have been tied to the store my entire life. The building is in need of many improvements. The furnace is on its last leg and the roof leaks.”
According to Cameron Boyle, Lehi City is looking to develop the property where Broadbent’s stands as a public safety complex, but no timeline has been established. Broadbent’s will continue to be open until more details are worked out. Readers are encouraged to patronize the store during the transition until a closing date is announced.
4. Lehi’s Traffic Issues Continue
Lehi City continued to grapple with growth in 2016. One of the areas where increased population creates problems is in traffic congestion. There are three parts of the city where traffic problems are most troubling.
- Main Street – Main Street is a Lehi City managed road, and on some mornings and afternoons, making a left turn from a side street on to Main Street can take several minutes. Often drivers will take alternative routes to expedite travel or make U-turns on side streets to gain access to Main. With Main Street being a two-way street, no relief is in sight. The city has considered several proposals to ease the traffic burden, including creating one way streets on nearby side streets and widening Main Street. Neither option is popular with Lehi residents.
- Thanksgiving Point Interchange — The interchange and the areas surrounding the Thanksgiving Point exit at I-15 continue to be the most congested area of the City. UDOT is responsible for the build and upkeep of this intersection. A plan to revise it is slated to begin in 2020. Residents who live and work in this area complain that gaining access to I-15, either to exit or enter, may take up to 20 minutes in peak traffic times. Side streets in the area are also crowded. Several groups, including Lehi City are working to move up the timeline for retrofit of this intersection. The Utah State Legislature holds the UDOT purse strings, so expect this issue to be addressed in the upcoming legislative session.
- Retail Area/State Street and Main Street Merge – The retail area at the merge of State Street and Main Street in East Lehi is one of the busiest intersections in Utah County. Lehi City and UDOT manage these roads. There is a plan to add traffic islands to Main Street prior to the merge, but merchants in the area are not happy with the UDOT plan as presented. With additional retail and residential projects already approved for the area, traffic at this intersection and surrounding area will not improve.
3. Lehi City’s Growth Continues
In 2016 the Lehi City Council approved several very large developments. The Holbrook Farms development and The Exchange development, both on the West side of Lehi will add approximately 4,000 housing units to the city. Holbrook Farms includes approximately 686 acres located at 2100 N. 3600 W. It is being developed by Ivory Homes and the Boyer Company and includes residential and commercial acreage. The Exchange, which is being developed by Edge Homes, is primarily a high-density residential project located at 3600 W. 1500 N.
In 2016 there were 548 residential building permits issued and 195 commercial building permits issued. This is compared to 464 building permits in 2015 and 165 commercial building permits issued in 2015. According to Mayor Bert Wilson, Lehi is the fifth fastest growing city in the United States.
Presently, approximately 52% of Lehi land is undeveloped. Most of this land is the South and West part of the city.
2. Skyridge High School Opens
One of the biggest changes to occur in Lehi during 2016 was the opening of Skyridge High School. The new school, located at 3000 North Center Street, opened in August, and currently has a student body of about 2,500 students in grades 9-12. The Falcons sport school colors of orange and grey, so it has been interesting to see new logos and colors around Lehi.
Skyridge is a beautiful facility with a center commons area, a fine arts wing, a sports wing, and classroom wings. It features a large main gym which has been nicknamed “The Falcon Nest.” The school allows faculty to use the most updated technology in their classrooms. Located on a 60-acre parcel there is space for both sports fields and practice fields as well as a Driver’s Education range. The school parcel is bordered on the south by property owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where a new Seminary building opened at the same time as the high school.
The students and faculty at Skyridge are working hard to make sure the first year at Skyridge is a success. They have focused on building new traditions, serving the community, and fostering school spirit. A new school song, cheers, and lots of apparel are being used to build a school identity. Because some faculty moved from Lehi High School to Skyridge, some of the events traditionally held at LHS, such as the Mascot Bowl, have moved to the new school.
Although most high schools in Alpine School District are three-year high schools, Skyridge is a four-year high school and will be until a new junior high is completed in Lehi. Given Lehi’s rapid growth, Skyridge will need a ten-classroom portable addition for the 2017-2018 school year.
1. Parks and Rec Bond Fails to Pass
SALLY F. FRANCOM
Due to polls, citizen input and residents’ consistent complaint about lack of adequate recreational facilities in Lehi, on August 23, 2016, the Lehi City Council approved the placement of a $50,000,000 general obligation bond to be placed before voters in the November 8, 2016 election.
This was the first time in history that a city bond was placed before Lehi voters. The centerpiece of the bond was the construction of Rhodes Mellor Park, at a cost of $21 million. Other projects included $8 million for the development on Peck Park and funds for future parks and trails development.
The bond failed by a vote of 6,442 for passage (39.30%) versus 9,949 against passage (60.70%). In addition to Mayor Bert Wilson, each member of the Lehi City Council publicly announced their endorsement of the bond.
Now development of new larger parks to accommodate softball, baseball, lacrosse, and soccer tournaments and expansion of recreational programs will be delayed, despite continued population growth in the City.
According to a statement found on the official “Let’s Play Lehi” website, which was created to inform voters, “Lehi City is changing and growing – quickly. This rapid growth has created a need for additional parks, trails, and open spaces to preserve our quality of life, maintain our city’s small town feel, and support desired sports programming. In 2016, Lehi City asked the voters to consider a general obligation bond on the ballot as a possible funding solution to make much-needed updates to our existing parks and trails program and to purchase land for future projects. We thank the many citizens that came out to voice your opinion – a majority felt that the Parks Bond was not the best direction to deal with our growing needs as a city. However, it did not eliminate the desire among residents to add additional parks and open spaces to help our city keep up with current and anticipated growth. We are still looking for solutions and we need your voice.”