A year in review: 2018 Annual Report

During the past several years, Wasatch County has seen strong economic growth which can be attributed to a myriad of factors, including a 4.7 percent population boom and a job growth rate of 8.5 percent. In addition to continuing to be one of the fastest growing counties in the United States, Wasatch County has also seen significant levels of business investment and expansion—much of which is highlighted in the Heber Valley Chamber of Commerce’s 2018 Annual Report.

From January through December of 2018, the Heber Valley Chamber of Commerce supported 22 ribbon cuttings, grand openings, and ground breakings. The more significant investments made into the community include the Heber Valley Hospital expansion and the construction of the new Rocky Mountain Care facility. Between the construction and expansion of these two facilities alone, more than $60 million was invested into the community.

Other highlights from the Chamber of Commerce include another successful Dine-Around, a record-breaking golf tournament that raised $10,000, the launch of Heber City’s Community Alliance for Main Street, and the most successful Christmas Gala program to date. Additionally, the Heber Valley Chamber of Commerce reached new heights by having 250 paying members offering their support.

Heber Valley’s tourism economy continues generating important revenues for Wasatch County. The dollars generated from visitors helps keep local taxes lower while helping the local cities and the county provide needed services. In 2018, transient room tax increased by approximately 20.2 percent over 2017. Sales tax collections also increased by 8.86 percent.

Some of the highlights from Heber Valley’s tourism include hosting the Utah Outdoor Recreation Summit—an event that brought nearly 400 state leaders together to highlight the importance of tourism and recreation. Additionally, creative digital marketing campaigns, radio spots, social media promotions, tradeshows, and media events helped further Heber Valley as a world-class visitor destination.

The enclosed annual report highlights Heber Valley’s many successes in 2018 and captures the vision of what this valley can become: a year-round destination where people can live, work, and play.

See the original report at gohebervalley.com.

2018 Heber Valley Annual Report – Throughout the year, we’ve seen significant business expansion projects, including a $60-million expansion between the Rocky Mountain Care facility and the Heber Valley Hospital. Other highlights include the development of a 10-point economic development plan, the launching of the first-ever Wasatch Back  Economic Summit, the installation of new wayfinding signs, and our hosting the 2018 Outdoor Recreation Summit. Indeed, this year has been busy and exciting.

Heber Valley Artisan Cheese held their 2nd annual Ice Sculptures Exhibition this weekend. Several local businesses sponsored the sculptures being displayed. There were also two different ice carving demonstrations. The event was free to the public.

The annual event began last year when Carolee Kohler saw ice sculpting on a Hallmark movie and thought it would be a fun idea for their farm. They are also considering a woodcarving event.

According to Lindsey Strother, social media and events coordinator, each sculpture takes between 1-3 hours to carve. “We contacted Amazing Ice Creations back in November, and we reached out to local companies to sponsor the ice sculptures,” she said. “Yesterday morning around 9 am, they came in a massive truck and dropped them all off for us, and we set them up.”

Along with the ice sculptures, sponsors receive a sign and canopy for the display and social media marketing. The sponsors decide what they want to have sculpted. After the event, they can take the ice sculptures and display them at their businesses. The creations normally last a couple of weeks. Some will be left in the field and can be viewed throughout the week.

The ice this year included Olaf, company logos, animals, and other items. Darron Kingston, the sculptor, has carved ice for over 10 years with his dad. According to Kingston, “I like sculptures that give me a challenge. Here, for example, my favorite was the lumberjack.” One of his favorite past creations was a 9-foot bear.

Grant Kohler, owner of Heber Valley Artisan Cheese, explained, “We decided to do something that was free and something that people could just get out and come and enjoy. Especially this year with Covid, it seems like Januarys are slow months. People are looking for things to be able to get outside and do.” He continued, “Businesses pay in and buy the sculptures, we have them sculpted, and then we just let people come and enjoy them.” Kohler estimated around 3,000 to 4,000 people will stop by the event.

The dairy farm also offers cheese-making classes and tours of their new robotic barn. “The tours are everyday except Sunday,” according to Kohler. “People hayride over, intermingle with the cows, see the barn and amenities, and watch the cows be milked. The cows will literally go get milked on their own.” Tickets for the tours and other events are available on the Heber Valley Artisan Cheese website: https://hebervalleyartisancheese.com/.