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Provo retail woes seek solutions in community event

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Downtown Provo is the hip and happenin’ spot for love birds.

Downtown Provo is one of two Provo retail locations that is surviving. The other is the Shops at Riverwoods.

Years after the loss of major retail stores like Target and Nordstrom, Provo residents are questioning whether the city’s retail environment will thrive or be left forgotten.

Looking toward its big brother city to the north, Orem, residents wonder why Provo’s destination retail just isn’t happening.

And Mayor John Curtis is answering their retail therapy needs and pleas.

The City of Provo is holding a special Retail Town Hall Summit to openly discuss the retail environment with the community Wednesday, Feb. 11 at 7 p.m.

“I would like to discuss what the city is doing to attract sales tax dollars, some of the ins and out of incentives, what retail is doing on a more national scale, and how we are seeing the effects of it in our community,” Curtis said in a blog post here.

Curtis will open discussion on a few areas where Provo retail is obviously lacking, including where Cafe Rio and other tasty destinations sit alone at Plum Tree Plaza with the closing of Shopko, and where KMart left a vacant hole in East Bay.

“What’s been good for Orem may not be what’s best for Provo. We are different cities with different cultures. The uniqueness found in our two cities brings strength to both of us.” —Provo Mayor John Curtis

And although some residents would like to see Provo fill those spaces with retail similar to Orem, Curtis will protest and explain (with a “sarcastic smile and possible eye roll”) why there are alternative ways for Provo to prosper than mimicking Orem.

“What’s been good for Orem may not be what’s best for Provo. We are different cities with different cultures. The uniqueness found in our two cities brings strength to both of us,” Curtis said.

Provo receives many indirect benefits from Orem’s tax revenue, including funds for county roads, trails and not to leave out the $65,000,000 match for the Provo-Orem Bus Rapid Transit system.

And Curtis reminds residents that Provo is home to two large retail successes (Downtown Provo and the Shops at Riverwoods, where Provo broadcasts it’s charm to all who visit), and is rated #1 for Business and Careers by Forbes because of it’s widely acknowledged job growth and creation.

Provo Retail Summit will be conducted in the community section of the Recreation Center from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., and is open to all public. More information can be found on the city Facebook page.

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