Provo mayor responds to students’ questions

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“Get it done” is a great attitude for procrastination-prone students, but is also the attitude for which Provo Mayor John Curtis is known.

In an event Thursday hosted by BYUSA, Curtis greeted a small group of students in the Varsity Theatre to respond to questions and explain what is “getting done” in Provo.

Curtis began with what he described as one of his most interesting experiences as mayor: dealing with the fire at the Provo Tabernacle.

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Mayor John Curtis addresses students at the BYUSA Q&A session at the Varsity Theater on Thursday.
“I haven’t told a lot of people this because I’m a little embarrassed about the way I found out that there was a fire at the tabernacle,” Curtis said.

Curtis woke up for an early jog on his treadmill, where he turned on the news and saw flames billowing from the tabernacle. He rushed upstairs and found he had been sent a text just hours before letting him know of the incident.

Curtis dressed quickly, and threw on some thermals for what was sure to be a long day out in the cold.

“Within seconds of arriving at this fire … I had national media with a microphone underneath my chin asking me what I thought,” he said.

Curtis said although the tabernacle burning felt like a huge loss to the city, the city is excited about getting a temple downtown.

“I believe that we will see over the years, as that temple is built, tremendous influence around that area,” Curtis said.

Curtis opened his address to questions from the audience:

Q: How are they going to do parking around the temple?

A: Plans have not been finalized. But I think it’s fair to say that The Church [of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] is going to make sure that there is adequate parking.

Q: What is the city’s plan about making it a bike friendly city?

A: There is a tremendous interest, at all levels, to make the city more biker friendly. The city has hired a professional firm to study the city’s bike plans.

Q: Considering the recent assault at the Provo River Trail, what is the city doing to make that a safer trail?

A: All of us need to use really good judgment in what we do. I feel like the trail is very safe and my wife jogs on it daily. But my instructions to my wife and my kids is if it’s dark, be with somebody.

Q: What is the progress being made to create more flights to the Provo airport?

A: A couple of things have to happen. We need to keep that flight successful and somewhat full. We have to have the airline stay a little bit stable, long enough to add additional flights.

Q: What is the current situation with the Provo River?

A: I hope that we can have a really fantastic solution down there. What I mean by that is perhaps keep some flow of water down the old channel, move the river over and create a delta and then between the two have a fabulous area for recreation.

Q: What made you decide to run for mayor?

A: The best I can tell you is that I was compelled to do it. People don’t believe this, but I’m a shy guy. It was hard to put my name out there and my reputation out there for people to take shots at.

Q: How is the economy of Provo doing, better or worse [since he entered office]?

A: Provo right now is in the single largest economic burst in our city’s history. There is a real wave of optimism with our economy here locally.

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