Community brainstorms ideas to get ‘Provo Accelerated’

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City of Provo's Chief Administrative Officer Wayne Parker leads Provo Accelerated's community forum Tuesday night. Parker and his committee hope to enhance the lives of Provo residents through technology. (Sierra Baker)
City of Provo’s Chief Administrative Officer Wayne Parker leads Provo Accelerated’s community forum Tuesday night. Parker and his committee hope to enhance the lives of Provo residents through technology. (Sierra Baker)

Provo residents helped develop a technology-based action plan proponents say will benefit the community at a public forum Tuesday night.

The City of Provo created a strategic planning effort known as Provo Accelerated earlier this year committed to enhancing the lives of residents through the city’s unique technology.

“If Provo becomes the most connected city in the nation, which we think it will be, what does that mean for the community?” Provo City Chief Administrative Officer Wayne Parker asked his audience Tuesday night. “That’s when the idea of Provo Accelerated came up.”

Provo, being one of the first “Google Fiber Cities,” has access to some of the highest broadband speeds in the country.

“Technology is putting Provo on the map,” said forum participant Colt Henrie.

Provo City directs the Provo Accelerated program, but it is largely driven by the community. Provo Accelerated held a forum where over 100 residents heard about the city’s plans and added input Oct. 28.

Community members listen to presentations at Provo Accelerated's public forum. Provo City presented planned outcomes in health care, family and community, the social sector and digital inclusion, entrepreneurship and education. (Sierra Baker)
Community members listen to presentations at Provo Accelerated’s public forum. Provo City presented planned outcomes in health care, family and community, the social sector and digital inclusion, entrepreneurship, and education. (Sierra Baker)

Provo Accelerated focuses on five main areas: health care, entrepreneurship, family and community, the social sector and digital inclusion, and education. Each category has a committee that put together a plan of hopeful outcomes in Provo over the next 12–18 months.

Participants heard these objectives during the forum. They then broke into teams to engage in discussion and contribute their own thoughts for each plan.

Some of the forum’s potential ideas for the future include creating digital apps for the Provo community, establishing public WiFi hotspots throughout the city and hiring Google certified teachers in Provo’s schools. Provo Accelerated also plans to incorporate BYU in its plans. The healthcare committee hopes to partner with the university to provide telehealth access for students, delivering health-related services to them through digital information and technology systems.

“Technology in the community is as important as water is to the body,” said Scott Bowles, a Provo City employee who helped with the forum. “Technology touches everything, so it is everything.”

The minds behind Provo Accelerated hope people will use the city’s accelerated Internet speeds for more than simply streaming Netflix. They want to maximize the value of Provo’s technology to the advantage of all community members, accelerating the city to a bright future.

“I think it’s great that they brought this idea out to the community so that everyone can be involved in sharing their knowledge to make something that seems impossible into reality,” said Kassidi Henrie, a forum participant.

Visit Provo Accelerated’s website to learn more about the effort.

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