Provo City should focus on attracting entrepreneurs not chasing them away

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Provo City spends more time discussing and worrying about parking than encouraging entrepreneurship, attracting scalable ventures, and keeping the jobs and businesses created by entrepreneurs in the city.

It's no wonder cities like Lehi are flourishing when their administrations and city councils open their policies and communities to entrepreneurial ventures and businesses -- while Provo is losing almost every tech startup and growing venture to cities like Lehi. The jobs created in Lehi, for example, are at wages and salaries that can support a family, and the new, modern housing is being created, purchased, and is escalating in value. An economy set for the next decades is being established.

In contrast, Provo City is continuing to spend inordinate time discussing parking and aggressively citing entrepreneurs and business people who attend grassroots meetings, the very purpose of which is to attract and create startup companies that will be tomorrow's leaders and sources of job creation. These entrepreneurs create real jobs that pay living wages, unlike sales tax darlings that pay low wages.

In a misguided attempt to assumedly increase parking revenue, a new parking manager was told to get aggressive. How was this manifested? Well, for some reason (unclear and certainly not imminent requiring immediate change), a significant swath of on-street parking near The Startup Building at 100 W and 600 S in Provo was changed to "No Parking Anytime" -- which is bad enough -- but it was the way it was done that really chases away entrepreneurs. With inadequate small signage, no transition warning, and extremely aggressive policing, tickets were handed out like business cards at a networking event. "Thanks for coming to the meeting our economic development group wants you to attend, and here's your $30 parking ticket." For years, many of us have been supporting growth in this once-blighted area and worked to create a bastion of entrepreneurial activity. Then, in 2018, as the new administration is getting underway, lip service gave way to real intent -- parking citation revenue. Be careful about attending One Million Cups (a cool weekly entrepreneurial meeting) -- the free event may cost you $30. Guests and locals have been parking on the street in the same place for almost a decade during this area revival, but starting in 2018 during this very meeting they are getting tagged with $30 parking tickets.

I immediately told Provo City about this ill-guided move, but nothing has been done to truly remedy it. Talk is cheap.

The Solution: Every one of those tickets should be dismissed, a transition period should be administered in the area with proper signage to highlight the change, and all of this should not start until there is a need (meaning something is changing in the area - nothing has and no information has been provided on timing).

Sadly, this is a symptom of a bigger problem. Putting petty issues before larger issues is a bureaucratic takeover of government. It rewards bureaucrats with jobs and pay and revenue that is unproductive in society. I'm taking my entrepreneurship and activity to another city until Provo can wake up and do right by its entrepreneurs.

Please join and tell Provo City to focus on attracting jobs and new ventures instead of citing startup entrepreneurs -- who are supporting the City's economic development efforts -- with expensive parking tickets with no reason for doing so.



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