Candidates talk roads, recreation, business for Parowan

Parowan City Main Street, Parowan, Utah, date not specified | Photo by Corey McNeil, St. George News

PAROWAN — Municipal elections are around the corner and four candidates for Parowan City Council are aiming to land one of three open positions. Some are looking to work with how the city manages road repairs while others would like to concentrate more on city growth.

Alan Adams

Alan Adams was born and raised in Parowan. He is an incumbent candidate and said he likes the idea of helping out a community that has been such a big part of his life. Adams, along with his twin brother and son, manage approximately 1,300 acres of farmland in the area.

While he is just finishing up his first term on City Council, Adams said, the council is not the only time he has served his community; he previously served a total of 16 years on the school board.

I just felt really good about the things we tried to do (in the council),” Adams said.

Should his desire to hold onto his council seat come to bear fruit, Adams said, one of the main things he would like to begin concentrating on is the state of Parowan’s roads and working to repair them.

“That’s probably our single biggest complaint,” Adams said. “… That’s one of the big issues. We’re trying to formulate a plan to get some roadwork done.”

There has also been some discussion in the council, Adams said, of possibly putting in a splash pad or tennis courts where families and children can come and have some fun in the community.

“It’s kind of on my wish-list I guess you could say,” Adams said.

Even if he does not secure a seat in this election, Adams said he would still offer his services to the city in other ways, such as on a committee or even more than one.

While some could consider an incumbent candidate to have a leg-up over the competition, Adams said, it also leaves room for some to be critical over past policies or changes he helped put in motion.

“You never know how people feel,” Adams said, “we’ll just have to see.”

Vickie Hicks

Business is the name of the game for council candidate Vickie Hicks. The Texas native, along with her husband, were 7-Eleven franchisees for 43 years until they decided to retire in Southern Utah.

Originally, the Hickses had moved to Paragonah until deciding to move to Parowan to run a bed-and-breakfast three years ago – a decision they have been quite happy with, Hicks said.

“It’s a wonderful little community and a wonderful little town,” Hicks said. “You couldn’t ask for a better atmosphere.”

Having adopted their 10-year-old grandson at birth, Hicks said, both she and her husband felt like the school system in Parowan would also be a great place to raise a young boy. All of this, she said, factors into how much she loves the area.

Since moving to Parowan, Hicks said, she has felt that adding another business person, such as herself, to the council would be a benefit to the community.

“I could see some need in the community I thought,” Hicks said of bringing her business experience to the council.

If elected, Hicks said she could see a couple different areas where she could help improve Parowan, and the first one she wants to tackle is growth.

“Number one: We need growth,” Hicks said, “and we need growth mainly because of our schools.”

Having served as the Parent Teacher Organization president over recent years, Hicks said, she has seen a significant increase in class size and a drop in the number of teachers.

One area of growth Hicks said she wants to concentrate on is that of business – because business supports community.

“In order to keep taxes down for the residents and such, we need more business,” she said. “So I’m a big proponent of growth and a healthy community as far as our businesses.”

If things end up not going her way and she does not gain a seat on the council, Hicks said, she will continue to stay involved in the community and continue to serve on boards and committees —just as she has over the last years.

“I’m a firm believer that if you want things to happen you can either sit back and complain about it,” Hicks said, “or you can get out there and help be not a part of the problem but part of the solution.”

Jay Orton

Incumbent candidate Jay Orton, who was also born and raised in Parowan, said while he does work in Cedar City, he loves living in Parowan because of the quiet atmosphere and the recreational opportunities for both him and his wife.

“For the most part that’s what I enjoy,” Orton said. “I like to be out hiking and riding dirt bikes and those types of things.”

This run for City Council isn’t Orton’s first time stepping into the political world, having spent about three years on the Planning and Zoning Committee for Parowan as well as working as a fill-in council member after Councilman Steve Weston stepped down. Orton began his position in June and will hold the seat until the end of 2015.

“I applied for the vacancy thinking, ‘this is going to be a great opportunity to see if this was something I really want to do,’” Orton said.

If he retains a spot on the council, Orton said one of the things he wants to continue pushing for is ensuring that Parowan residents’ ideas and voices have a place in the council and other city meetings.

“One of the reasons being,” he said of his determination to see residents’ heard, “I’m not extremely experienced, and I don’t claim to know what I’m doing for the most part; but having those conversations with the residents and making sure they are represented is certainly something I’m really trying to focus a lot of effort on.”

Depending on how the elections pan out, Orton said, he would not be opposed to serving the community on a committee or other governing board in the city.

“Something that I would really be interested in doing is being a lot more involved in maybe the Chamber of Commerce or something along those lines,” he said.

Nathan Thayer

Council candidate Nathan Thayer said he’s been a Parowan resident since 1992 when his family moved to the area. Since that time, he has worked to establish himself as part of the community, he said.

Thayer has been involved in the construction industry in the area for 20 years and in 2010 started Iron Gate Builders. He has been building homes and commercial projects across Iron County, he said.

Growing up in Parowan and making close friends there also helped Thayer to discover the joy of being a volunteer firefighter, he said, something he began doing in 2009. Now a battalion chief, this is just one more way Thayer helps serve his community.

If elected, the expansion and growth of Parowan is something Thayer said he would like to first concentrate on.

“I know we have some developers looking at doing some subdivisions here in Parowan,” Thayer said. “So, getting maybe lower impact fees and trying to encourage growth would probably be the first things.”

Thayer’s position as the vice president of the Iron County Home Builders Association is something he said allows him to have a deep understanding of the local economy and how maintaining a controlled rate of growth affects it.

Should he not be elected for a spot on one of the open council seats, Thayer said he will continue to be involved with the local community government and the decisions being made.

I try to be pretty involved no matter what,” Thayer said. “Even if I don’t make it onto the City Council, I’ll continue to go to the City Council meetings and let my ideas be heard and (give) my input.”

Election date

Municipal elections begin Nov. 3, and members of the public are encouraged to turn out, get involved and cast their vote. A full list of those running in Southern Utah municipal elections can be found here.

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