Newly elected Springdale mayor plans to tackle town’s issues, revive community feel

SPRINGDALE — Newly elected Springdale Mayor Barbara Bruno says she has the energy to make a difference and add amenities to the town. 

The newly elected mayor, Barbara Bruno, plans to make Springdale more of a community like it used to be before it got so busy, Springdale, Utah, Nov. 19, 2021 | Photo by Stephanie DeGraw, St. George News

“I joined the Planning Commission, and I am chair of that commission this year,” Bruno said. “I realized pretty early that I could make a difference in a small town like this. So it still felt like I have a lot of energy and even time to make a difference in this community that I loved so much.”

Bruno owned a home in Springdale for about 10 years and permanently moved there 2 1/2 ago when she retired. She spent her career working in stockholder relations, sales and marketing positions. Bruno has worked for DuPont, Northwest Pipeline Corporation, MCI Telecommunications, Milliken and Herman Miller. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business and economics from Westminster College and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Utah.

Bruno said While the town understands the monetary benefit of tourism, she said, tourists sometimes forget residents live there. With this in mind, Bruno said her top priority will be improving the overall experience for Springdale residents. With this in mind, she said she hopes to improve and add some amenities such as a full medical clinic, retail pharmacy and a new post office.

“I’d like to keep the residents in mind. I’d like to have a town square with some benches and shade shelters,” she said. “Just try to make Springdale a little bit more of a community like it used to be before it got so busy.”

There are other issues Bruno plans to attend to with the help of the council and the Planning Commission. Housing and visitor overcrowding are at the top of the list.

Springdale is located immediately outside the boundaries of Zion National Park, Springdale, Utah, Nov. 19, 2021 | Photo by Stephanie DeGraw, St. George News

“Some of the most pressing issues are the availability of housing. And I’m not just talking about affordable housing. I’m talking about housing in general; we don’t have places for employees of the town or the national park or the businesses in town, to live to rent or to buy,” Bruno said. “We need to address overcrowding, we’ve got a lot more visitors coming than we like, and we’ve got our town turning into a parking lot. We need to get our arms around that.”

Attracting the right kind of visitor will help Springdale survive its growing popularity.

“We need to attract a different kind of visitor, one that understands the concept of ‘leave no trace.’ Our ideal visitor would be the visitor who comes in, stays in our hotels and inns and bed and breakfasts. They park their car and walk in. They ride bikes, and they take the shuttle into the park,” she said.

Bruno hopes to develop a campaign that encourages that kind of visitation. Zion National Park is getting so crowded that implementing a permit system for reservations may become necessary at some point.

Another concern the town faces is water supply.

“We need to pay attention to our water supply. We need to have a conservation effort and we need to reduce our carbon footprint,” Bruno said.

Her other priorities include reducing congestion to provide a better experience for residents and enforcement of existing ordinances versus passing new regulations.

 She has been meeting with town members to prepare for her first day in the office, which begins Jan. 3, 2022. 

“I look forward to the challenge,” she said. “I’m honored and energized about having won this election and serving the people of Springdale.”

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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