In the Spotlight: Lehi, Utah
Lehi's slogan really says it all: "it's a good place to live". And it truly is, for a number of reasons!
First off, there is the absolutely stunning natural surroundings. The southern portions of the community touch on the northern bank of Utah Lake and the horizons in all directions are dominated by towering mountain peaks. Lehi is nestled beautifully between the Oquirrh and Wasatch Mountains.
The flat lands of the valley floor have lent themselves well to agriculture over the years. This traditionally made up the bulk of the community's economy. This has only recently started to change, with a growing technology industry making its mark in the area, bringing with it an influx of population and a booming Lehi real estate market.
A Familiar Origin Based on Agriculture
Like a great many of the communities that run north to south in the Utah and Salt Lake Valleys, Lehi can trace its beginning to Mormon settlers from the middle part of the 19th century. The original settlement in the area was set up at a place called Dry Creek at the northernmost point in the Utah Valley, at the head of the lake.
The fledgling community was renamed Evansville in 1851 for a local bishop and began to grow steadily as land was sold in 40-acre parcels until it was all spoken for. Evansville began a meteoric growth and that first boom continued with the city of Lehi officially incorporated by the Territorial Legislature in 1852. It would become the 6th city incorporated in the territory, its new name coming from a prophet from the Book of Mormon.
Lehi Enters the 21st Century
Today, Lehi has a population of 47, 407, more than double what it was just 10 years ago! The community has established itself as an important part of the Provo-Orem Metropolitan Area; its position halfway between two major center, Salt Lake City and Provo, has made an ideal mid-point to draw from the talent pools of both major cities.
Lehi can attribute its growth to a movement away from its agricultural heritage; it has made a name for itself in the technology sector, and is currently home to a number of notable technology companies including Microsoft and Adobe. Technology giant IM Flash is also headquartered in Lehi and it is estimated that 1 out of every 14 flash memory chips in the world is produced in the area!
The city's charming downtown main street harkens back to its 1850s origin; it has been recognized for its historical significance and placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
"A Great Place to Live"
Lehi's dramatic shift away from agriculture is no more apparent than with the Lehi Roller Mill, originally founded back in 1906. The mill is one of very few remaining flour mills in an area that used to have many. The setting of many pivotal scenes in the 1984 Kevin Bacon Movie Footloose, the area is virtually unrecognizable from how it appears in the film. The open landscape of the film is now filled with new housing developments and strip malls.
The booming emergent economy and low housing costs have combined to make Lehi an extremely attractive place to make a home. The unemployment rate in the area is a mere 2.9 %, less than half the national average. In the last 6 years, the city has experienced a 15.1 % increase in employment. That trend looks to continue toward the future!
With median house prices at $286,400, Lehi homes for sale are much less than those found in several of the surrounding communities, plus property taxes amount to close to half the national average. It's clear why Forbes has recognized Lehi as the "best mid-sized area" for jobs. Lehi truly is a great place to live!