Layton's economic development specialist seeks higher-paying jobs for area

Aug 9 2012 - 7:11am

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Kent Andersen is the new community and economic development specialist for Layton City. 
(NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner)
Andersen
Kent Andersen is the new community and economic development specialist for Layton City. 
(NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner)
Andersen

LAYTON -- New economic development specialist Kent G. Andersen looks forward to building on what is already an "encompassing" economic base in Layton, by bringing in more high-quality, higher-paying jobs.

"It is amazing how many components there are to this job," said Andersen, 34, who since being hired July 2 has been meeting with the different organizations the city will continue to partner with to ensure its future economic success.

A visit to his office at Layton City Hall reveals four bare walls -- an indication of just how busy Andersen has been -- and items still packed in boxes.

Andersen replaces former Layton economic development specialist Ben Hart, who took a position with the state.

However, Andersen is not new to economics. For 14 months he served as Syracuse city planner, playing a vital role in that city's economic decisions.

Andersen believes a mix of manufacturing, office space and retail, along with the East Gate and Falcon Hill developments, and the continued support of Hill Air Force Base, will keep Layton economically viable.

In addition to growing the city's economic base, Andersen also has been given the duty of serving as the city's grant-writing specialist.

Writing federal grant applications is a skill he developed while working in the Mammoth Lakes/Bishop, Calif., area for a five-year period for a nonprofit affordable housing organization, Andersen said.

He completed his bachelor's degree in environmental studies at Utah State University, and added a master's degree from Sacramento State in public policy and administration.

"The goal was always get back to Utah," said Andersen, a Harrisville native, who also attended Weber State University for a short period.

And now that he is back home, he said, his long-term goal is to establish a steady sales tax revenue stream for Layton by diversifying the city's retail businesses.

Some of those newer businesses include the restaurants Buffalo Wild Wings, opening in September, and Texas Roadhouse, currently under construction and scheduled to open in November, both next to Layton Hills mall.

The city also is looking at renovating the old historic train station at the FrontRunner Commuter Rail Station. The goal is to add a restaurant -- similar to Ogden's Union Grill -- and some retail space to the property, he said.

Andersen said he also intends to grow the city's personal property tax revenues by adding manufacturing to the East Gate development. He said those manufacturing companies will increase jobs numbers and personal property tax revenue.

In addition to growing those tax revenue streams, Andersen said, it is important that Layton continue its support of HAFB.

"That's for the whole Wasatch Front," he said, "not just Layton city."

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