On Wednesday, city and county officials met over breakfast in the John Taylor Building for the annual State of the City address hosted by Rexburg’s Chamber of Commerce.

The purpose of this meeting, as the name suggests, is to give business leaders and other leaders in Rexburg and surrounding communities an update on projects and the overall welfare of the cities and Rexburg.

President and Sister Meredith among attendees.

President and Sister Meredith among attendees. Photo credit: Gabe Mills

The speakers were Mayor Jerry Merrill from Rexburg, Mayor Steven Adams from Sugar City, Commissioner Brent Mendenhall from Madison County, President Alvin F. Meredith III and Curtis Calderwood and Conner Huffaker from the Idaho Transportation Department.

Mayor Merrill introduced plans for a new park.

Mayor Merrill introduced plans for a new park. Photo credit: Gabe Mills

Starting the meeting, Mayor Merrill gave updates on some of the city projects including new parks, grants that the city has received, the Tabernacle restoration project and growth in the city of Rexburg.

“I remember being here when President Henry B. Eyring dedicated the I-Center and one of the things he said was ‘It’s not to so much the facilities, but it’s the community it’s the faculty …'” Merrill said. “And that’s what I want to thank you for because you are what make up Rexburg’s family community.”

Next up, Mayor Adams started his speech by giving a positive update on the economic status of Sugar City. He then transitioned to his next point, expressing concern for societal freedom.

Mayor Adams spoke about threats to the community's freedom.

Mayor Adams spoke about threats to the community's freedom. Photo credit: Gabe Mills

“If we treat our freedom like a patient, it’s dying,” Adams said.

Two of the major reasons for this, according to Adams, are a violation of private property on city and state levels and the way the educational system is organized.

Following Adams was County Commissioner Brent Mendenhall who spoke about the growth of the county and the combined efforts of Rexburg and Sugar City.

County Commissioner Brent Mendenhall addresses the audience.

County Commissioner Brent Mendenhall addresses the audience. Photo credit: Gabe Mills

Mendenhall spoke about the county’s responsibilities in the recent fiber optics project and the growth that both Rexburg and Sugar City are seeing in terms of infrastructure and culture.

“Now with the growth comes the need to plan ahead,” Mendenhall said. ” … So as a result Madison County, we’re just completing this comprehensive plan which is what identifies what’s necessary in the county what people want, what they need.”

This was President Meredith’s first time attending the event, and he spoke about the declining enrollment rate that Rexburg is experiencing and the university’s plan to increase enrollment.

President Meredith spoke about BYU-I's plan to increase enrollment.

President Meredith spoke about BYU-I's plan to increase enrollment. Photo credit: Gabe Mills

The reason that matters to us is we have a very sacred mission here,” President Meredith said. “It’s a mission to develop disciples of Jesus Christ who are leaders in their homes, the church and their communities.”

Part of the plan to increase enrollment includes the introduction of two new scholarships, a recent change in the BYU and BYU-I joint application process and what President Meredith called “hitting the road.”

“We’re doing parent-youth devotionals,” President Meredith said. “Every time I go out on church assignment for a state conference, I’m doing alumni meetings and donor meetings. I was in Seattle this past weekend and we gathered people together and we’re just telling them our story.”

The new diverging diamond interchanges that will be coming to Rexburg this summer.

The new diverging diamond interchanges that will be coming to Rexburg this summer. Photo credit: Gabe Mills

The final speakers were Curtis Calderwood and Conner Huffaker from the Idaho Department of Transportation who introduced plans for the new interchanges that will be constructed this summer and gave the following construction schedule for the project.

Construction Window Begins: March 8th
Full Closures:

  • Exit 332 (University Blvd): June 10th – June 28th
  • Exit 333 (SH33/Main): July 29th – August 23rd
  • Exit 337 (N Rexburg): None

Single Lane/Single Ramp Closures:

  • Exit 332 (University Blvd): July 8th – July 22nd
  • Exit 333 (SH33/Main): August 26th – September 13th
  • Exit 337 (N Rexburg): None

Project Completion: October 31st