A Tipping Point is where a small thing makes a big change, so is something about to happen in St. George Utah?
The North American Championship Ironman is coming to St. George Utah. Can this be the tipping point for this small city? The event marks the end of the ironman season. The ironman events were held from 2012 to 2017 in Austin Texas as well, but Austins’s tipping point was very different. Some cities grow and change while holding on to a few legacy pieces while others like Austin morph into something completely different.
The history of the world is about people moving to escape the politics of where they came from. Ironically many times they bring much of those ideas with them and try to change their new home. The original settlers from England were trying to escape the political tyranny of the crown. At the same time they became the tyranny the indigenous people had to adapt too.
St. George reminds me very much of Austin Texas the first time I visited many decades ago. While St. George doesn’t have the advantage of being the state capital it has many other similarities. Today the irony in Austin is the people that migrated in now have bumper stickers that say “Welcome to Austin, leave your politics where you came from”. It has become the new mantra, replacing “Keep Austin Weird”.
The Price of Change.
Natives of Austin have the same complaints natives of SoCal have. Just as all of the new people in SoCal have stressed our infrastructure and crowded our beaches, the immigrants to Austin have done the same for Barton Creek, Town Lake and Austins infrastructure. Austin is now a sprawling suburb like the San Fernando Valley in the 1970’s. It isn’t going to get better any time soon.
Adding all of those people means more housing, more streets, more city services and someone has to pay for that. Guess what Austin natives are now complaining about? High property taxes. Get that, the “low tax state of Texas” and the natives think taxes are outrageous. Open arms have a price, so you might be more careful who you welcome. Builders getting tax breaks to make housing “more affordable” doesn’t help either. Eventually that sewer hook up and new street needs to get paid for.
St. George Utah is experiencing a rapid price growth that has a Cheshire cat smile on the local real estate agents and art gallery owners. On my morning walk I couldn’t help but notice how overly nice they were as soon as they found out I didn’t live in St. George. One art gallery owner said she loved all of the new people because they buy lots of art. Clearly the agents and gallery owners wanted my money.
The ironman® is Coming
The 2021 ironman® National Championship will be in St. George this year. Will the ironman event be the tipping point that changes St. George forever? Right now is the quiet before the storm for sure. Covid of course has been a tipping point across the country. What really is a small thing, a cold virus, has had a major impact around the globe. Covid has been a tipping point for many people, cities and even the global economy.
The collision of events with Covid has made a major shift in the event. It is said that the city of Tokyo Japan will lose over $26 Billion on the Olympics since Covid travel restrictions shut out the majority of spectators and their money. What will the collision be with the ironman National Championship in St. George and Covid restrictions?
If the ironman is a tipping point for St. George will Covid change the direction the city goes in a big way? Will that collision of two tipping points push the city forward faster, or maybe even backwards?
Only time will tell.