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Blad Plans To Finish Long-Awaited Projects In 2012

The city of Pocatello and Mayor Brian Blad are taking an aggressive stance on development in 2012. In his State of the City address Thursday night, Blad outlined a number of plans for the new year.

If all goes according to Blad’s optimistic plan, 2012 could bring the end to a lot of long-awaited projects. From the greenway to the old Fred Meyer building, it is a hard-hitting agenda.

“2011 was a great year for Pocatello. I’m looking forward to 2012 because I think it’s going to be a better year,” Blad said.

He wants to see the animal shelter get fully funded and start to break ground on the new building. Blad wants to see the greenway finished and break ground on the long-awaited South End Connector.

“Once that happens, economically, the south end of town will open wide open,” Blad said.

He emphasized jobs as a key to that development. All State opening was a huge success in 2011, and Blad said there are several companies boasting up to a total of 1,200 jobs that could open in 2012. That could include development at the Pine Ridge Mall and at the old Fred Meyer building on the corner of W. Alameda Road and Yellowstone Avenue. The property was recently purchased by the Howard Hughes Corp., and Blad said the corporation is actively looking to sell it.

Hoku’s delays and issues with electricity have been a stumbling block, Blad admitted, but he is confident the plant will be fully operational this year.

“Hoku’s going to get open. It might be the death of me, but Hoku’s going to get open, and we’re going to have 400 employees, because at the end of the year, it will be time for them to double their size and they’ll have to,” Blad said, talking about the company’s plan to double its number of employees.

Blad hopes that the new business park at the Pocatello Regional Airport will also take off. He said the increase in industry will help bring new flights to the airport, too.

The newest city council members — Jim Johnston, Eva Johnson-Nye and Steve Brown — were also sworn in at Thursday’s city council meeting. Council member Roger Bray was elected as the new council president, replacing Johnson-Nye.

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