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Popular vacation towns like Garden City have to grapple with demand for housing

Posted at 6:33 PM, May 27, 2024

GARDEN CITY, Utah — You can now get a raspberry shake any day of the week in Garden City as Memorial Day opens up the summer season at Bear Lake.

There’s more to do there now, but that can make it harder to keep employees around.

It is a beautiful day for boating at Bear Lake, but most people don't own boats. So Garden City added pickleball courts, they’re working on baseball diamonds, and there are miles of trails.

"Biking trails, walking trails — we have tons of trails for side-by-sides, four-wheelers," said Mayor Mike Leonhardt.

The extras are drawing more people for the timeless classics, like raspberry shakes, but make it tough for the people who make the shakes to stay there.

"We have girls’ housing, and they stay in a separate place, and then we have housing for our boys, and they stay in a separate place," explained LaBeau's manager Shawn Allen. "We have to house most of our workers just due to the size of Garden City."

"A lot of these places are short-term rentals, so they rent from about September to May full-time, and then in May you have to kind of move out," added Pat Argyle, a realtor and Garden City Council member. "So it makes it difficult to have housing for employees. It’s one of the things we’re looking at as a city to see if we can alleviate some of that problem."

"I love the small-town vibe of Bear Lake," said Jack Findlay, who was visiting from Ogden. "I don’t love it changing too much, but when it’s good stuff like this happening, I think it’s a good thing."

"We want people to come here and have a variety of things to do to enjoy being here," added Leonhardt.