SPRINGVILLE, Utah — The Utah Food Bank is expanding.
Tuesday afternoon, Governor Spencer Cox, officials with the food bank, and others put shovels in the dirt, breaking ground on a new 77,000 square foot facility in Springville.
Ginette Bott, the president and CEO of the Utah Food Bank, said the Timpanogos Distribution Facility was about three to four years in the making and will be a crucial and critical piece of their expansion.
"The growth has been so quick, so fast and so rapid," she said. "It really is important for us to be able to lend assistance to the pantries that are already in that area."
A lot of the growth and need for development in Utah County can be seen by the huge influx of people moving to the area and calling it home.
"The 2021 data shows that Utah County ... added the 10th-most residents out of any county in the United States, which is a little bit wild," said Mallory Bateman, the director of demographic research for the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute.
Bateman says several cities in Utah County have seen huge growth over the past decade.
She points to Vineyard, which she says has seen its population increase by 9,000 percent.
"That's a multifaceted development, you know, it's not just houses going in, but there's different elements of the community going in as well," said Bateman.
She said other cities, like Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain, have seen their population double in the same time span.
"The fact that you can be easily connected to kind of the broader Salt Lake County economy as well in Utah County, you have a lot of opportunities there and there's also room to grow there," said Bateman.
It's that kind of growth that Bateman anticipates won't slow down any time in the near future.
Bott says their new distribution center in Utah County will be key once it's up and running in 2024.
"We can't continue to serve the state one truckload at a time," she said. "Today is the starting point for us for a new warehouse, and others will follow shortly."
With much of the area in Utah County under construction, Bott tells FOX 13 News that they felt it was important to be a part of that now so they are prepared when others continue to move in.
The Utah Food Bank distributed 70 million pounds of food last year, during the height of the pandemic. With their fiscal year coming to an end next month, Bott anticipates they will have distributed 68 million pounds.