Cedar City, UT

On The Banks of Coal Creek

A small town, Cedar City sports no towering buildings, no traffic jams, and no evening rush hour. The splendid location in the peaceful foothills of scenic southwestern Utah adds to the tranquil ambiance of this region, as do the snow-clad peaks that dominate the view to the east. To the west, residents gaze out at the timeless horizon of the richly colored Escalante Desert. Nearby on Coal Creek, locals can cast a dry fly into a promising eddy just after work. However, on warm summer nights, residents can also enjoy a Shakespearean play at the open-air theater on the university campus. Although known for its proximity to numerous national parks, Cedar City's cultural attractions and the educational attainment of its residents give it a sophistication not found in other cities of its size. Hoot and holler at the rodeo one day and spend the next delightful evening watching A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Stroll through art galleries and museums or listen to a renowned guest speaker at a college lecture series. Gourmet cooks may want to prepare a delectable entry for the Dutch oven contest.

Little did the miners who settled the area realize that it would be tourism, not mining, that would bring prosperity to Cedar City. Visitors come for the performance art offerings, but they also come for the three nearby national parks and endless expanses of national forests and monuments. The outdoor enthusiast encounters a breathtaking playground only minutes away. Whether it's a tee time at Cedar Ridge Golf Course, a day bombing down the ski slopes at Brian Head, or a day on the bike trails at Cedar Breaks, nature lovers thrive in this paradise.

Although tourism contributes heavily to the city's growing economy, agriculture, mining, and industry also add a fair share.

Southern Utah State University with an enrollment of nearly 7,000 students employs a sizable staff and faculty, while the student population also bolsters the small business sector. Cedar City provides a gateway to the glories of Bryce Canyon, Zion and the other parks, but it also provides a gateway to an enviable, slower-paced lifestyle that is rich with cultural and recreational adventures.

Cedar City, UT At-A-Glance

Population: 28,850

Avg. July high: 87

Avg. January low: 19

Avg. Annual Precipitation: 12

Avg. Annual Snowfall: 23

Closest Big City: 161 miles to Provo

Health Care: 1 hospital with 48 beds

Cost of Living: 11% below the national average

Housing Costs: 150,000

Climate

Cedar City's 5,800-foot elevation ensures that even summer evenings are wonderfully cool for sleeping. Dry desert air keeps the humidity that accompanies summer highs at bay. If the mild July daytime high of 89 degrees is ever too much, locals can always retreat to the sheltering pines of higher elevations.

Fall is brief and spectacular; the aspens shine like spun gold among the pine and fir woods.

Expect temperatures to remain warm, with daytime highs between 65 and 75 degrees. On crisp October nights the mercury will drop to 36 degrees.

Snowfall blankets the town periodically each winter, with an annual average of 41 inches. Residents join the tourists and flock to Brian Head Ski Resort to schuss down powder slopes.

Golfers enthusiastically greet the spring on the scenic links. Daytime temperatures range between 60 and 70 degrees, setting the short spring in motion. Nightly lows in May average 41, but rise to 49 by June.

January is the driest month and July and August are the wettest. With 300 sunny days a year, life in Cedar City is always a pleasure no matter what the season.

Art & Culture

Cedar City is tucked into the folds of southwestern Utah. It is bordered by three national parks, a seemingly endless national forest, several national monuments, and a scenic national recreation area.

Cedar City exudes a spirit of celebration year-round with a host of festivals. Jump into summer at the Paiute Indian Gathering during the second week of June, or head to a Tony Award-winning Utah Shakespeare Festival at Southern Utah University.

The almost perfect replica of the open-air Globe Theatre transports the audience to another age. Lovers of Shakespeare revel in the choice of seven Shakespearean plays. Each year two plays by other famous playwrights round out the theater offerings.

In mid-July the American Folk Ballet Summer Festival stages wonderful performances that combine ballet and folk dancing.

Move right from that festival into the Midsummer Renaissance Faire. The year winds up with the Winterfest and a dazzling Christmas Light Parade.

Music lovers can plan on attending the Summer Evening Concert Series at the University. Get lost in a jazz performance; get carried away at the symphony; and touch the earth with good country music.

All year long, the university books a full calendar of international and national performers.

The visual arts are one of Southern Utah University's strong suits. It boasts the Braithwaite Fine Arts Gallery on its campus, with a permanent collection that includes many excellent contemporary and 19th-century paintings and sculptures.

Throughout the year locals enjoy national and local artists in rotating exhibits.

History lovers excited by the Butch Cassidy era should head over to Iron Mission State Park. This is the site of the first iron foundry in Utah, with its unique history presented in a colorful diorama.

City Recreation

The unparalleled outdoor recreation scene in and around Cedar City revolves with the seasons. For those who delight in the austere beauty of winter, southwest Utah aims to please. Experience the thrill of hurtling down mountain slopes on skis or snowboard, or swishing softly along on groomed cross-country ski trails. While Brian Head Resort is the hot spot for downhill skiing with miles of superb runs, Cedar Breaks National Monument invites residents to snowshoe, cross-country ski, or snowmobile its trails. Cedar Breaks also offers excellent Nordic skiing on its well-maintained trails.

Just south of Cedar Breaks at Duck Creek Village, extensive cross country trails provide hours of pure winter bliss. If that's too mild an outing, head to Brian Head for some of the best sledding and tubing. The winter angler can get away for some great fishing at Panguitch Lake.

As summer weather melts the snow on Brian Head's trails, avid cyclists replace the skiers. For the hearty, a 35- mile trek is available in the Dixie National Forest. To make it a family affair, strap on a helmet and bike a strikingly beautiful section of Zion National Park. Start the trip in Springdale, and don't forget the camera.

With Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks virtually on Cedar City's doorstep, and three other National Parks within a short morning 's drive, a camping adventure is only minutes away. To appreciate Kolob Canyon's colorful vistas, adventurers must backpack in. Otherwise all the parks offer excellent, easily accessible camping facilities. Splendid nature walks in sub-alpine meadows around Cedar Breaks take visitors to meadows bursting with wildflowers, tall grasses, junipers, and refreshing alpine ponds. Birdwatchers are likely to see eagles and other raptors along the way.

Back in town tennis players will be hitting the municipal courts as well as those of the university, which are open to the public. If the days get too hot, cool off at Cedar City Municipal Pool or the pools at the university.

Horseback riding in fall is a great way to soak up the spectacular colors of the desert rocks and venture into the unique canyons in the area. Jeep safaris are another option for more backcountry adventure.

Zion National park draws rock climbers from around the globe to its 1,000- to 2,000-foot walls.

Education

With Zion and Bryce Canyon virtually on Cedar City's doorstep and three other national parks within a short drive, a camping adventure is always only minutes away.

Cedar City residents enjoy educational opportunities at all levels. An excellent public education system provides all students with access to the sort of learning that builds self-esteem and produces capable members of society. Both special education and gifted programs are valued in this community. Technology is also valued, as all schools maintain the latest in computer technology. There are more than a dozen public buildings in the district and one private elementary school.

At the post-secondary level, a private college and Southern Utah University further the academic and cultural horizons of Cedar City. Undergraduate programs include education, the arts, sciences, and business studies. Graduate programs focus on education and accounting. Always ready to address the needs of the community, Southern Utah University has a well-developed outreach program. Residents can choose from day or evening classes to fit their learning around their employment.

As high tech companies increasingly relocate to Cedar City, new job opportunities become available. With outreach classes often taking place at the work site, both industry and individuals benefit. The community embraces the life-long learning philosophy.

It's evident when residents attend school district conferences or university workshops for their own enrichment and in turn that of Cedar City.

Housing & Cost of Living

Where to Retire magazine recently highlighted this city as one of America's best.

Residents of Cedar City enjoy a cost of living that is about 11% below the national average. Housing prices fall even lower than this, and the cost of everything from utilities to child care are also low. Utah's child care rates are some of the lowest in the country. Statewide, parents will pay an annual median price of around $6,300 for infant care at an accredited center, and the amazingly low price of just $4,500 for preschoolers.

A housing construction boom is well underway in Cedar City, and according to Where to Retire, this spot is the 11th fastest growing city in the country, with a 62% leap in population over the last decade. A single family home here costs an average of $245,000, but homes can be found on either side of that spectrum.

A good selection of apartments and rental homes rounds out the housing selection, with a very reasonable average rate of $450 per month. Secluded mountain retreats also come on the market once in a while and can run in the million-dollar range.

Crime & Safety

It doesn't get much safer than Cedar City. Violent crime is practically nonexistent - less than one violent incident is reported for every 1,000 residents. Of the crime that does occur in Cedar City most of it is classified as non-violent offenses against property, such as vandalism or petty larceny.

As a community, Cedar City provides for the needs of all its residents. For example, police, parents, and children worked out details for a skateboarding park. Exit 59 gives kids a place to skate and keeps city streets safer and businesses happier.

Earning a Living

This "Festival City" is home to the Utah Shakespearean Festival, the Utah Summer Games, and the American Folk Ballet...

Cedar City is rapidly gaining a reputation for its emerging community of hightech industries. Market data and economic research industries are among the new businesses coming to town. The infrastructure is here, too. A recognized trade magazine cited Cedar City as the most " wired" city in Utah, exceeding even Salt Lake City. Experts in computer technologies might consider joining the workforce of the 21st century in this small but sophisticated town.

There's no doubt that the service industry is also booming. Bryce Canyon, Zion, and the area's many other natural attractions bring visitors from all over the globe.

These same visitors require lodging, food, medical facilities, and shopping outlets, and they look to Cedar City to provide much of it. Retired seniors, attracted by the relaxed lifestyle and salutary climate, flock to the area. This retired segment is creating increased opportunities in a variety of services, from restaurant workers to financial planners. The services and sales sectors employ half the population.

The largest employers in Cedar City are the school board, Southern Utah University, and the local hospital. The construction industry has also begun to play an increasingly larger role. With this diverse and growing economic base and the current population explosion- local officials estimate the city will grow by 60,000 in the next decade- Cedar City continues to attract new businesses to share the magic.

Health Care

Cedar City residents are fortunate to have a first rate medical facility in their midst. Valley View Medical Center offers comprehensive services that include a 24- hour emergency care department staffed by physicians full-time. Patients come to Valley View for intensive and cardiac care, radiology, inpatient, and outpatient surgery, and physical therapy.

There is an active outreach program involving visiting doctors and nursing services.

The hospital also focuses on health education and support groups. On a rotating basis, residents can attend specialty clinics in areas such as plastic and reconstructive surgery, speech pathology, and audiology. One hour south of Cedar City in the town of St. George, the Dixie Regional Medical Center provides any services that may not be available in town.

Cedar City also sports one accredited nursing home. Beehive Homes of Cedar City offers independent and assisted living care. Iron County Nursing Home also provides congregate care services in nearby Parowan, and Kolob Regional Care and Rehab in Cedar City offers rehabilitation services.