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Eight projects were recognized Wednesday for their power to help promote the qualities that Utahns say they want the state to have in the future.

Two were honored for community building, and two more were selected for improving the homes and cars of future communities. Two other projects earned accolades for helping rural areas keep pace with the Wasatch Front, as did a pair of efforts to educate the workforce of the 2030s and '40s.

Gov. Gary Herbert joined the planning group Envision Utah and the Quality Growth Commission in saluting these innovative efforts to create places where Utahns can thrive and maintain features they value despite the significant population growth coming to the state.

"We know better than at any time in our history what Utahns want as the population doubles," said Envision Utah CEO Robert Grow, citing the Your Utah, Your Future Visions for 2050 process that involved 400 experts and 53,000 survey recipients addressing what's meaningful about living in Utah.

Honored for helping develop a network of quality communities were:

• The Meadows at Riverbend, a master-planned community in Ogden that mixes 69 townhomes, 125 apartments and 25,000 square feet of retail/office space.

• South Salt Lake's East Streetcar Neighborhood, which advances development of a transit-oriented community along the S-Line Streetcar, partly through the city's molding of a code providing visual guidelines of how the corridor should appear.

Singled out for improving Utah's future housing and transportation were:

• Ivory Homes for building houses that are more energy efficient, with insulated exterior walls 6 inches thick instead of the customary 4 inches. These measures cut home air-pollution emissions and reduce utility usage.

• Utah Clean Energy and multiple university, government and nonprofit partners who teamed up to make bulk purchases of electric vehicles, helping more than 200 drivers switch to less-polluting cars.

For helping rural Utah, awards went to:

• Rocky Mountain Power, whose energy audits saved rural small businesses $12 million through measures that are projected to pay themselves off within 18 months.

• The Moab Area Housing Resource Guide, which helped people find scarce housing in the southeastern Utah recreation hub as well as information about economic development, public health, energy and sustainability services.

Applauded for their efforts to prepare Utah's workforce for jobs of the future were:

• Utah Aerospace Pathways, which helps high school students get paid internships with aerospace companies and earn manufacturing certificates beneficial to pursuing careers after high school.

• Salt Lake Community College for its Promise Program, which gives everyone a chance to get a college degree, covering tuition and fees for full-time students who develop a two-year degree plan.

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