It’s been over a year since The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced plans to build an LDS temple in Pocatello, but little information has been released since then.
Immediately after the church’s president revealed at the biannual General Conference in April 2017 that Pocatello would be receiving a temple, there was much speculation about where the temple would be built.
Initially, there were strong indications that it would be built in the Satterfield Drive area, where the church owns 11 acres of land.
There were also rumors that the temple would be located in the area known as Northgate, a large section of land on Pocatello’s north side where there are plans to build multiple industrial parks and thousands of houses. However, the church has not commented on any possible locations.
According to Mormon officials, the leaders of the LDS faith are the ones who ultimately decide a temple’s location, and no information will be released until they make a decision. Church officials also said that there is no standard timeline for the construction of temples and a groundbreaking can happen months or years after the announcement that a new temple will be built.
But citizens of Pocatello and the surrounding communities are eager for the temple, which many say has been a long time coming.
“I think we’re all curious,” said Dan Cravens, a public affairs representative for the Blackfoot district of the church. “There’s a little bit of a sense that it’s like a kid on Christmas. I’m sure there will be a lot of enthusiasm as people prepare for the opening.”
Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad said he is also excited about the temple and the announcement of its location.
“I just hope they hurry up and do it so I can be the mayor when it happens,” Blad said.
In addition to the Satterfield Drive and Northgate areas, some have proposed that the temple be on the south side of town where there is plenty of space and it could be easily accessed from Interstate 15. Blad said he could also see the temple being located on the west side of Pocatello, though he said that would not be as easily accessible.
Jim Johnston, a Pocatello City Council member, said he believes the “key factor” in determining the temple’s location will be the progress of the expected development of the Northgate area.
“I really think once they’ve gotten started on that, they’ll know whether or not they’re going to build it in Northgate or (somewhere else),” Johnston said. “If it is in the Northgate, that will alleviate a lot of the pressure on housing in the Highland area, and that will make a lot of people feel better about not having so many cars on their street.”
However, Johnston also said he thinks the temple could go anywhere in the city and still be a good fit.
“It will lend a real positive, good neighborhood concept to wherever it’s built,” he said. “The church is a good neighbor, and they maintain their properties. So anywhere will be good.”
And though everything is still mere speculation at this point, Blad said one thing he knows for certain is that the temple will be built.
“I think that members know that when the church makes an announcement that a temple is going to go in a community, it’s going to happen,” Blad said. “They show up, and they’re going to follow through with it. It’s just a matter of time.”