1,000 acres main topic of Uinta County Economic Development meeting

The design for the 1,000 acres. (HERALD PHOTO/Kayne Pyatt)

Bart Jensen with Jones & DeMille attended the Uinta County Economic Development Commission (UCEDC) meeting via Zoom technology on Wednesday, Oct. 5, to review the proposed plan for the 1,000 acres the county owns near Bear River State Park at the end of the Road to Nowhere.
Jensen provided a screen shot of the color-coded design map designating the areas for different use.  Some months ago, UCEDC had chosen a special committee to work with Jones & DeMille in deciding options for the acreage and they had prepared the design.
The top (east) of the somewhat rectangular area colored in red would be designated for commercial centers.  Jensen said the estimate of property tax created in this area would be $32,500 annually; with sales tax of $230,000 annually; 400 jobs created and 375,000 sq. ft. of building created.
Below the commercial area a smaller area colored light purple was designated for multiple warehousing and light industrial. The estimates for annual revenue were property tax at $20,000; sales tax at $5,000; 100 jobs created; and 500,000 sq. ft. of building created.
The dark purple area directly below the light purple area was designated as a multiple use area which could be a combination of commercial and residential. The annual revenue from this area was estimated at $62,500 in property taxes; $325,000 in sales tax; 215 jobs created and 415,000 sq. ft. of building created.
The gold area at the bottom end of the rectangle is designated for multi-family residential such as townhouses. Estimates for annual revenue for this area was $65,000 property taxes; zero sales tax; no jobs created; and 325,000 sq. ft. of building created.
The white area along the edge of the acreage and close to the interstate highway could be extra residential or commercial or used as a corridor.
UCEDC county director Gary Welling asked Jensen if there was something in the contract with Jones & DeMille that a public meeting/open house would be held to discuss the plan.
“Yes, I think there was,” Jensen said. “I will double check on that and get with my crew and come up with a date to do that, possibly in early November.”
Dr. Travis Shelton from Lyman asked the Commission for a letter of support for a proposed assisted living facility to be built in Lyman.
“So many of our elderly have to leave their families and be placed in facilities in Utah,” Shelton said. “We want to keep our loved ones near so the town of Lyman and Elevated Living are applying for grants in order to build an assisted living facility in Lyman. Some of the elderly are my parents, my grandparents and even my patients.”
Shelton said the City of Lyman had donated 2.7 acres for the facility and Joy Bell, Evanston resident and owner of Compassionate Journey, was helping them with writing grants.  Shelton said, according to his research, average income for the director of an elderly care center is $60,000. He said that keeping the elderly in the community can be a big boost to the economy of Lyman.
An assisted living facility in Lyman, Shelton said, could be the second largest employer in Lyman next to the school district.  The facility would be a big help to the city’s medical personnel and would provide jobs for Lyman High School graduates who earn a CNA degree. Employees in the facility, Shelton said, would be a director, administrative staff and mostly CNAs.
“Health care is the number one leading industry in the nation,” Shelton said. “A group that runs facilities in Rock Springs has been a consultant to us on designing and pricing and they figure the average cost per resident of a facility is $4,000 to $5,000 per month.
The problem the committee is facing, Shelton said, is they were originally looking for a $6 million facility and were seeking half of that in grants.  Because the average wage in Lyman is low,  they couldn’t meet the rationale for asking for that much money to provide only 20 jobs.  The Wyoming Business Council,  which is helping the committee, asked the State Land & Investment Board (SLIB) to let them come back again with a revised proposal.
Shelton said they are now looking at a cost of $3 million and a facility that will provide 23 to 30 beds. They will resubmit their proposal, asking for half of the $3 million.  They will hear a decision from SLIB in December. If they get the grant in December, they would plan to start building in the spring of 2023.
The commission voted to write a letter of support for the Lyman grant application.
Chair Dan Wheeler reported that the strategic planning training with Mary Martin went very well and the commission needed a work session to finalize the plan. It was decided they would meet one hour prior to their regular meeting on Oct. 26.
Jon Conrad reported on key performance indicators and asked Rocco O’Neill to give his report of the economic development webpage.
O’Neill said the webpage has seen 1,116 users from August 24 to the present with an average of 1 minute 30 seconds per visit. He said he is happy with the website.
“We have added a contact name and address to the businesses that are listed,” O’Neill said. “We will wait and see on inquiries. It is an economic development purgatory right now.”
Conrad said over the last month, homes on the market stayed flat at 59; there were 3 and 6 subdivisions added; 17 building permits; 282 people employed and only 31 unemployment claims (the lowest in a year); and 20 active oil rigs.
“Interesting census data I found is that Uinta County has a population of 20,363 with 93% having a high school or higher education; 94.4% have computers and there are 557 registered employers in Uinta County,” Conrad said.
O’Neill said Jumpstart Evanston, which is an entrepreneur ‘Boot Camp’ and involves local business leaders providing training and expertise, will be starting again in January. He said that over the four years of providing Jumpstart training they have given $30,000 in grants to local startup and small businesses.  
Phil Marchant, Corporate Sales Executive with All West Communications was attending as a guest and said his company is always looking for underserved areas and asked the commission to let him know if they are aware of any and he would present the information to the decision makers at All West.
Wheeler reported on happenings at the school board.  He said the track and field expansion was completed and he felt that would be a big economic boost to Evanston.  Wheeler said the school district now has an athletic trainer and she will be offering safety classes next year on protective measures. The Star Valley Medical Group pays her salary and students can still choose their own doctor or therapist.
Doug Rigby, assistant superintendent of Uinta County School District #1, reported on the work being done at  Evanston High School.
“We still don’t have any hot water.  This has been a multi-million-dollar project replacing all of the water lines. The company that is doing it had a major issue and had to replace everything they had already done,” Rigby said. “They are now working very long hours, morning and night trying to complete the work.”
Owen Peterson of Mountain View reported that 1.98 acres of land had been annexed into the town of Mountain View.
Welling said the bidding for the new grandstands at the Fair Grounds was to place on Thursday, Oct. 13 and they hope to start construction June 1, 2023.

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