County focuses on economic development

EVANSTON — Economic development was on the agenda for the Tuesday, Nov. 21, Uinta County Commissioners meeting, at which the board approved a resolution authorizing the Economic Development Commission to apply for grant funding offered by the Wyoming Business Council.

Economic Development director Gary Welling said the grant would be used to conduct a target market study to help the county develop strategies to entice new businesses to the area. Welling said other Wyoming counties had done something similar and it had been very successful in luring in businesses and industry. 

The application is a joint project pursued in a partnership by both Uinta County and South Lincoln County as part of a regional target implementation plan, said Welling. “We decided that maybe we needed some outside eyes to look at our area to look for something maybe we’re not seeing as far as a target industry to go after.” 

Evanston City Clerk Amy Grenfell, who also sits on the Uinta County Economic Development Commission, spoke in favor of the resolution to apply for grant funding. Grenfell said she thinks it would be very helpful to get the funding and the input from an outside firm “so that we have a little bit of a method behind our madness.” 

“Right now, we have lots of great ideas, we have lots of things we’re wanting to do, but I think it’s very important that we have a road map so we’re not just randomly firing shots in any direction trying to hit something,” she said. 

Grenfell said the partnership with South Lincoln made sense, given that Kemmerer is only 45 minutes away. She said she believes the study will help the economic development teams be more proactive instead of reactive in their approach. 

Welling said the grant application required the commissioners to pass a resolution of support. The grant is for $50,000 and requires a 25 percent match, and Welling said the funds are available for that match. If the grant application is successful, requests for proposals will go out to companies that specialize in economic planning. 

In other business, the commissioners approved a conditional use permit to allow Lively Circle Inc. to operate a commercial tree nursery on property just north of the Almy Fire Station. Property owner Windell Lively spoke about his plans for the operation, which would be to sell 8-16 foot mature trees. Lively said the 16-foot trees would be about 25 years old, trees would cost anywhere from $700 to $1000 and there would be an additional $100 charge for delivery and planting. 

Trees will include Colorado blue spruce, elm, and maple, said Lively. “We’re trying to get a variety and mix it up a little bit,” he said. 

County planner Kent Williams said the CUP was sought because the company would like to be able to advertise and erect signs on the property, which is about 75 acres zoned ARD. Williams said a public hearing was held in October to allow neighbors to voice any concerns, and the planning and zoning board had given the project a favorable recommendation. 

Commissioners approved a contract with Van Diest Supply Co. in the amount of $27,300 for chemicals to use for mosquito abatement next summer, as requested by Brad Asay with county mosquito control. Asay said they had sent bid requests out to four companies and had gotten three back, and his recommendation was to go with the Van Diest bid. 

Kim West with Uinta County Emergency Management requested the approval of two grant applications to the Wyoming Office of Homeland Security. One grant is to help with wages for staff and the other is for enhancements and security to the Uinta County Complex. 

West said the latter grant would allow for placement of more electronic locks, a camera system and a transaction window for the circuit court. Both grants were approved. 

Uinta County Sheriff Doug Matthews requested the approval of a Highway Safety Grant application in the amount of $4,750 to pay overtime wages for deputies working DUI and seatbelt enforcement events. This grant was also approved.

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