Uinta County Herald | 1000 acres main topic of Uinta County economic development meeting

Bart Jensen with Jones & DeMille attended the Uinta County Economic Development Commission (UCEDC) meeting via Zoom technology on Wednesday, October 5, to review the proposed plan for the 1,000 acres the county owns near the Bear River State Park at the end of the road To nowhere.
Jensen provided a screenshot of the color-coded design map designating areas for different use. A few months ago, UCEDC had selected a special committee to work with Jones & DeMille to decide on the options for the square footage and they had prepared the design.
The top (east) of the somewhat rectangular area colored red would be designated for malls. Jensen said the estimated property tax created in this area would be $32,500 per year; with sales tax of $230,000 annually; 400 jobs created and 375,000 square feet of buildings created.
Beneath the commercial area, a smaller light purple colored area has been designated for multi-warehousing and light industry. Annual revenue estimates were property tax at $20,000; sales tax at $5,000; 100 jobs created; and 500,000 square feet of building created.
The dark purple area directly below the light purple area has been designated as a multi-use area which could be a combination of commerce and residence. Annual revenues from this area were estimated at $62,500 in property taxes; $325,000 in sales tax; 215 jobs created and 415,000 square feet of building created.
The golden area at the lower end of the rectangle is designated for multi-family residences such as townhouses. Annual revenue estimates for this area were $65,000 in property taxes; zero sales tax; no jobs created; and 325,000 square feet of building created.
The white area along the edge of the acreage and near the Interstate could be more residential or commercial or used as a hallway.
UCEDC County Manager Gary Welling asked Jensen if there was anything in the contract with Jones & DeMille that a public meeting/open house would be held to discuss the plan.
“Yeah, I think there was,” Jensen said. “I’ll check that out and get with my crew and find a date to do it, maybe early November.”
Dr. Travis Shelton of Lyman asked the Commission for a letter of support for the construction of a proposed assisted living facility in Lyman.
“So many of our seniors have to leave their families and be placed in Utah facilities,” Shelton said. “We want to keep our loved ones close, so the City of Lyman and Elevated Living are applying for grants to build an assisted living facility in Lyman. Some of the old people are my parents, my grandparents and even my patients.
Shelton said the town of Lyman donated 2.7 acres for the facility, and Joy Bell, Evanston resident and owner of Compassionate Journey, is helping them write grants. Shelton said that according to his research, the average income for a senior care center manager is $60,000. He said keeping older people in the community can be a big boost for Lyman’s economy.
An assisted living facility in Lyman, Shelton said, could be Lyman’s second largest employer next to the school district. The facility would be a great help to the city’s medical staff and provide jobs for Lyman High School graduates earning a CNA degree. Employees at the facility, Shelton said, would be a director, administrative staff and primarily CNAs.
“Health care is the number one leading industry in the country,” Shelton said. “A group that manages facilities in Rock Springs advised us on design and pricing and they estimate that the average cost per resident of a facility is $4,000 to $5,000 per month.
The problem facing the committee, Shelton said, is that it was originally looking for a $6 million facility and seeking half of that in grants. Because the average salary at Lyman is low, they couldn’t meet the rationale for asking so much money to provide just 20 jobs. The Wyoming Business Council, which is helping the committee, asked the State Land & Investment Board (SLIB) to let them come back 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 the SLIB in December. If they get the grant in December, they plan to start building in the spring of 2023.
The committee voted to draft 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 that the commission needed a working session to finalize the plan. It was decided that they would meet one hour before their regular meeting on October 26.
Jon Conrad reported on Key Performance Indicators and asked Rocco O’Neill to report on the Economic Development webpage.
O’Neill said the webpage had seen 1,116 users from August 24 to today with an average of 1 minute 30 seconds per visit. He said he was happy with the website.
“We’ve added a contact name and address to listed businesses,” O’Neill said. “We will wait and see on inquiries. It’s an economic development purgatory right now.
Conrad said that over the past month, homes on the market have been 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, 93% of whom have 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 a “Boot Camp” of entrepreneurs and involves local business leaders providing training and expertise, will start again in January. He said that over the four years of Jumpstart training, they awarded $30,000 in grants to local startups and small businesses.
Phil Marchant, director of enterprise sales at All West Communications, was there as a guest and said his company is always looking for underserved areas and asked the commission to let them know if they are aware of any. and that he would present the information to decision makers at All West.
Wheeler reported events to the school board. He said the athletics expansion was over and he thought it would be a big economic boost for 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 its salary, and students can always choose their own doctor or therapist.
Doug Rigby, vice-principal of Uinta County School District No. 1, reported on the work being done at Evanston High School.
“We still don’t have hot water. This is a multi-million dollar project to replace all water pipes. The company doing this had a major problem and had to replace everything they had done before,” Rigby said. “They are now working very long hours, morning and evening, trying to get the job done.”
Owen Peterson of Mountain View reported that 1.98 acres of land had been annexed to the City of Mountain View.
Welling said the tender for the new stands at the fairgrounds was due to take place on Thursday October 13 and that they hope to start construction on June 1, 2023.