Ferron Residents Discuss Events Center Proposal
The Ferron City Council met in their regularly scheduled meeting on Nov.13 in the Ferron City Hall. Those present were Mayor Garth Larsen and council members, Kent Larsen, Laurie Pitchforth, Clifford Snow and Gordon Bennett.
The first item of business was the approval of the agenda and the minutes. The next item of business was the approval of the building permits for a new home, a room addition and the installation of a barn.
The council reviewed the ordinances and discussed the uses which are permitted on the property in question. It was determined that some of the zoning ordinances need to be looked into further. One ordinance discussed stipulated that you can still have what you had on the property at the time the ordinance was passed, such as 10 cows or whatever the case might be. One question on the zoning of an agricultural-residential area brought up the most questions. It was determined that the council would meet with the planning and zoning committee to address these zoning issues in the near future.
The property owner building the barn has taken preventative measures so as not to violate the nuisance ordinance. He has installed retaining walls to prevent runoff on to neighboring property and plans to build a wood fence in the near future. All permits were approved with the stipulation that verification of the 100 foot setback be made on the new barn.
The next item on the agenda was the public hearing concerning the special events center being proposed by Ferron City. Mayor Larsen said, "We embarked on the project with the advice of an advisory board. To begin with we looked at just a stock show facility. The more we looked the more we realized that a center where indoor rodeos could be held, BMX bike competitions, bull riders and many other attractions was a possibility. The board has a plan for the facility and drawings. It would be placed west of the existing building. Ferron City has also purchased property adjacent to the facility.
"The center would be 300' x 165' with a wing the entire length of the building where hogs would be shown and housed. The existing barn would serve as a horse stalling facility with the needed improvements being made to it such as roof replacement to make it safe.
"The high school rodeo competitors need a place to stall horses. This is the second public hearing on the center. We want this to be a county wide project not just a Ferron project. We want to see the stock show continue. It has been held in Ferron for 63 years. How do we pay for a new facility? We will prepare applications to the Community Impact Board for funding and will look to the county to help with loan repayment."
Commissioner Drew Sitterud was in attendance at the hearing. He said he could not speak for the whole commission but he felt the only way the project would be possible would be with a tax increase to raise necessary funds for the center. Sitterud stressed the fact that mineral lease money right now is practically nonexistent. He said he has talked to the Blackhawk facility in Salina and they are barely breaking even with their county helping with $80,000 per year. Sitterud stressed the fact that the county can't move further until it sees some figures but they are behind the project.
Mayor Larsen pointed out that Ferron City is ready to accept responsibility for maintenance of the new facility and that they have spoken to a dozen different places and there is a wide variance in maintenance costs. From $25-100,000 per year. It was pointed out that upkeep on the facility should be minimal because it will be a metal structure. It was also pointed out that some events are contracted out and the people that put on the event also are responsible for the clean up.
Mayor Larsen said the committee has talked to Blackhawk and they said a high school rodeo will bring in approximately 500 participants. The Panguitch facility said on average each participant will spend $410 per weekend. The people who travel to equestrian events drop money in the communities in which these events are held. People will stay where rooms are available. Ferron City is trying to promote tourism and use the event center as a drawing card. Groups could schedule and use the facility. Ferron City doesn't intend to make money on the facility but have it available for use by nonprofit organizations. Some of the new facilities have two sets of lights available and depending on the event different lights are used.
Mayor Larsen said the issue of heating the building still needs to be addressed. Showers will also be available in the new building for participants to use. Citizens in attendance supported the events center feeling it should be a county wide project which will have a positive impact on the county. The Ferron City Council will prepare a presentation to take around to all the other cities in the county to make them aware of Ferron City's intentions and to bring them on board.
Mayor Larsen stressed the need for county wide support of the project. One citizen wondered if local and private investors have been contacted to support the project. Mayor Larsen said no private individuals have been contacted yet but that is part of the entire plan. One citizen spoke of the special events center in Spanish Fork and how every time he is in the area it is packed with various events, craft shows, auctions and he said 'it's amazing what you can have with a building of that kind.'
One citizen spoke of the drawing power of year round barrel racing. It was brought to light that new businesses do not always break even in the first few years of operation. The golf course was used as an example that it has taken 13 years for it to break even. A large percentage of the usage at the golf course is from people from the Wasatch Front area. These people are looking for any excuse to get out of the city, one citizen emphasized.
One citizen mentioned that people will come and he used a Wednesday night roping event as an example. They would have on average 250 roping teams participate in the event. The participants biggest complaint was there was no place to stay and nowhere to eat or get gas after 10 p.m.
Kent Larsen commented that we should get into the project and go full bore.
One citizen, who is a former resident of Salt Lake City, commented that there isn't a lot for kids to do around here and mentioned the dance halls that he used to attend. He said they were very popular and would like to see events of this type held in the new center.
One citizen stressed the need for active, open minded groups and pointed out the drawing power of the craft shows and how the large ones are operated on a circuit. One craft organizer has already told them when they get their building they will schedule a show there. Swap meets are also a possibility and he also believes that creativity can overcome dollars.
It was one citizen's hope to blur lines between cities in the county and unite the county with this project. Mayor Larsen said they would ready applications for CIB funding. One person also suggested a feasibility study be completed.
The stock show in 2001 had 290 animals participate and 150 kids. With all the moms, dads, grandparents, and RVs it was hard to get around said one citizen.
The public meeting was closed and the council went on to other business. The canvassing of the election returns was next on the agenda and the motion carried. Fees pertaining to unlicensed dogs and dogs sent to the pound were also addressed. A discussion on the available water meter reader positions was discussed. It was determined that two or three people be hired on a rotating basis and take turns going out and reading the meters.
The golf course has met its budget last year and this year and Ferron City appreciates all of the local people for supporting the course. Without local support the course wouldn't be doing as well. The meeting adjourned into executive session to discuss personnel issues.