Commission hears Green River concerns
|Bill Adams demonstrates his "hook" to Emery County Commissioner Gary Kofford.|
The Emery County Commissioners met in Green River for their commission meeting on Aug. 16. Green River citizens attended the meeting and spoke during the citizen concerns portion of the meeting on the needs of the citizens in Green River. Mayor Glen Dale Johnson read a letter to the commissioners from a concerned Green River citizen. She voiced her support for the construction of a new community center for Green River. The plans have been drawn up for some time and the hold-up is the lack of funding. The letter stated the need for the county commissioners to get behind the project of a new community center for Green River and to help support it.
Commissioner Ira Hatch said that as requests for community projects are brought up the commission lends their support to the projects, but they are unable to finance any of these projects. The commission can help point the cities in the right direction with requests to the community impact board for the funding of projects. The commission will put in a favorable word with the CIB for a project request from Green River for the construction of a new community center. Commissioner Drew Sitterud stressed the need for all of the paperwork to be filled out correctly in making requests for grants.
Christine Monroe who is the director of the community center said she was able to obtain letters of intent from people who would pay a fair rent price to be able to use a room in the new facility. The new facility would include a theatre-150 seats, bowling alley, conference center, kitchen, computer room, Kids Cafe, and class rooms.
The community center has provided 23 jobs since its inception. The 10 volunteers from the Americorps group made a big contribution to the city of Green River. On Oct. 24 another set of Americorps volunteers will be brought in. Connie Copenhauver also spoke in support of the new community center. She said it would be a boost for economic development because the facility could be used to educate employees and the education component would help upgrade the employee pool in Green River. She said that a convention center is needed in Green River and that it could be used as a source of revenue for the new facility in rentals for conventions. Copenhauver would like to see more tournaments brought into Green River for sports which would be a plus for the economy. She thinks it's time to get away from depending on the Interstate traffic to sustain Green River.
Copenhauver spoke about the Castle Dale cut-off route and how the east end of the road is in bad shape. She wondered if the county could look at fixing the road. Commissioner Hatch said it would take time and money, but they would look into it. Morris Sorensen from the road department said the road has drainage problems and needs culverts which take money.
One citizen wondered about a road up the river that used to be open, but isn't any more. Ray Petersen, public lands director, instructed him to make the BLM aware of the road and its importance to Green River.
Mayor Johnson approached the commissioners about reimbursing Green River City for the remainder of the attorney fees from the Green River annexation. Mayor Johnson is asking for approximately $14,000 to cover the remaining balance of the fees. Emery County has paid $25,000 to Green River City for the attorney fees previously. The remaining balance Mayor Johnson feels is owed to Green River City, as all new property tax revenue generated by property in the annexation area goes into the county. Green River City does not have a tax base, as no property tax is assessed on Green River City residents. There is not a clear document or agreement detailing who would pay the cost of the annexation. The commission seems to think the agreement was 50/50 and Mayor Johnson thinks the county benefitted from the annexation and should pay all the related expenses.
Mayor Johnson encouraged the commission to remember Green River City at budget time to resolve this issue of expenses related to the annexation.
Green River citizen Bill Adams spoke to the commission. He said he has been in Green River for 14 years and is a retired photographer from Santa Barbara, Calif. He said he worked in Santa Barbara as a construction/consultant to beautify the area. Adams is on a committee to revitalize Green River and he believes that Green River has been neglected for many years. In order to accomplish the different projects, money is needed and Green River needs a hook; a way to reel people in and get them to spend time and money in the community.
Adams feels it is important to improve the image of Green River. There are things to build on, Green River has a nice museum and very nice watermelons. He also wants to revitalize the downtown area and clean it up as well as encourage new business. Adams would like to see a tribute to the railroad, Indian, mining and missile base histories in Green River's past.
He would like to look for ways to increase tourism and bring people here to experience the beauty of the area. "We need to do something, not just talk about it," said Adams.
Commissioner Hatch encouraged Adams to go to the travel bureau with his ideas and look for ways to get funding for the projects he has in mind.
One citizen spoke in favor of the new community center facility because it would be a benefit for the Special Olympics kids. Currently she has to drive the children to Moab so they can practice their bowling and swimming.