Monday, Aug. 5 kicked off the brownfield meetings that ran through Thursday. Every town in Carbon County played host to a meeting for locals to attend, gain information and speak out with questions and opinions about local brownfields.
Nearly ten handouts were available for attendees to take for personal reference following each meeting. The presentations were given by Dave Laney, who is the Principal of Stantec. He outlined the agenda for the meetings, putting each section into time increments to keep the gatherings to 1.5 hours.
Laney first presented on what a brownfield is. “It’s a property that has, or may be perceived to have, environmental impacts.”
The program he presented is the Brownfield Site Reuse and Revitalization Program, Carbon County Coalition. Members of the coalition consist of economic development specialist Rita Vigor and commissioner Casey Hopes for Carbon County, Wellington Mayor Joan Powell, East Carbon Mayor David Avery, Helper City Mayor Lenise Peterman and Price City Mayor Mike Kourianos The program provides $600,000 for brownfield assessment and only assessment; no clean up or an actual project that has a probability of taking place. Laney also described how to nominate a site for an assessment: there’s a form online and one can also contact Laney or Vigor with any questions.
Laney described some places in Utah where redeveloping has created a good impact on those areas, such as Ogden, Salt Lake City and Richmond. A powerpoint was presented at each meeting and gave time at the end to receive questions and opinions about the program. He asked questions during each meeting about what members of the community are most excited about versus the concerns they have. He also asked where the most important locations are and the best places to live and work.
During the Helper meeting on Monday evening, they all mentioned Helper keeping its old, small-town feel. “We do not need a McDonald’s on our Main Street,” one person shared. Laughter filled the room when the comment was made, but everyone understood what the statement stood for. Helper residents are very proud of the beautification the city has gone through recently and the community wants to bring even more tourism into the small town to support the economy.
Tuesday evening’s meeting was hosted at the Wellington City Hall, which was a major topic of the evening. After attendees were shown the presentation by Laney, the discussion portion of the meeting began. A question asked was about properties in the area and nominating them. One can nominate a property they don’t own, but they should not expect anything to happen unless the property owner decides to have it assessed and move forward from that point. It was also explained that a property, after assessed, has a choice to be revitalized unless there is an immediate danger to health of people in the community. The next five years were also brought to attention. Mayor Powell, along with others, would really like to see a new city hall and fire/police station built in the future. Attendees would also like to see further beautification in Wellington City. There was also mention of how much community members love the pond and park in town as well as how grateful they are for the Miller’s travel center.
The Wednesday meeting in Price went through the presentation but added a slide of local, recognizable properties that might be considered as brownfields in the area. Laney was able to make a physical list with a white board in the room. Those in the meeting listed off all they are excited about for Price, including things such as the university, Culture Connection, farmer’s market and more. There was also a list of concerns made such as gentrification, power plants and coal mines, transportation and infrastructure as well as a couple other notices. Laney then asked the crowd where they thought the most important places in Price were and many were listed off, including the hospital, downtown, university, airport, parks and green spaces. Mayor Kourianos noted how, along with Helper City, Price wants to keep a small town feeling. He made the quote of how many people call the city “Price, ‘Merica” because of how tightly knit the community is.
The meetings ended in East Carbon on Thursday where Vigor recorded the highest attendance at this meeting out of all hosted that week. The presentation was given to those attendees and a discussion portion was opened at the end of the meeting.
There are properties in Carbon County, Price, Helper, Wellington and East Carbon that are eligible for reuse and revitalization, but these properties need to be assessed first and foremost.
“It’s like free money,” said Laney during one of his presentations.
He also mentioned that there might not be any use for a property but no money would be wasted for it to be assessed. To nominate a site or ask any questions about brownfields, one can reach Laney at (602) 670-7009 or his email firstname.lastname@example.org. Vigor can also be reached at (435) 636-3295 or email@example.com.