A handful of interested citizens showed up last Wednesday to attend a special work meeting in the Carbon County commission chambers to discuss the future of the present courthouse. After some previously heated commission meetings concerning the county’s decision to construct a new building, commissioners were a little bit surprised at the low turnout.
However, for those that did participate, Matthew Godfrey with Better City presented to those in attendance. A former Ogden City Mayor, Godfrey is now in the private sector working to help communities with development issues. He gave some examples of what had been achieved in the Ogden area. Better Utah had worked hard to take a dying, historic downtown and turn it back into a thriving hub of the state.
Godfrey wrapped up the presentation stating that if they were approved as consultants that the process to generate potential ideas would take about four weeks. In the commission meeting that followed, Better Utah was given approval to move forward with phase one, which included a proposal for the use of the building.
Adam Hughes, Director of Community Development, conducted follow-up phone calls with each person who attended the meeting. He encourages local residents who would like to give their input to click https://bettercity.us/carbon-county/ to answer questions in determining desires of community members for use of the building.
During the public comment portion of the commission meeting Price City Council member Kathy Hanna-Smith told the commissioners that no matter what they do with the building, it needs to be high traffic. She also expressed views of other council members that were not able to be present. Ideas for use include an art gallery or housing special schooling. Hanna-Smith did stress that they wanted to ensure the county keeps the property well maintained.
Commissioner John Jones said he had spoken with Wayne Clausing and he had expressed that he would like to see the building used as a cancer treatment center.
Price City Council member Rick Davis was in support of the proposals, but also wanted to know if Better Utah had experience working with communities as small as Price. Godfrey assured him with several examples of other communities they have helped.
Mark Jesperson got up to ask if the use will remain centered around the county’s identity of coal. He felt with the direction things were going it might be time for the county to begin looking at some possible new identities. Jones stated coal sales are increasing. He said the county was actively enticing new companies to the area. Commissioner Jae Potter concurred with this and said there are many projects in the works, but some that the county can’t yet speak about.
Jesperson said their needs to be more communication within the community. He said right now the feeling in the area is stagnant. Commissioners agreed and stated they would do better getting information out.
Jesperson also wondered if Price City and the county would be working together on this project. Jones answered that he feels the relationship between the two have been improving and that they work together often to accomplish tasks. Hanna-Smith and Davis agreed that the two were working more cooperatively.
Terri Yelonek from the Seventh District Court said that they are in the process of performing an assessment of their building located behind the current Carbon County Courthouse. They might need to consider building a new facility in that location and needed to make the group aware of that possibility.
Community member Todd Richardson also spoke during the meeting. He said though he works for USU Eastern, he was attending the meeting on his own behalf. He would like to consider that USU Eastern’s Custom Fit program use the building. He did stress that no one from the college was aware he would be at the meeting to speak of the program. He also said on a personal note that indoor baseball and basketball facilities could be house in the building. Jones said he had looked into that but costs would be more than the community could sustain over time.
Mark McIntyre, News Director at Castle Country Radio, said the community needed a mixed martial arts studio. Terry Willis, with Willis-Works Studio said she thought the building could function as a multi-use facility with specialty shops for small business owners to rent.
Georgina Nowak with the Southeastern Utah Health Department said commissioners needed to take into account parking issues as they move forward with any decisions.