Green River Canal Commons Ground-Breaking


By Robin Hunt

On Saturday, Epicenter invited people out to celebrate the groundbreaking of their Canal Commons Housing Development Project, Phase 1. 

Maria Sykes, co-founder and director of Epicenter, opened the ceremony by discussing the housing shortage that afflicts Green River, and describing that this will be the first multi-family affordable housing built in decades. 

The project encompasses 10 single-family homes (a mix of five rentals and five owner-occupied units) and a public park on a donated four-acre lot. Sykes thanked the city of Green River and council members past and present for their influence in this project, including the donation of the four acres. 

Funding for phase 1 has been secured. This included the construction of five affordable rental units. Two three bedroom units, two two bedroom units and one ADA-compliant two bedroom unit. 

Mayor Ren Hatt thanked Sykes and the Epicenter for their tireless efforts to make this project happen.

“I know I would have jumped at the opportunity to rent something like this when I first moved back to Green River,” Hatt said. 

These units will be situated next to the Pearl Baker Park & Outdoor Classroom, an ongoing Epicenter project that includes a gazebo, an outdoor amphitheater/classroom, and more. 

Sykes made sure to thank all those who have contributed to the project including: Lindsey Briceno, Jason Wheeler, Steph Crabtree, Nick Berger, Tracy Dutson, Chad McDonald, Sophie Maguire, Will Kershner, Kenny Fallon Jr., Zoey, Mayor Ren Hatt, former Mayors Travis Bacon and Pat Brady, former City Administrator Conae Black, board members, and more. 

Sykes then invited five instrumental people up to “turn over the soil”. They included Mayor Ren Hatt, Kenny Fallon Jr., current project lead, Lindsey Briceno, Epicenter Board Member, Stephanie Toney with Zions Bank and their contractor for the project, Jay McDonald. 

After the groundbreaking, there was a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new gazebo at the Pearl Baker Park, and some smoked chicken sandwiches for everyone in attendance cooked by Mayor Ren Hatt. 

The gazebo at Pearl Baker Park not only provides shade from the sun and shelter from wind and rain, it is also unique in its positioning. Each window perfectly frames specific views, such as a stunning view of the Book Cliffs. 

Epicenter has worked on this and many other projects and you can keep up to date by checking out their website, or following them on social media on Instagram at @ruralandproud and Facebook at greenriverepicenter. 

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