While San Juan County as a whole has seen unprecedented growth in the last two years, Blanding seems to be experiencing growth and development second only to Spanish Valley in the northern part of the county.
At the present time, there are seven new subdivisions of various sizes in some stage of development in the Blanding area. Developers include Brit Barton, Mitch Bailey, the Palmer Family (Pacheco) Heath Latham (Elk Ridge) Jimmy Hunt, Floyd Beak (Ridgeview) and Richard Perkins.
The stimulus for this unprecedented development is the belief that the resurgent uranium industry and other economic stimulators in the area will create demand for new housing. Add to that the fact that San Juan County seems to have become a magnet for people from all over the country looking to buy retirement, recreation and investment property.
While County land values have soared in recent years, San Juan is still a bargain when compared to most other areas of the country. For example, it is reported that 27 five-acre parcels, at an average of $65,000, were sold during August in phase II of the massive Elk Meadows Development six miles north of Monticello. The 400-acre first phase of Elk Meadows sold out in less than a year in 2006.
Water is the key to growth in any community. Blanding has made great strides in developing new water sources. Two deep wells have been drilled in the southeast quadrant of the city. Drilled at a cost of just under $1 million, these two 12-inch diameter, 1,800 foot deep wells penetrate the Navajo sandstone.
Together, they tested at 800-900 gallons per minute, or 1,224,000 gallons a day. This water source is more dependable than runoff from the mountains, and will assure the possibility of much growth in the future.
The wells are presently in the “integration” process, which means pumps and piping from the wells to the city water system are under construction. A single electric pump in each well will lift the water out of the well and pump it into the city system.
Blanding City Manager Chris Webb said engineers estimate the cost of delivery to the city system will be 46 cents per thousand gallons. Mr. Webb added that the quality and taste of the well water is excellent. Financing for this project is a joint effort of the CIB (Community Impact Board), the Army Corps of Engineers and Blanding City.
Blanding recently received a $775,000 grant from the USDA to begin work on surface water drainage (storm water) from within the city. Water that now runs off during storms will be collected and drained by culvert out of the city. This will be designed to eliminate much of the mosquito problems of the past, as well as mitigate potential flooding during heavy summer thunderstorms.
Blanding recently spent $350,000 to repave the roads in the area of the San Juan High School and the Albert R. Lyman Middle School.
The new Blue Mountain Hospital is making progress. The parking lots are paved, and much of the landscaping is in. Present plans call for an April, 2008 completion.
Improvements in the amount of $1.7 million will soon begin for the water treatment plant, which will feature a new membrane filtration system. The funding comes from the USDA, CIB and the City.