Capital projects listed in Blanding

Improvements at Gooseneck State Park were discussed at length at the February 12 meeting of the Blanding City Council. The Council also discussed a 10-year capital projects plan.

A letter from the City to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) addresses proposed improvements at Goosenecks State Park, including possible hiking and biking trails and new campsites. 

The city supports improvements to the park that benefit the local economy such as the hiking and biking trails. The letter expressed concern that other improvements may hurt private businesses, such as RV parks and campgrounds. 

Chris Hanson, Park Manager for Goosenecks State Park, discussed what improvements could be made and the reasoning behind it. Currently, there are six campsites at the state park and a bevy of dispersed campsites on adjacent BLM land. 

The proposed solution includes 14 new campsites at the State Park, with dispersed campsites on BLM land closed off. The campsites would remain primitive, with a pit toilet as the only amenity. 

Councilmember Cheryl Bowers said local business owners fear that improvements to the state park would take business away from them. Hanson said the number of campsites will actually be reduced because dispersed camping would no longer be an option and campers would need to go elsewhere to find a campsite. Hanson reiterated the goal of the project is to improve the experience for visitors and has been needed for a long time. 

Councilmembers discussed and approved a 10-year capital projects plan. Projects slated for the future include water and sewer upgrades, street improvements, and recreation projects. 

A splash pad was discussed at length after cost estimates came back high. While a splash pad is a popular recreation capital improvement, councilmembers were hesitant to justify the $250,000 price tag. 

Mayor Joe Lyman expressed concern that a free amenity could take business from the city pool, which does generate revenue. Councilmembers wondered if putting the splash pad inside the pool area makes sense. 

Councilmembers said the $150,000 price tag for shade structures at the ballpark is high, especially with $100,000 estimated just for installation. City Manager Jeremy Redd said the estimate is based on contractors coming from Salt Lake City. Redd speculated that a local contractor could do it for a better price. 

Improvements at Recapture Reservoir were also discussed. The hope for improvements has gained traction after talks with the BLM and San Juan County. 

Ultimately, councilmembers reduced the price tag to $75,000 for the shade structure and to $125,000 for a possible splash pad before approving the plan. 

These projects are slated for construction in 2021 and 2022 respectively. Changes can be made, but an approved plan allows the city to start saving. 

Councilmembers also approved an ordinance and resolution to clarify the process and fee schedule for records access management. 

In his water report, City Engineer Terry Ekker pointed out there’s more snow on the mountain at this time of year than there was last year. “We’re looking pretty dang good,” said Ekker.

Police Chief J.J. Bradford reported on criminal activity in the city. A case involving four major assaults has taken up much time. Also of note is a fingerprint match for a museum robbery in October. A warrant was served on the individual and a portion of the stolen items was recovered. 

City Recreation Director David Palmer reported 80 girls have signed up for volleyball with another influx expected as kids talk about it. Boys basketball has finished, and the department is starting to get the parks ready for warmer weather. 

Councilmember Cheryl Bowers complimented Palmer on the basketball program. “The referees, the crews on the sidelines, everything is so well run,” she said, “You have great coaches, too.”

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