Local representatives planning for the area's future growth

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The Long Term Planning Committee (LTPC) held its monthly meeting on January 6, to discuss ways in which current community and college challenges can be met while assisting future growth.

The LTPC is comprised of representatives from the county commission, Price City, College of Eastern Utah, local business sector and public schools.

LTPC representatives hope that cooperation will maximize available resources and increase local support for developing economic, educational and recreational opportunities for the county citizens and college students.

CEU's Academic Vice President Cliff Coppersmith and Price City Mayor Joe Piccolo both acknowledge that CEU President Ryan Thomas has been a tremendous catalyst in building partnerships between the college and community.

" ... CEU is probably the gem in the rough for economic development in Carbon County. So it's an important goal for Price City to be part of it," stated Mayor Piccolo in a phone interview Friday.

The LTPC has 12-13 written goals that were submitted eight months ago. At the top of the list is a new library/fine arts/recreation facility possibly located in the heart of Carbon County: College of Eastern Utah.

According to Coppersmith and Piccolo, a library/fine arts/recreational facility would mutually benefit the county and College of Eastern Utah. "Price City Library is completely inadequate for a community this size. It has limitations in square footage and accessibility ... and [CEU's] library has shortcomings. That's why our interests ... come together," stated Coppersmith.

"We want to provide the community with a facility that will ... add to the programs already in use ... [and] be utilized by a larger population of the community in a central location," stated Piccolo.

The location of this facility is currently being discussed. "One of the concepts would be to use the current recreation area where the wave pool and regular pool are now and either add onto that or somehow hook into that and use the space where the tennis courts are and the other recreational area [is] over there for the [recreation] center.

"The library either would be collocated with the [recreation] center or possibly located across the street on the corner, and when we get our fine arts center, that music building will come down. That corner conceivably could be open for a library complex," stated Coppersmith.

Inspired by Salt Lake City's new library, a multifunctional and cultural gathering hot spot, a project as envisioned by the LTPC could be a multimillion-dollar project; a project worth pursuing according to Coppersmith and Piccolo.

"In 25 years, conceivably CEU could have 5,000 students or more ... eventually Price could become a bedroom community for Utah Valley ... people could begin moving here with the completion of a four-lane Highway 6. That could be a huge impact on Price, kind of like what's happened to Tooele," stated Coppersmith.

"If CEU grows, then Price City will grow, and we do want to grow. We don't necessarily want to be a metropolitan area, but we do need to sustain some growth in order to be able to continue with the quality of life that we've grown used to," stated Piccolo.

Population increases demand a greater quantity and variety of services, recreational opportunities, and economic development; demands for which LTPC representatives want to be prepared.

"You can't just think about accommodating the needs of today, you have to think, in this case, about the next quarter of a century," stated Coppersmith.

Funding and project prioritization, however, may prove to be substantial road blocks in the construction of such a facility.

LTPC representatives are debating whether a particular agency or combination of agencies should bear the expense of the library/fine arts/recreation center. There is also debate among representatives as to whether the Price City Library, museum, or recreational center should take first priority.

"We're in the discussion and information phase of planning, nothing has been specifically decided," stated Coppersmith.

The LTPC hopes to move from the discussion phase to the decision and process phases within the coming months. A project prioritization list is the next step for the LTPC, followed by an application to the Community Impact Board (CIB) for a Planning Grant and Feasibility Study, and proposal to the Division of Facilities and Construction Management (DFCM).

Pending LTPC project prioritization and approval from the CIB and UDPF, Carbon County could enjoy the benefits of a learning/cultural/physical fitness MECCA within approximately 3-5 years.

"I think it's important to dream, but [that's] not as important as it is to sell the dream to your friends," stated Piccolo.

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