Commission explains CoreCivic decision; proposed trail system still in works

Pictured is the logo for the Southwest Wyoming Off-road Trails (SWOT) system.

EVANSTON — The Uinta County Economic Development Commission (UCEDC) met via videoconference on Wednesday, April 22.

Board members present were Brent Hatch, Alma Harmon, Dan Wheeler, Tib Ottley, Owen Peterson and Gary Welling.

Hatch asked Gary Welling to cover the first item on the agenda and explain why CoreCivic backed out of the detention center proposal.

“The main reason CoreCivic provided is that ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) is only willing to do a one-year contract at this time,” Welling said. “CoreCivic felt that a one-year guarantee[d] contract was not long enough to warrant the major investment of building and operating the detention center. Perhaps it was bad timing due to an election coming soon and the COVID-19 outbreak. The RFP (request for proposals) is still out there, so maybe when this pandemic is over the project will come back.”

Hatch gave an update on the local coronavirus response team, of which he is a member. He said there was a big move for face masks and people in the community have been making them. He reported on the 11,000 bottles each of sanitizer hand wash that BPI Labs donated, which were provided to first responders and medical personnel and the public.

Hatch moved to the third item on the agenda, the UCEDC website. He said the City of Evanston is cooperating with the commission on the development of the website. The soft launch of the site will be sometime around the first of June, Hatch said.

Welling said he has the SBA contact information on the business loans provided by the government and he will send out the information to everyone on the commission.

Mark Tesoro with Southwest Wyoming Off-Road Trails system (SWOT) was on the agenda to give an update on the progress of SWOT. Tesoro, who is the publisher of the Uinta County Herald, said he and Rick Schuler with the Forest Service are working with landowners to get support and that COVID-19 has slowed the organization’s progress somewhat.

“We have a slogan and a logo,” Tesoro said. “Our mission is ‘to connect communities, connect to the forest and connect to historical sites.’ We have secured eight letters of support so far [including] the U.S. Forest Service, the City of Evanston, the Evanston Chamber of Commerce, Rocky Mountain Power; Uinta County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue and Southwest Wyoming Manufacturing Partnership.”

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