Centerfield weighs growth with demands of additional
By Ben Lasseter
CENTERFIELD—The city council’s discussion about new housing led to questions about the town’s future at a meeting Wednesday, Oct. 21.
Kasey Peterson, a developer who has current projects in Centerfield and Gunnison, came to the meeting with the aim of “feeling out” the council’s opinions of a development idea. He said he had no specific property, blueprints or price point in mind, just a general vision of housing demands.
“We’re missing a class of buyers in the valley,” Peterson said. He said some potential buyers he had in mind were families starting out and older citizens looking to downsize.
The council members agreed unanimously that the city needed more housing. But council members David Beck and Jackie Huff had concerns over ramifications of growth.
Beck said many in Centerfield would have reservations about development that would drive up Centerfield’s population. He said Centerfield had seen little change since his childhood, and he did not want to see the roads become more crowded.
“Change is inevitable,” Peterson said. The Gunnison City Council had a similar reaction to the prospect of significant growth, he said.
“I’m sure it’s coming,” Beck said in response. “It’s just [a matter of] time and resources and how much people are up for it.”
Councilwoman Huff said it could be more difficult to restrict future large-scale development if the city were to open the door to it now. Water allocation could make such growth tricky, she added.
“We have to think of where to draw the line,” she said. “But we definitely need places for people to live.”
Later at the meeting, Jed Hansen, Gunnison Valley Fire chief, presented a list of items the department could use, including hazardous materials suits and breathing apparatus.
He said the items on the list could keep firefighters “much safer” from chemicals in fires and the coronavirus, as well as future pandemics. He made these points in reference to stipulations over how cities can spend CARES Act funds.
Hansen said he was “not asking Centerfield to come up with the money,” but suggesting to let “anything that’s freed up,” especially from CARES relief funds, be considered for the firefighter equipment.
He said he had come up with the list at the prompting of Scott Bartholomew, Sanpete County Commissioner, who had spoken to him about spending funds on fire departments in the county.
The CARES Act stands for Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security. It is a federal economic stimulus bill that has distributed money to American citizens, businesses and cities when it was signed into law in March in response to the economic shutdown.
After hearing from Hansen, the council discussed other uses for CARES funds. These ideas include the purchase of a sign to use for displaying public health messages on combating COVID-19. This sign could be finished this year, according to Lacey Belnap, city recorder.
The council also voiced support for beginning regular sanitization of the playground and buying personal protection equipment such as masks and gloves to distribute. None of these ideas have become official actions yet, however.
Also at the meeting, the council voted to donate $75 to the Gunnison Valley High School girls’ basketball team and $25 to the Santa Fun Run in December.