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The Sanpete Messenger

Ephraim will get $192,487 from third tranche from CARES after deadline is extended

Ephraim will get $192,487 from third tranche from CARES

after deadline is extended

 

By Lloyd Call

Associate publisher

1-27-2021

 

EPHRAIM—Ephraim City received word last Wednesday that it would receive its third tranche of CARES Act funds ($192,487). Initially, the city was able to identify how to use the first two tranches but could not get delivery of some items and opted not to accept the third tranche in 2020 because the state was requiring the return of all unspent funds.

On Dec. 27, 2020 the state advised Ephraim that CARES Act funds would be allowed to be spent through Dec. 31, 2021. The city is still deciding what will have the most positive impact on residents. High on the priority list are improvements to the water system that would allow for remote observation of critical pieces of equipment.

Another priority could be sanitation equipment that wasn’t available last year. Also, technical improvements could made so public meetings are more accessible to residents who want to participate but are unable to attend meetings in person.

“We are grateful for the CARES Act funds that have been very useful in mitigating the effects of problems associated with COVID-19,” said Mayor John Scott. “There may still be other impacts we aren’t aware of and this year we’ll be on the lookout for the best ways to use these funds.”

The mayor also told the city council at their regular meeting last Wednesday that he is also concerned about the Snow College faculty not qualifying for COVID-19 vaccinations. “We are glad the health care providers and county school districts and teachers are getting the vaccine, but what about Snow College faculty members?” Scott asked.

Trying to get more information, the mayor contacted Sen. Derrin Owens and was told that the health department isn’t going to immunize the faculty anytime soon. “I feel that’s a problem, because if the virus goes through Snow’s teachers, the whole college, including students, are more at risk,” Scott said.

The city council discussed at great length, but did not resolve, two requests for zoning changes; as the planning commission recommended changing two parcels from R1 to R3 or R4 classifications.

On the southeast corner of the city (550 East and 100 South), two developers want to put in duplex or 4-plexes, from one to three stories, and have applied for zoning changes to R3 (duplex or 4-plex), or R4 (multiple story apartments). However, those parcels are adjacent to homes that have the R1 designation, for single family dwellings, and those families don’t want apartments next door, especially two and three story apartments.

Jeremy Hallows, one of the home owners, asked the council to reject the recommendation. “When we (Hallows and neighbors) built our homes years ago, the zoning was R1, and we looked forward to having a neighborhood of single family homes, including homes for our own families. If that changes, it’s like Ephraim is more interested in promoting growth than protecting the needs of its existing loyal residents.”

After discussion, the council did not act on the motions, and will ask the developers to attend the next council meeting to clarify their plans and intentions. Councilman Tyler Alder said, “I want Antonio Jiminez [one of the developers] to succeed.” He also acknowledged, however, that though the city does want reasonable growth, it has to weigh that desire with maintaining supportive relationships with its current residents. That is the conflict that the council will take more time to consider.

Ephraim approved a master plan for Pioneer Park. The park is being underutilized, and most of citizens who submitted comments suggested that park should cater to adults and seniors. “That means a park not where Frisbees are flying through the air, but where seniors can stroll or maneuver their wheelchairs around the park,” one councilman noted. The Canyon View Park (on the south side of Ephraim) is designed for younger families, but the council agreed that the Pioneer Park, next to the Senior Citizens Center, should continue to focus on history and heritage, with the pioneer log cabins and the Hansen House as the attraction.

With that goal in mind, the plan suggests priorities for improvements, including adding restrooms, a sidewalk between cabins and around the park, historical signs and maybe a gazebo or picnic tables.

Sidewalks are critical because seniors may have limited mobility. It was noted the park has always needed a restroom facility outside the senior citizen center.