Mt. Pleasant council working on aquatic center marketing plans
By James Tilson
MT. PLEASANT — The Mt. Pleasant City Council used its meeting last week to get updated on a number of projects going on around the city.
Monte Bona, executive director of the Mt. Pleasant City Community Development and Renewal Agency (CDRA), reported to the Mt. Pleasant city council that a “lot of stuff [is] going on.”
Bona reported that the BYU student group that had been working with the city council on development of the aquatic center issued its end-of-semester report on their work with the city. Most of the report dealt with the group’s efforts on the marketing campaign in support of the aquatic center and the results of the election. However, the group also engaged in a “comparative analysis” of billing rates and usage tables for similar sized communities. Their analysis made suggestions to the city council for how much the city might charge for admission to the pool and how to divide up the times when various groups could use the pool. Bona pointed out that this was the first time that the council had been presented with this information, and the council should carefully consider the report before taking any action.
Bona presented a letter from Sam Ray, superintendent of the North Sanpete School District, regarding potential interest in purchasing the Old Elementary School building. SCN/Renaissance Commercial, Inc. of Newport Beach, Calif., approached Ray with a plan to turn the building into affordable housing. Because the building borders on the city’s redevelopment area, Ray sent the letter to the CDRA as a courtesy. Bona opined that having the “blighted” area of the abandoned school building turned into affordable housing would help increase the city’s tax base.
Bona related a conversation that he had with Widmar Corp. regarding the continued interest from the company in building a Shopko store in Mt Pleasant. Bona said he sought out Widmar after attending a meeting in Sugar House, Utah, wherein he learned that the “big box” Shopko store there was closing down. Bona learned from the Widmar representative that Shopko has been moving away from the “big box” model for 15 years and is focusing on a new store model. Calling it “Shopko Hometown Store,” the company is aiming at rural areas with smaller stores, about one-third the size of the “big box” stores. The company is working to complete its due diligence, scheduled to be finished by Jan. 2, 2017.
Bona also gave an update on the progress of the effort to redevelop the Railroad Depot, stating developers David Grohl and George Jones had looked into exercising a purchase option on the property. The group wants to expand the property to 1.68 acres and lay tracks to place more boxcars around the depot. So far, the holdup has been getting a legal description and survey of the property, which they now have. The parties are still awaiting an appraisal.
Jack Widdison, manager of the ConToy Arena, addressed the council about the upcoming New Year’s Eve event at the arena and recent past events.
On Dec. 31, the arena will host the New Year’s Eve Fun Night Rodeo, starting at 6 p.m. with sign-ups starting at 5 p.m. Admission is $5, with children under 12 free. The Fun Night Rodeo features mutton busting, barrel racing, team roping, musical horse chairs, calf ribbon pull, hide race, bull riding, trick riding and pony roping. Concessions will be available on site, and families are encouraged to attend.
Jon Haderlie, auditor for Mt. Pleasant, gave his report for the 2016 state-required audit. Haderlie found that the city had complied with the state’s requirements in all respects. “You’re doing a good job,” he said.
Haderlie reported that the city’s total net position improved over last year by $1.4 million; however, the city’s unrestricted position was reduced by $2 million. That means that a great deal of the city’s overall revenue is coming in from outside sources for specific capital projects (i.e. “restricted revenue”) Haderlie also noted that the city’s utility accounts all suffered losses from the last year, which indicated to him that the city might look at whether its fees are high enough to pay for its services.