Recession in Springdale? Big development begs the question

Hampton Inn Springdale Utah under construction
Hampton Inn under construction in Springdale, Utah, Dec. 9, 2012 | Photo by Dan Mabbutt, St. George News

SPRINGDALE – There’s no recession in Springdale if big new development projects are any indication.

Hotel room capacity in this Zion Park gateway community will expand by 27 percent in the next year, Dean Cook said; he is president of the Zion Canyon Visitors Bureau. A new La Quinta destination resort and a new Hampton Inn hotel will both be open for business within months of each other, in addition to the 13 hotels already in this small community of fewer than 600 residents.

La Quinta – A Resort Destination

Stewart Ferber in the unfinished lobby of the new Springdale La Quinta Inn, Dec. 9, 2012 | Photo by Dan Mabbutt, St. George News

With over 200 hotels in its system, La Quinta usually means “mid-scale hotels” for business and family vacations. Stewart Ferber, the developer of the Springdale La Quinta, said his new destination resort will have 132 rooms on nine acres and will cost “about $9 million.” Ferber said it will be the flagship of the La Quinta system.

He is willing to make this financial commitment, Ferber said, because he has been in business in Springdale for 38 years and believes in the future of Springdale.

Ferber said he’s “very happy” about two big new hotel projects coming online at the same time because it will actually bring a lot more business to Springdale. He said the La Quinta will be totally different because he’s selling a resort feel and a property stay rather than a hotel building. The project is scheduled to be complete on December 31.

Hampton Inn

A completely new 98-room Hampton Inn is being constructed on the other side of Springdale on one of the best properties in the canyon. The name “Springdale” comes from springs that are on the property of the Hampton Inn now under construction. The new Hampton will also be next to the Virgin River.

More Development

In addition to the two new hotels, a new retail building is being constructed in the center of town. The Zion Park Inn, one of the leading hotels in Springdale today, is completely renovating all of their rooms, right down to the bare walls. Cook is also general manager of the Zion Park Inn and he said that his hotel will meet the competition with completely new facilities.

The main street of Springdale is usually lined with the cars owned by tourists. This winter, it’s lined with cars owned by construction workers.

Another View on Development

Betina Lindsey, a resident of Springdale, said that she would like to speak for the deer that cross the highway and go down to the river.

Kathy LaFave in her new art gallery, Springdale, Utah, Dec. 9, 2012 | Photo by Dan Mabbutt, St. George News

“I like open space and agriculture,” Lindsey said. “I like to be able to see the wildlife. The hotels take space away from the wildlife. I’d like to keep it slow and take smaller steps. Not so quick and massive. There are two visions of Springdale. One of those visions is a resort community. The other is a vision of the people who just live here. The day they dig up the pasture in front of my house will be the day that I put my house up from sale.”

Room to Grow

Town council member and owner of LaFave Gallery in Springdale, Kathy LaFave  said that having a new Hampton Inn right across the street from her will do wonders for her business and other businesses in town as well. LaFave said that she doesn’t think that Springdale has reached its capacity yet. LaFave said that there isn’t any concern about the town’s infrastructure and it will be able to handle current and planned development.

“It’s shocking sometimes for people to see development come into a small town, LaFave said, “because everyone would like it to stay small and quaint. But hopefully together, everyone – residents, commissioners, councilmen, developers – looks at the overall picture of Springdale as our goal.”

Springdale Mayor Pat Cluff said that there is a limit to the development that is right for Springdale at some point. “We have to decide when enough is enough,” she said. “We’re going to have to make it a priority to decide.”

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2012, all rights reserved.

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