HURRICANE – Transportation and recreation were the main topics of discussion at the Hurricane City Council meeting Thursday night.
St. George to Springdale Commuter Bus
Fred Davies, SunTran Transit Manager, presented to the council on a proposed transit link between St. George and Springdale, which is gaining traction. Before his presentation, Mayor John Bramall said that such a route has been thought of for years but it lacked the funding and population to support it. Today, however, the communities along the route foresee a major benefit with residents from St. George and other cities along the route commuting to Springdale for work, he said, as well as seniors who are unable to drive seeking transportation to Zion National Park’s gateway community. The proposed commuter bus system would also help alleviate Springdale’s parking problems, Bramall said, especially on holiday weekends like last weekend.
The stops along the route have not been determined, Davies said, but he showed a draft of a possible schedule, which includes 10 commuter route cycles per day and runs from 5:20 a.m. to 9:50 p.m. Costs for the proposed bus system would be divided between the municipalities along the route and would be higher the first year of operation and then level out, Davies explained. Federal grant money would cover 80 percent of the cost of the busses, which would be similar to those run by SunTran, he said.
Davies said he has heard nothing but good about the proposed route and receives calls from residents every week asking about it.
The next step, Davies said, is to bring the cities together to talk about it and form an interlocal agreement.
“We’re looking forward to working together and defining a plan,” he said.
State of the Hurricane Recreation Department
Hurricane Recreation director Bryce King gave a positive presentation about the state of the city’s recreation department, which has seen steady growth, especially in its youth sports programs, each of which are growing by approximately 15-20 children per year. The department has been able to do a lot with older facilities, King said, even winning an award for “facility of the year.” All but three of the community center rooms have been retrofitted, he said, and the Fine Arts Building bathrooms are in the process of a complete upgrade using only local contractors.
Some of King’s concerns included the need for more fields as the recreation program and city population grows, as well as an extension of the season for the city’s pool, especially for Hurricane High School’s swim team. Councilman Darin Thomas mentioned putting a cover over the pool so it could be used in the winter.
The Tiger Shark swim team, which competes in the summer, enjoyed 158 participants over the summer, King said, but there is much less participation on the high school swim team because team members must drive to Washington City for practices, which are from 8-10 p.m. King said his department would do a cost analysis to see if extending the pool’s season would be feasible.
City Manager Clark Fawcett said that this has been the pool’s best-ever revenue year.
Another item of discussion about the city’s recreation department was the possibility of raising the event application fee from $100 to $200. The council did not make a decision as, per councilman Darin Larson’s recommendation, it would like to see more information on events paying the fee and events receiving a fee waiver.
Greg Aldred, president of the Hurricane Valley Chamber of Commerce provided the council with an update on the chamber’s recent activities. He said the organization enjoyed a successful business expo and was active in passing out its community guides during the Peach Days celebration last weekend. He said the guide, which showcases local businesses, even those who are not members of the chamber, will be printed every 16 months. He said it also includes articles about nearby cities.
At the end of his presentation, Aldred presented a check to the Utah Food Bank for $3,000, which was part of the proceeds from the chamber’s golf tournament held August 23.
County Commission candidate Paul Van Dam, a big proponent of the St. George to Springdale transit link, introduced himself to the council, touting his past political involvement, including stints as Salt Lake County District Attorney and Utah Attorney General. He has family roots in Washington County, he said, and has owned land in the county for nearly 40 years and has been a permanent resident for seven years. He is running, Van Dam said, because he does not want to lose sight of what Vision Dixie foresees for Washington County’s future. He is not anti-growth, but for preplanned growth, he said.
- Peach Days draws large crowds to Hurricane; STGnews photo gallery
- St. George to Zion: New public transportation route explored
- Vision Dixie reports progress, prospects
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