IVINS — Ivins city officials are looking at a world of possibilities.
Well, maybe not a world’s worth, but certainly 100 acres of possibilities.
Public Works Director Charles R. Gillette is putting together an application asking the Bureau of Land Management for a 100-acre parcel just south of town. The BLM makes its land available to municipalities and nonprofit organizations under the Recreation and Public Purposes Act, passed by Congress in 1954.
Gillette told St. George News that “there is no cost for the property; it will be granted from the BLM to the city after development (of the parcel) is completed.”
The city’s cost will be for that development, Gillette said, including, “getting across Graveyard wash with an access road and utilities.” The property is directly south of the city.
He said the BLM program allows only specific uses for the land, “things that would serve the public purpose.”
Gillette, as well as Parks and Recreation Director Benny Sorensen and their staffs, brainstormed a wish list of potential projects they discussed with Ivins City Council at a work session last month.
One high-profile possibility raised at the meeting is an events stadium, with perhaps 1,000 seats, that would host concerts, fairs or rodeos.
Sorensen said a stadium isn’t firmly on the radar, but it’s an idea that has been kicked around as part of the brainstorming process.
He said that when he first got involved in the town, “people would have laughed if someone said there would be medical school in Ivins, so there are things not on our radar that would be nice to be looking toward.”
Other recreation-related ideas discussed at the council meeting included bike, equestrian and hiking trails, a trailhead connecting to existing trails, a dog park, disc golf and downhill BMX courses. And while the property is designated as nonmotorized, it could provide access to ATV trails.
Sorensen added, “We’re looking at possibly in the future a green-waste facility … where people can bring their tree branches and we can chip them up and utilize them for things we do or make them available to the community for use in their yards.”
Beyond recreation, the city would use the property to facilitate moving both the Public Works and Parks departments: the former would take about seven acres on the property and the latter would move into Public Work’s vacated space adjacent to the Ivins cemetery.
Public Works is outgrowing the space and needs more room for office equipment and vehicle storage, fleet operations, heavy equipment, including a back hoe, dump trucks, Gillette said.
The building at the cemetery, however, would comfortably house the Parks department.
Sorensen also said that at some point there will be a need for another cemetery.
“We’re probably looking at seven to 10 acres for a future cemetery … in 10, 15, 20 years when we actually might need – and we might need it sooner – but when we’ll need a new cemetery we’ll already have the space set aside,” he said.
Gillette told City Council that he’d like to see communications towers placed atop hills on the property.
“We need communications towers just for some of our communications, our data … for our water and sewer systems,” he said. “There are also, obviously, some other communications possibilities as well.”
The towers can be a revenue source for the city, he added, as long as the funds are used for improvements on the property according to BLM guidelines.
He said that a ridge line running through the property will limit how much can be built on the land.
“There’s so much slope, I don’t see it being fully developed,” he said, “out of 100 acres, probably 50 acres that’s usable.
“You could do a ballfield out there, but it would require a lot of grading. The soils aren’t really good soils – it’s right smack dab in the middle of a blue clay formation – so, whatever structures we want out there, we want to keep those to a minimum. Blue clay is OK for ballfields and cemeteries and such, but with buildings you have a lot of problems.”
There is no deadline for submitting the application, but Gillette said he’d like to have it done by the end of the year.
He and city staff “will put together a few plans, different alternatives for City Council to look at,” he said, adding that he anticipates council would “do some kind of public-involvement process” before final decisions are made.
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