Developer says he’s sensitive to Hurricane residents’ concerns about proposed Old West town

A rendering of the Old West town at the heart of the proposed Lost Trails at the Cove mixed-use development in Hurricane, Utah | Image courtesy of project manager Larry Juarez, St. George News

ST. GEORGE —  A Washington City developer who wants to build an Old West-style town as part of a mixed-use project in Hurricane that would also include hundreds of new homes said he is mindful of concerns over traffic, noise and light pollution.

Jim Thomas, a Washington City resident for 11 years, is seeking a zoning change for the 340-acre parcel to accommodate his proposed “Lost Trails at the Cove.” The property is located north of 600 North, at approximately 2000 West.

The development would include an Old West town filled with shops and restaurants, a wedding chapel, Spanish gardens, equestrian center, an indoor dinner show with 1,200 seats, hotel, RV park and daily entertainment.

Thomas told St. George News it’s been a dream of his for 10 years, and he’s done a similar project in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

“We want to bring that experience down here,” he said.

When speaking to the City Council last month, Thomas described the development as being a “family-friendly Disney-style project.”

A concept drawing of the old western town for the proposed Lost Trails at the Cove project in Hurricane, Utah | Image courtesy of project manager Larry Juarez, St. George News

He said he was inspired by the quality and ambiance that comes from experiences at Disneyland, but the project doesn’t have a connection to the Walt Disney Company.

“We don’t want to do a winky dinky little town that has empty stores and false fronts,” he said. “This is going to be an active town with about 25 shops, three restaurants, including the dinner show.”

The town square will feature entertainment ranging from shootouts to horse action and music, and will have wagons to ferry people from the parking lot to the town.

Thomas said it will not be a theme park.

Project manager Larry Juarez estimates the town itself will cost $28 million. That price doesn’t include the residential development.

Hurricane residents have expressed concerns about the development, particularly residents from Sky Mountain Communities, which surrounds Sky Mountain Golf Course and is next to the proposed development. Those concerns include increased traffic, noise, light pollution and crime.

Thomas said he and his development team understand and are sensitive to what the community wants.

Because the development would also have between 500 and 600 homes surrounding the Old West town, noise and light shouldn’t be a problem, Thomas said. The shootouts would use low-noise weapons and ammunition, like cap guns.

He also said the town would be on the opposite side of a volcanic cone in the development, so most residents of Sky Mountain shouldn’t hear or see construction occurring.

Finally, he said the project would increase – not decrease – nearby property values.

Thomas plans to unveil more details at the Hurricane Planning Commission meeting Thursday at 6 p.m. The commission is accepting public comments at the meeting, which will be held in the Fine Arts Building at 92 S. 100 West.

“Hurricane is an Old West town, and they still have a cowboy flare there, so I think it fits right in,” Thomas said.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews | @markeekaenews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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  • iceplant January 9, 2019 at 2:47 pm

    Good lord, am I glad I don’t live in Hurricane. That’s one hideous piece of wild west nostalgia.

    • RVer January 9, 2019 at 3:27 pm

      I have a few concerns too. Just looking at the “conceptual drawing”, I’m not seeing “old west” or “wild west”. The area in the middle might be a “wedding venue”? The sides say “outlet mall”.

      When someone is pitching a high-end construction project, it seems that you normally see computer-generated images with real details. If they haven’t put that kind of money into the pitch, it makes me question what’s behind all of this.

      I’d also have a lot of questions about the RV park and access (including site spaces, street widths, etc).

      Using cap guns isn’t going to impress anyone. Real period firearms (revolvers) with blanks, I would hope, is what they plan to use. If they plan to do this and half bake it, it won’t last and will hurt the community in the long run.

      Many questions. Answers?

    • Red2Blue310 January 9, 2019 at 8:18 pm

      Im sure most in Hurricane are glad for that too.

      • iceplant January 10, 2019 at 8:19 am

        Nice. Stay classy, yabo.

  • tazzman January 9, 2019 at 3:12 pm

    So the developer lived in Jackson Hole and says, “We want to bring that experience down here”.

    Uh, no, no we certainly do not. Jackson Valley outside Grand Teton is a overrun mess.

  • Travis January 9, 2019 at 3:38 pm

    It’s the desire to change the ZONING laws that worries me the most. I panicked the moment the FOR SALE sign went up for the 351 acres. I live 1 mile west on 600 N. When the cloud cover is just right, you can hear the shooting all the way from the shooting gallery on the DMV road by Quail Creek. This location is by far the most beautiful view of the red fins and Pine Valley Mountain from 600 N. Is there no where else in Hurricane where this amusement portion of the plan can be moved. I wonder when the first Maverick will be built on 600 N!

    Why not show everyone the Milky Way rather than a laser light show. Too bad Prop 20 and 21 didn’t pass in Virgin. Plenty more land up there.

  • Ali January 9, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    There is an area on Rt. 9 in Virgin that has the starts of an old town. Why not build up there? It’s closer to Zion, little impact on residents, and views of Zion. I question who is going to pay for the infrastructure, water, utilities, roads, fire department, police department, emergency services, etc. If I wanted to live near Disneyland or a Disneyland like park, I would have moved there. About 8-10 years ago a fella came to town and wanted to build an amusement park and school. He promised that the kids that worked at the park could go to the school tuition free. I was opposed to his pie in the sky idea at that time, and opposed to this one. If it does go thru and flops, what are we left with? Higher taxes and a rotting eye sore. The previous city council and mayor were wise to forgo that “opportunity”. I hope the current city council and mayor are just as wise.

    • Brandi January 9, 2019 at 5:27 pm

      I agree Ali. The Old west tourist trap in Virgin would be the perfect location because all the tourists drive right by there. This idea is all fine and dandy, but not in this location. The developer wouldn’t even propose such an idea if he were “sensitive” to the residents.

  • brishie January 9, 2019 at 3:47 pm

    Personally, I love the idea. I loved Knott’s Berry Farm as a kid, and I think some new “nostalgia” adds more historic flare to the town other then Pioneers and B. Young history. Let the American Indians in on this theme as well, they could offer some amazing beauty and art to this little development. Think about it…Spooktown in October, Old Cowboy Christmas in December…and live shows to boot! Loosen up Hurricane, live a little.

    • Thomas January 10, 2019 at 10:53 am

      Hurricane was settled by pioneers. Adding “historic flare” with “gunslinger shoot-outs” and a wild west theme misrepresents the town’s history and disrespects the pioneers who settled it.

      • Ariane January 12, 2019 at 10:04 am

        So give them other ideas. Hurricane was settled by pioneers but St. George was not. I think proposing ideas that encompass the area’s history is a fantastic idea.

  • Nelson January 9, 2019 at 4:21 pm

    Hurricane ALREADY has tremendous growth, especially with the Blackmore and Morely developing more units, that is starting to stress the roads and residents are already experiencing a lack of corresponding business growth. By itself, WalMart on 3400 W will have “Black Friday” traffic on daily basis! Tax payers will pick up the need to add lanes to roads, larger classroom sizes, etc. The gas price is already artificially much higher than average for this state and nation, the increase of visitors will translate to even a higher tourist trap costs for residents. I do not see a demand for such a large scale operation, Tourists with a mission to visit the Canyons will be on buses and will not waste time. Most popular entertainment groups will bypass this venue for larger crowd draws. Not a good idea!

  • tcrider January 9, 2019 at 4:53 pm

    If its anything like the other Washington city developments, They will develop an area, and the water
    will flood existing homes that were in the neighborhood long before any other developments, just like
    main street in Washington city, you have all the water running into the adjacent properties, just like Main street.
    Why won’t Washington City lower the grade of Main Street instead of flooding all the existing tax payers out?
    What a pathetic joke.

  • ktaylorgo January 9, 2019 at 5:11 pm

    Wild west is not on the agenda of the younger generation and certainly not with the upcoming generation. Anchoring this type of business to a home development project is almost certain suicide. When (not if) it fails the nearby homeowners and the city get to figure out how to fix the mess and deal with the expense.

    This old fashioned, outdated idea in a modern, fast moving era does not make any sense. Build for the future.

  • FowRizzle January 9, 2019 at 7:42 pm

    Please take your money and your “sensitive” … and leave
    Ed. ellipsis

  • mesaman January 9, 2019 at 7:44 pm

    Would someone clue the developer and his minions that we live on the northern border of the Mohave Desert. You know, DESERT, as in little water, totally different environmental conditions than Jackson Hole and his living in this area for 11 years is more likely one year eleven times. I seriously doubt that he has an inkling he has looked beyond the estimated fortune he would make from it.

  • Walter1 January 9, 2019 at 8:15 pm

    Sounds much like a place to film Cow-town b movie projects. Lots of Bull in this project. Not a good idea folks!

  • stevenxfiles January 9, 2019 at 8:36 pm

    How about we wait for the real Disneyland or just leave it alone already? Residents and visitors come to this area to enjoy the spectacular NATURE, not some cheesy third rate theme park.

    No. No. No.

  • utahdiablo January 9, 2019 at 9:52 pm

    Not No, But Hell No…Take your Old West Town and stick it up your … Thomas…we have enough problems here in “Wonderland” with the endless tourists that the Utah greed machine continues to award our lives with…so screw you and the horse you rode in on 11 years ago
    Ed. ellipsis

  • Redbud January 9, 2019 at 11:24 pm

    Build it, and they will come!

  • KR567 January 10, 2019 at 5:55 am

    I came I saw I built I got my money and left

  • justsaying January 10, 2019 at 7:57 am

    Doesn’t sound like anybody is interested in this project, neither am I, so most likely the powers that be will approve it as they never listen to the residents and the people.

  • Not_So_Much January 10, 2019 at 8:25 am

    IF enough citizens of Hurricane make it very clear that any elected official supporting or voting in favor of this joke will be gone next election (maybe sooner with recall), then maybe, just maybe this could be stopped. Developers are in it for the money.

    • in2mjim January 17, 2019 at 5:02 pm

      Seriously!!! This isn’t New York, or even Salt Lake where elected officials make 6 figure salaries. These are public servants, and they make very little, so to say you’re going to run them out of office is a joke. I’m sure they’d be happy to go about doing their own thing and not worry about “Losing their seat”. The sad part is most people belly aching don’t have a clue, and have never been a public servant. They’d rather be an arm chair quarterback and point out what everyone else is doing wrong. If you don’t like the way they serve, they maybe you should run.

  • Thomas January 10, 2019 at 10:09 am

    To clue in the developer, Hurricane was founded in 1896 and does not qualify as a “wild west town”. The town began with pioneer farmers and small business owners, not gunslingers, misfits, and prostitutes. Hurricane is NOT Tombstone or Dodge City. A wedding chapel? Can Elvis impersonators be close behind? Hurricane is NOT Las Vegas. Shops? What will this do to businesses along SR9? Of course, for those willing to work at minimum wage jobs, this development may provide opportinites.

  • Diana January 10, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    We already get this wild west thing shoved down our throats enough in southern Utah. This would be an abomination. To be celebrating a gun culture, a culture that committed genocide on the indigenous peoples and a culture of animal abuse is disgusting. Worse, the plan is to actually abuse more animals with horses performing in gun slinging scenarios and hauling people to and from the park. Not to mention ruining the quaintness and charm of Hurricane. Why not put in a wildlife sanctuary where children could go and learn all about the environment they live in and all of the animals we share this land with? It would teach them that nature is far more valuable than some disgusting amusement park.

  • LunchboxHero January 10, 2019 at 3:35 pm

    “Developer says he’s sensitive to Hurricane residents’ concerns…” …but he’s gonna built it anyway.

    • in2mjim January 17, 2019 at 4:55 pm

      Sensitive to concerns doesn’t mean you’re going to do a 180 degree shift. It means they will listen to the concerns, and try to build the proposed park taking into account and trying his best to mitigate these concerns as he builds. I hope he does build, I would hate to see these investment dollars go somewhere else and leave the City and its residents wishing we had jobs and resources for the future.

  • Kenneth January 10, 2019 at 6:24 pm

    Google Freedom USA. This what will happen in Hurricane UT if this gets approved. The area where Freedom land USA once stood is nothing but a bunch of 14 story buildings. Say No, No ,No to this doomed before it starts project.

    • Ariane January 12, 2019 at 9:47 am

      No where in the plans for this will there be 14 story anything. Don’t get caught up in nonsense hysteria.

  • Ariane January 12, 2019 at 9:45 am

    If you want best way to get the answers and the information you need, why don’t you go to the meetings and ask? I personally know these men and I know they are wide open to feedback and suggestions. They are both fathers and grandfathers. They are both year round residents, not snow birds. They’ve both built businesses from the ground up. The business run in Jackson Hole is the inspiration for this project. It is not the model. They have taken into the account the
    breathtaking beauty of the desert and history of the area.

    Zions is a huge tourist attraction and this will give people additional entertainment options as well as giving local people something fun to do.

    These aren’t people who will slap something together and leave. The business in Jackson shared a residential area and the owners worked with neighbors to be respectful and managed to co-habitate peacefully.

    This project is very personal to these men and they want to do it the right way. That 351 acres could have been purchased by big developers who would build poorly constructed cookie cutter homes and who would leave as quickly as they came. This land was purchased by people with heart and integrity. The land is absolutely beautiful and instead of plowing under mountains and hills and filling in valleys, they will work with the beauty.

    Please also take into account the way the article was written. The author has written previous articles about this with some misinformation. If you want facts, go to the city counsel meetings. Or ask these men for a meeting. Their names are in the article. Look them up.

    • in2mjim January 17, 2019 at 4:51 pm

      Thank you for being willing to speak up. Too many times people just follow the “Leader” without looking into the facts. I don’t presume to know all the facts, and certainly some of the things are speculative in nature, but this type of venture is exactly what our city needs.

  • Bonnie January 13, 2019 at 1:22 pm

    If this development was going to take the place of the Enormous JUNK Yard car lot right off the main highway going through Hurricane it would be a big WIN for everyone. When is the city of Hurricane, its residences and even the EPA going recognize this JUNK Yard is out of control ?

  • in2mjim January 17, 2019 at 4:28 pm

    I live in Hurricane, and I happy to support this project. The developer isn’t just going to throw his money away, on a project that is “Doomed to fail”!!! People that canvas a neighborhood and frighten their neighbors about the big bad developer should be ashamed of themselves. The people coming through the neighborhood trying to force you to sign a petition, if you’re a good neighbor are part of the problem. Of course the planning commission was over run by people opposed to the development, because the only people out canvassing were opposed, and they only gave one side of the story.

    This is a beautiful part of the country, no doubt, that’s why I moved here. Of course I want the area preserved, but that’s exactly why the developer wants to come. The St. George area is begging for good jobs, places to recreate, and opportunities for our kids and grand kids. This development is exactly what we need. If you think you home value will decrease, you’re just not looking understanding supply and demand. More demand, which will obviously come from more jobs, and more people, that will shrink home inventory and drive the prices up.

    If the City Administration is wise, they will approve this project, the added taxes generated will more pay for the infrastructure, and we, the residents will either get better service, or a reduced tax burden. Remember when our taxes went up for the new fire station? The additional property taxes from the new residents should have covered that bill, but it didn’t. If we have tourists spending their money here, and paying taxes here, some of that money stays here, and either gives us better services and infrastructure, or a reduced tax burden, (or government waste, but let’s not go there).

    We are talking about a HUGE win for the city and its residents, please, please,please, do what I did, go down to the City and see the information for yourself. Ask questions, don’t rely on the words of others to influence you.

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