Ivins City Council moves new eco-friendly city hall forward, approves new city welcome signs

IVINS CITY — A project to build a new City Hall for Ivins City moved forward after the City Council approved the general contractor for the new building.

This image shows a rendering of preliminary designs for the new Ivins City Hall featuring a rammed earth wall, Ivins, Utah, Feb. 6, 2020 | Photo of rendering by Hollie Reina, St. George News

Hughes General Contractors, based in Salt Lake City, will supervise and be the general contractor for the new city hall, to be located just north of the current City Hall at 55 N. Main St.

Hughes was also the contractor for the construction of nearby Santa Clara City Hall.

The council approved the contractor’s bid in a 4-0 vote with one member absent. Councilwoman Miriah Elliott left early from the meeting citing illness.

Hughes Vice President Gene Madsen, who lives in Ivins, told the council that if the word was given, they were shovel-ready.

“We are geared up and ready,” Madsen said.

Mayor Chris Hart said at the meeting two other contractors were considered for the project, and while the fact that many of those at Hughes live in the area was not a main consideration, it didn’t hurt.

Ivins City Mayor Chris Hart during the Ivins City Council meeting, Ivins City, Utah, March 5, 2020 | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

“They’re going to care a little more maybe,” Hart said.

At 11,000 square feet, the new facility will be nearly twice the size of the current city hall. Officials have said the city has outgrown the current facility, with many personnel being doubled up in offices.

The architect, VCBO Architecture, has drawn up a facility that will produce all of its own power and includes a “rammed earth wall,” created from layers of dirt, water and compression, will stretch from the outside of the building all the way inside and mirror the colors of the surrounding landscape.

“We hope to create terrific efficiencies in the building’s shell and then install mechanical systems that are highly efficient,” Hart said at the Feb. 6 City Council meeting where it was announced that VCBO had been chosen as the architects.

First looks at the plan for the building were shown at that meeting and illustrated solar panels on the roof, as well as drought-resistant landscaping that will allow for greater energy and water conservation.

Madsen said they will include a website with a live, time-lapse web cam so residents can follow the progress of the new City Hall’s construction.

Welcoming addition approved

A photo illustration showing the final design for the main sign for Ivins City to be located at the corner of Old Highway 91 and Rachel Drive, Ivins City, Utah| Photo courtesy Young Electric Sign Co., Ivins City, St. George News

The City Council also approved the final design and purchase of new welcome signs to the city.

Young Electric Sign Co. (YESCO) of Salt Lake City – known for their design work on many of the marquees on the Las Vegas Strip, including the famous “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign – has designed and will build the two monuments that will light up at night and welcome people to the city.

The total cost of the two new signs to the city will be $50,390, and the council approved the YESCO bid in a 4-0 vote with one member absent.

The council approval purchases the sign but does not necessarily determine the final position of the signs.

The larger sign is planned for the intersection of Old Highway 91 and Rachel Drive. The final design, at approximately 20 feet wide by 8 feet tall, will be 1 foot less in width than the previous design.

Illustration shows the illuminated back side of the secondary sign for Ivins City, to be located on Old Highway 91 and Crescent Moon Trail | Photo courtesy Young Electric Sign Co., Ivins City, St. George News

And that 1 foot went a long way.

“At 20 feet, it’s actually a bit of a savings at the 20-foot point.” Hart said, “so yay for us.”

A smaller sign will be placed near Old Highway 91  and Crescent Moon Trail near Ivins Reservoir. Measuring 11 feet wide by just over 4 feet tall, the back of this sign, which will also be lit, will welcome people to Fire Lake Park.

The new signs will be illuminated at night, which would include a white LED star field to highlight the night skies of the city.

RV parking ordinance unchanged

The council considered revising an ordinance regulating the parking of recreation vehicles in residential areas but quickly decided to leave it as-is.

For longtime Councilman Dennis Mehr, it dredged up ghosts of battles past.

“This ordinance was the most divisive item in the last 15 years,” Mehr said of City Code Section 16.12.111. “If there’s the potential for more restrictions, I’m not excited about it.”

A resident brought the matter to the council after neighbor complaints about an enclosed trailer parked in the driveway of a home on W. Tonapah Way. City code requires occupied and unoccupied trailers or RVs parked for an extended time to be on a concrete surface in a side or back yard and provide a clear view of the driveway. The trailer was parked in the driveway, and the resident was seeking clarification and review of the ordinance.

But Mehr’s lack of enthusiasm over the issue was contagious, resulting in Hart saying, “What I’m hearing the council say is to leave the ordinance as it is.”

Steps into the future

Stock photo of a small wireless base station tower | Photo by Ta Nu/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

The council also looked at options for the future of telecommunications in the city, starting discussion of alternatives to TDS as a primary broadband provider and looking at the infrastructure for 5G wireless in the city.

Hart went over the results of a joint survey of nearly 4,000 residents in Ivins City, Santa Clara and St. George asking them about their general satisfaction with their internet services. Ivins’ contract with TDS expires in 2023, and all three cities are looking at alternatives.

“The result is, generally, people aren’t satisfied,” Hart said.

Among the results, 88% of residents said they would like the cities to pursue other internet providers, and 85% of respondents would be agreeable to the cities creating their own high-speed, fiber optic infrastructure – something Hart announced is now a consideration.

“Even the largest providers don’t have the budget to come into a city like this and provide the infrastructure,” Hart said. “I’ve had residents ask me when fiber optic would be available. If we continued in the current direction we have been, the answer would be never.”

To that end, Hart said the city is opening up discussions with Utah-based Utopia Fiber, which has built fiber optic infrastructure in several northern Utah cities. If approved, Utopia would build and maintain the fiber optic infrastructure and would allow residents a choice of nearly a dozen providers to use the information superhighway, instead of the one to two available to residents now.

The fiber optic lines would be capable of download and upload speeds of one to 10 GB per second for homes, and 10 to 100 GB for businesses.

“As we mature as a resort destination, the expectation is we provide a fast service,” Hart said.

On the wireless side, the council started initial discussions on how to regulate what are know as small wireless facilities, which are smaller versions of the repeaters seen on cell towers that could be placed on small poles and would be necessary for broader 5G wireless coverage in the area.

Coyote alert 

The city’s animal shelter issued to the council a public reminder that with the weather warming up, there is an increase of coyotes killing small pets.

Councilwoman Jenny Johnson mentioned her cat was taken, as were others in her neighborhood. Santa Clara/Ivins Fire and Rescue Captain Rich Rogers told the council that it’s a good idea for residents not to keep their small pets outside at night.

“We have a lot of coyotes in the area,” he said. “Some are just sitting in the field and watching.”

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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