ST. GEORGE — The paving of a parking lot in Santa Clara is estimated to have a nearly $4 million economic impact on the city and surrounding area.
Currently the Santa Clara BMX track and neighboring Little League baseball fields parking area consists of compacted dirt and gravel that can also turn into a mud pit in parts after it rains. On Tuesday, the Washington County Commission approved $160,000 toward the paving of two of the primary parking areas around the bike park and baseball fields.
“This is a good project, and it’s one I believe is a win-win for destination development and for our local residents to improve their quality of life,” Commissioner Dean Cox said.
The $160,000 from the county will match the same amount put forth by the city of Santa Clara for the paving of the parking lots around Canyon View Park, including the large parking area on the south side of the park by the tennis courts and the smaller area to the north that leads into the middle of the park.
A large area off Little League Drive will be included in a future project, Mayor Rick Rosenberg told St. George News.
In 2019, it was estimated that the incoming BMX bike park – only the second in the county, with the first being in Virgin – would bring an economic impact of $500,000.
The BMX track officially opened in August 2020 with the aid of the city of Santa Clara, Washington County, the Greater Zion Tourism Office and several other parties.
On Tuesday, a county staff member told the County Commission that paving the parking lots at Canyon View Park would help significantly expand the events that could be held in that area, which is also anticipated to create an economic impact of $3.7 million in the future.
As a spot where BMX competitions can be held and where locals riders and tourists can also come and play, Commissioner Gil Almquist said the tourism dollars these types of attractions create help keep property taxes low.
Despite the impact of COVID-19 on many facets of the economy, Commissioner Victor Iverson noted Washington County came away from 2020 in better shape than expected in relation to tourism. Many sporting events still came to the county due to other counties’ regular venues being closed, while tourists from neighboring states and other parts of Utah visited due the county largely remaining open.
“We fought hard to keep it open,” Iverson said.
In other business, the commission approved $57,000 to go toward the repair of the basement floor of the St. George branch of the Washington County Library that was damaged in a flood caused by the last year’s late monsoon storm. Also covered in that amount is the purchase of a folding door/wall, replacing one previously installed in the library’s basement.
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