Washington County repledges $100K for Zion National Park transportation renovations

The Zion National Park shuttle fleet parked near the maintenance facility, Zion National Park, Utah, March 2, 2018 | File photo by Reuben Wadsworth, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The Washington County commission recommitted $100,000 Tuesday for a grant to help with a transportation project for Zion National Park.

The west entry for Zion National Park near Springdale, Utah, March 10, 2017 | File photo by kellyvandellen via iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

The renovation project will include a widened west entrance to the park, another entrance station, new bike trails that lead into the park from Springdale, a new shuttle fleet and a reconfigured shuttle turnaround, Zion National Park Superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh said at the County Commission meeting Tuesday.

People on bikes, cars, shuttles or their feet will be able to more easily pass from the newly reconstructed state Route 9 from Springdale into the park once the renovations are completed, Bradybaugh said. The previous project on SR-9 was fronted by the Utah Department of Transportation and was completed in May.

“We’re building upon the UDOT project at the park entrance in making this seamless activity for transportation, whether you’re a pedestrian, a bicyclist, a motorist or using the transit system.”

Read more:  UDOT commits $15M to explore, implement Springdale-St. George transit route

The entire project will cost nearly $35 million dollars, and Zion National Park will be asking the U.S. Department of Transportation for $15.7 million to help with funding. The other funds will be coming from the National Park Service, UDOT and other local partners like Washington County, Bradybaugh said.

Last year, Washington County promised matching funds of $100,000 under the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant, which was through the U.S. DOT. In April, the TIGER grant was replaced by the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development Transportation Discretionary, or BUILD, grant, which is why the County Commission needed to recommit the $100,000 this year.

Under the new application for the BUILD grant, Bradybaugh said officials are revising the application to better reflect the desire to connect the newly reconstructed SR-9 with the entrance into the national park.

He also asked the County Commission for a letter of support when submitting the application for the BUILD grant.

“We supported it last time, and I think it’s a good idea,” Commissioner Victor Iverson said.

Commission chairman Zachary Renstrom was absent from Tuesday’s meeting due to a family member’s funeral, but with votes in favor of the motion to support the “Zion Canyon Multi-Modal Access Project” from commissioners Dean Cox and Iverson, it passed unanimously.

Primary election canvas

The County Commission also accepted the canvas for last month’s primary elections. Gil Almquist won for seat A on the commission and Rep. Brad Last was reelected as the representative for Utah House District 71.

Rep. Brad Last (left) speaks at the Washington County GOP Lincoln Day Breakfast in St. George, Utah, Feb. 17, 2018, and Gil Almquist speaks at a luncheon hosted by the Washington County Republican Women in St. George, Utah, May 3, 2018 | File photos by Jeff Richards, St. George News

According to statistics from the canvass, there were 19,939 Republican voters in the primaries, which included 759 that were counted after election day from provisional or absentee ballots. Republicans were the only ones who got to vote in this year’s primary elections because no other political party in Southern Utah had enough candidates for a primary.

Read more: Almquist and Last triumph in Washington County GOP primary election

Among all eligible Republican voters, there was about a 43 percent turnout, which “isn’t bad for the middle of June,” Iverson said.

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Twitter:  @STGnews | @SpencerRicks

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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  • Dominik July 11, 2018 at 12:44 am

    southern utah is a sandbox occupied by toddlers whose parents are surreptitiously watching from feet away. the power is in the hands of the children but their impact in the state is only but a drop in an already overflowing bucket. Utah never delivered, so I left and joined a community in a state whose influence is international.

  • Not_So_Much July 11, 2018 at 6:36 am

    Hey where else should our local tax money be spent? Because if there are tax dollars they will be spent. I wonder what $200k would do to assist those in need in Washington County?

    • RadRabbit July 11, 2018 at 8:42 pm

      I wonder what it would be like for everyone to stop trying to figure out more ways to spend MY money. Lower the taxes and cut the crap.

  • Scott July 11, 2018 at 12:09 pm

    Who else feels like these transportation projects are like the little dutch boy holding his finger in the dam?

  • utahdiablo July 11, 2018 at 11:09 pm

    Yeah, just keep those MIghty 5 ads running almighty greed factory, then you can continue to bulldoze the red rock down into even more parking lots until Zion is lost….oh, my bad, Zion is already lost

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