Cedar Band of Paiutes celebrates new travel plaza with ribbon cutting

CEDAR CITY — The Cedar Band Travel Plaza opened to the public Friday with a grand opening ceremony to offer travelers a new place to shop, eat and fuel up.

The plaza functions as an operating entity of the Cedar Band Corporation, which is owned by the Cedar Band of Paiutes.

Cedar Band Corporation President and CEO Paul Terry told Cedar City News groundbreaking for the project took place in May of 2019, and many people contributed to being able to open the plaza.

“We’re very proud of our general contractors, our architects and engineers, our project management, my executive team,” Terry said. “They all worked very diligently over the last 15 months to get us to where we are at today.”

Around 100 people attended Friday morning’s grand opening, which featured remarks by tribal leaders and others involved with the project. At daybreak Friday, prior to the grand opening, Tribal Council Member Robert Pete Sr. had conducted a sacred dedicatory blessing of the facility.

Grand opening of Cedar Band Travel Plaza near Interstate 15 Exit 51, Cedar City, Utah, June 12, 2020 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

During his remarks, Terry said the Paiute Tribe’s legacy was a focal point for everyone who worked on the project.

“The word ‘legacy’ has been a constant utterance and our corporate philosophy and mantra, as well as a guidepost throughout the construction of Cedar Band Travel Plaza,” he said.

At the conclusion of the hourlong grand opening ceremony, tribal officials cut the red ribbon, which had been signed by many of those in attendance. The convenience store doors were then opened, allowing a steady stream of customers to quickly fill the aisles.

In addition to the store, which offers a wide range of cigarette brands and other tobacco products, the plaza has a dozen Sinclair Oil fuel pumps. In addition, Terry said plans for a fast-food eatery are in the works, along with a possible full-service restaurant to be located on the property, just south of the convenience store, at some time in the near future.

Terry added the location of the plaza is easy to access.

“There are no stoplights between the off-ramp and our travel plaza, which is extremely convenient for travelers,” Terry said. “If people don’t want to get off (the freeway) in a city setting, it’s very convenient, and we’re really just five minutes south of Cedar, so it’s a great location.”

Customers fill the aisles of convenience store during grand opening of Cedar Band Travel Plaza near Interstate 15 Exit 51, Cedar City, Utah, June 12, 2020 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

The plaza is located at 3748 S. Old Highway 91, just off of Exit 51 on Interstate 15, which provides additional convenience for commercial vehicles.

“It’s at the Cedar City bypass route that was built by UDOT to take commercial vehicles from I-15, and they cut out all of Cedar to get to Highway 56,” Terry said.

Terry added that the nearby Cedar Band Trading Post, located in a smaller building at 4115 S. Graff Farm Frontage Rd. on the other side of the freeway, will remain open for the foreseeable future, although it’s expected that the new plaza may eventually supplant the need to keep the old location open.

In addition to providing jobs for the area, Terry said he hopes the new travel plaza will offer something new for motorists.

“It won’t be like anything that Cedar has,” he said. “It’ll be something that we don’t have in this area, in southwestern Utah.”

Cedar City News reporter JEFF RICHARDS contributed to this report.

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

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