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Front Page » May 25, 2006 » Local News » Service district, county officials tour projects
Published 2,987 days ago

Service district, county officials tour projects


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By LES BOWEN
Sun Advocate reporter


Commissioner Mike Milovich discusses the direction of expansion for the Carbon County Search and Rescue facilities in the industrial park south of Price. Frank Pugliese, commander of the search and rescue team, has approached the Carbon County Recreation and Transportation Special Service District board members regarding the possibility of the agency's participation in funding an expansion project at the facility.

Members of the Carbon County Recreation and Transportation Special Service District Board participated in site visits to two projects that have been on the table for consideration for funding.

In addition to the board, Carbon County Commissioners Steven Burge and Mike Milovich participated in the tour.

Commissioner Bill Krompel sits on the special service district board.

The board and commissioners visited the Carbon County Search and Rescue facility located west of Utah Highway 10 near the county animal shelter.

Later, the group made multiple stops in the North Springs Shooting Range under construction near Wattis.

Frank Pugliese, commander of the county search and rescue team, explained to the group that he wants to build a new building that will house search and rescue vehicles and provide a training and meeting area.

Initially, Pugliese said he planned to demolish a wood structure currently used as offices and garage space.

However, as the group discussed available options, it appears that the county will keep the building, but convert it to a storage facility.

Part of Pugliese's reasoning for building a new facility is that he wants to be able to leave equipment on trailers and ready for operation as much as possible.

"My whole concern is response time," pointed out Pugliese to the special service district board members and county officials.

The commander explained that, as seasons change, the search and rescue team tries to be prepared for the weather.

However, quite often, equipment is prepared for winter rescues and units are dispatched to an event in the desert.

Before they can mobilize, search and rescue team members must completely change equipment.

The current facility is inadequate to allow the team to be as ready as it could be, explained the commander.

In addition, the facility is infested with a variety of pests and needs work on the exterior.

Pugliese related the search and rescue team's plan for the new building.

At present, the commander and team are looking to build a larger facility with four 14-by-14 foot openings on two ends.

The commander said he wants to be able to pull into the building after returning from a call and be ready to roll right out the other end.

Explaining his desire to tear down the existing structure, Milovich told Pugliese that the county could make the necessary improvements to add life to the existing building at a lower price than demolition.

District board member Neil Breinholt explained that one of the advantages to keeping the existing structure is that construction, the search and rescue team can continue to function from the existing facility.

The board also encouraged Pugliese to place one face of the building even with where the fence line would be.

By using the building as one of the gates to the staging yard, one gate will be eliminated.

When the search and rescue team is called out, the members can open the doors of the building and hit the road without having to open a separate gate.

Sam Quigley suggested that Pugliese create a full proposal outlining the full costs of the improvements to the facility and construction of the new building. At that point, the board can award funds based on the estimated costs.

After the search and rescue facility, the board toured the progress being made at the North Springs Shooting Range.

Heavy equipment is in the process of preparing the ground for a combined range that will have both 1,000 yard targets and 600 yard targets.

A 500 foot long platform for participants has been poured and contractors are building a partial enclosure on 100 feet of the platform so that participants can be shielded from wind and cold while shooting.

The entire platform is set to be covered to provide shade.

Near the long-distance range, wooden stakes mark the footprint of a clubhouse that will serve as a hospitality facility as well as an apartment for a caretaker who will provide maintenance and security.

The group also toured the pistol range, much closer to completion than the long-distance range.

The pistol range will feature targets that will help train law enforcement personnel in split-second decision making.

Near the pistol range, another building is under construction which will be used to train law enforcement in simulated scenarios. The four walls of the building will be made of ballistic-grade armor and there will be no roof.

Law enforcement will be able to place furnishings and other items in the building to create real-life scenarios.

The final portion of the shooting sports park which is under construction is a mock cowboy town. Facades of buildings line a square.

Each building acts as a gateway to a smaller range behind it. Burge explained that participants will be given mock scenarios and scored on both accuracy and time.

In addition to its use as a shooting facility, Burge pointed out that the cowboy town could be used by movies, square dancers and other groups who want a facility with a western theme.

He said the building fronts will be maintained as if they are currently being used. He said that when people walk into the town, they will feel as if they have been transported back in time to the late 1800s or early 1900s.

Burge also addressed some of the obstacles that planners have faced as they have planned and begun construction on the ranges.

Initially set to cost less than $2 million, the facility has been subdivided into phases. Phase one of the project has continued to climb in price, with an estimated cost now exceeding $3 million.

The primary financial backing for the facility comes from the Utah Permanent Community Impact Board, though the special service district has pledged $500,000 to the completion of the range.

Burge said that the county had initially entered into an agreement with the gas company which operates gas wells in the area. The agreement was that the gas company would allow the county to connect to its electrical lines.

However, the agreement was broken and the county has not been allowed to connect to the existing lines. As a result, planners have had to add generators to their plans.

Rising construction costs have also caused the project to exceed its anticipated budget, something which is happening with most of the county's projects.

Burge also addressed the issue of ongoing costs of the facility beyond the initial construction. He said that the cost operation and maintenance is currently expected to be covered primarily by user fees. He said dedicated hunters in the region will likely provide much of the labor force for keeping the facility maintained.

Many of the same individuals are likely to serve as range masters. In return for their service overseeing the range, the county will offer free range time.

As far as security, an individual or a couple living at the clubhouse will provide security and regular maintenance to the entire facility of more than 600 acres.

Burge said that the caretakers will provide services in return for the county providing living facilities.



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