|Utah Senator Mike Dmitrich and Rep. Brad King stepped up to the podium at the official opening of the new Utah Department of Natural Resources building on Carbonville Road. The event drew a standing room only crowd of well wishers and supporters of the project.|
Life has become simpler for Carbon County residents needing to address natural resource issues or requirements.
Representatives from local, state and federal offices were on hand last Thursday to herald in the new Utah Department of Natural Resources building at 345 Carbonville Road.
The 12,000 square foot facility is now home to the state divisions of oil, gas and mining; forestry, fire and state lands; wildlife resources and water rights.
"With this one-stop shop, residents of southeastern Utah who have any business with natural resources will now know where to go," said Mike Styler, executive director, department of natural resources.
While the building will simplify handling a variety of processes for residents, property owners and developers, the collaborative effort that brought the divisions under one roof will be a particular boon to one segment of the population, according to Utah Senator Mike Dmitrich.
"The main group to benefit will be sportsmen and fishermen," said Dmitrich during an interview last Friday morning. "There is plenty of parking and easy access to information."
Before the building was officially opened, hunter Kyle Mortensen was taking advantage of the parking and access.
The hunter braved Thursday's pomp and circumstance to obtain a muzzle-loader elk permit.
Mortensen was hunched over the counter when the parade of speakers began taking the podium to comment on their role in what was lauded as a true collaboration between the county and the state.
A standing-room only crowd of elected officials, natural resources staff and community members listened to the story of a lengthy effort that started at the state level, then wound its way through the county, back through the Utah Legislature and ended with the requisite ribbon- cutting ceremony Thursday.
"Things got started about five years ago," said Dmitrich. "We just pushed and pushed and now we have a facility that addresses the two biggest things in Carbon County - hunting and coal mining."
Utah Rep. Brad King indicated that, when the project was first proposed, it didn't seem feasible.
"It was pitched as a wild idea," said King. "I thought it had a snowball's chance in Helper."
The representative was also concerned that, if approved, the building would end up being a bland structure.
"My biggest fear was that it would end up being a box," said King. "But this building has such character."
It appears attention was paid to create a unique ambiance in the state facility.
Pitched dark wood beams grace the high ceilings, the grace the high ceilings. The back interior wall is stone and, across the way, the other wall is adorned with a stuffed buffalo head and a tundra swan. The concrete floor bears animal and bird prints.
The overall effect produces the feeling of walking into a hunting lodge instead of a sterile government structure.
Apparently, the only thing missing from the vacation getaway feel is a shower, which several employees mentioned wishing had been added to the building.
People attending the grand opening event seemed excited about the new digs and the appreciation spread beyond the employees of the state agencies.
Carbon Commissioner Bill Krompel pointed out that the $3.1 million building will play an important role not only in the county but throughout southeastern Utah and that the project will serve "as a model for the whole state."
The Carbonville Road project appears to have a number of unique aspects.
The funding was provided to the department of natural resources by Carbon County in a zero-interest loan from the Utah Permanent Community Impact Board, which is to be paid off in 20 years.
"With the package that was presented everyone's gone home happy," said Carbon Commissioner Mike Milovich, who also occupies a seat on the CIB.
In addition to the collaborative funding packet and the distinctive design, the office building has a unique water heating and cooling system which circulates through 27 wells located behind the structure.
The system is expected to pay for itself within five years due to the savings in utility costs, according to state agencies.
While the multimillion dollar project was primarily a county/state partnership, the mayors of Helper, Wellington and Price were on hand to give their kudos and support for the new state office building.
Price Mayor Joe Piccolo stepped up to the podium and commented on the need for such a state office building in southeastern Utah.
"We are an area that is naturally rich in resources," said the Price mayor. "But the richest resource we have is the people in this room. We're continuing to grow as a business hub and we are glad that you are here."