Danny Blanton points out details of the model locomotive under construction in Gary Prazen's workshop.
Anyone who has ever endured a family road trip understands only too well that every few miles, somebody will have to make a pit stop. This is a marketing opportunity.
Case in point is the new Tie Fork rest stop/visitor center now under construction on US 6 in Spanish Fork Canyon. The facility has attracted seven partners who are set to transform an ordinary traveling hassle into a showcase for tourism in Utah County, Castle Country and Canyonlands.
Castle Country Travel Region Director Kathy Smith said that Carbon, Emery, Grand, Utah and San Juan counties will be joining with the Manti LaSal National Forest and Utah State Parks to create interpretive displays. Carbon County will emphasize its tourist draws and cultural assets of dinosaurs, rock art, archaeology, off-highway-vehicle trails...and railroads.
In fact, the whole facility is built on the plan of an old railroad roundhouse, complete with a model locomotive created by Spring Glen sculptor Gary Prazen. Ms. Smith said that Philip Notarianni of the Utah Historical Society has provided text for the railroad history of the region and old-time photos.
The 2,500 square-foot facility will provide plenty of room for displays, as well as the rest room facilities. Archiplex Group, a Salt Lake City architectural firm, designed the buildings to resemble railroad depot, complete with tracks.
Ms. Smith said the $17,000 cost to maintain the facility will be split seven ways, so each partner will be paying less than $3,000.
Bill Juszcak, Facilities Manager for the Utah Department of Transportation, said that UDOT is aiming for a completion date around the July 4 holiday. In addition to the visible structures, a new water system must also be installed before the Tie Fork rest stop can open.
The new facility replaces the Tucker Rest Stop, which had to be demolished to accommodate the widening and rebuild of US 6. It will be about four miles north of the Tucker stop, at a site once occupied by a cafe and motel.