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To move, or not to move

Sun Advocate Reporter

At the intersection of 700 East and 100 North streets in Price, there's a vacant lot where the seeds of a coming debate have been sown.

The county now owns the five-acre parcel between Piccolo Auto Plaza and the Eastern Utah Community Credit Union, and that has raised a big-ticket question for the next county commission: what should go there?

All three current commissioners agree that sooner or later, the county will have to replace its obsolete courthouse. Building an integrated county complex on the site is one option.

But, as the Sun Advocate has reported earlier, the county jail is already overcrowded and needs to be expanded. So there is another option.

Either way, the county is facing a multi-million dollar decision.

Bringing the county's various operations together at one site is not a new idea. Nine years ago, there was discussion about buying and remodeling the old WalMart building (now Sutherland's).

Proponents of that idea reasoned that the county would operate more efficiently if departments that were scattered all over the county could be brought together at one place.

Over the ensuing years, discussions with consultants and department heads have indicated that the county would be better off with new building, according to outgoing commissioner Bill Krompel.

Commissioner Mike Milovich seconded that, noting that the county has had to spend $250,000 re-roofing the current building, and that the electrical system is barely meeting demand.

The point of contention is whether to demolish the old building and rebuild on the downtown county property, or build a whole new facility on the 100 North lot and put the old building to some new use, such as a library.

Krompel thinks it would be better to build on the current site on the space vacated by the former ambulance garage. Then the old building could be demolished to create a parking lot.

"I've always maintained we should keep the county offices at the current site," he said, explaining that the presence of county government creates an anchor for downtown Price.

Krompel also said that the site is rigged for fiber optic communication and the vacant property is not.

The problem with abandoning the current building and moving to the new site is that there is as yet no firm plan what to do with the current building, he stated. It should not be left vacant in the heart of Main Street, Krompel said.

Milovich, on the other hand, sees advantages for the 100 North lot.

"It's a decision for the future commission to make," he said, "so I'm only guessing about what the decision will be."

For one thing, he noted, it would probably be less expensive to build fresh on the vacant lot. To build on the current site, there would be expenses for demolition and the relocation of a high-voltage power line.

The new building would leave the old one standing, so it could be put to another use and not just used as a parking lot.

The 100 North site also has room for enough parking, he concluded.

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