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Wellington fishing pond gets boost

Sun Advocate associate editor

The prospect of catching fresh fish - or at least trying to catch them - is getting closer for residents of Wellington and the east side of the county. The Recreation/Transportation Special Service District agreed Monday to invest $80,000 to help transform part of the old Knight-Ideal coal loadout property into an urban fishery.

This would be the third such fishery in the county, after Gigliotti Pond in Helper and the pond at the county fairgrounds. As with the previous fisheries, the Wellington pond would get support from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

The 2.5 acre fishing hole is part of a larger, 17-acre cleanup project by the state's Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program. After years of operation, the loadout became coated with a layer of bits of coal. Chunks of concrete and rusted metal also littered the landscape.

Heavy equipment began removing the junk and regrading last fall and will resume work in the spring. The waste coal that cannot be removed will be buried. The acreage has been classified as a landfill for this purpose.

Eventually, the city has plans to transform the entire lot into a city park, complete with picnic area, two baseball parks and possibly a skate park. The reclamation program cannot fund those improvements, so the city will have to look for addition sources of funds.

Mayor Ben Blackburn also told the district board that the park will also be an access point for the Castle Country trail system.

The district is able to justify funding within city limits because the urban fishery will be available for residents in unincorporated areas such as Miller Creek and other areas of the eastern county.

The RTSSD gets funding from mineral lease royalties on coal and natural gas. It is an independent entity separate from the county commission.

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