Growth in Blanding, despite challenges
Blanding is booming with new homes being built, new roads being constructed, and infrastructure (especially water) additions soon to be built.
The biggest single boost to the housing situation in Blanding is the Grayson Apartments complex. This mixed-use mini community just south of the college consists of 30 new one, two and three-bedroom living units. They will be completed in June and available for occupancy. The $5.6 million project is built by Color Country Community Housing of St. George. Architect is Harold Woodruff and the General Contractor is Kier Construction.
Starvation Reservoir north of Blanding is currently undergoing an $800,000 makeover, mostly to install a clay lining so water loss due to seepage is substantially decreased. Financing is through the USDA Rural Development. The contractor is S.S. Enterprises of Moab.
With Starvation Reservoir out of commission for water storage this year, Blanding city officials said there is probably enough water in Blanding’s largest culinary water storage project at Fourth Reservoir.
However, if necessary, the city has three wells 1,800 feet deep into the Navajo Sandstone formation that test at 400 gallons per minute. These wells could be used at any time if stored water became inadaquate.
The recourse of last resort is to pump water from Recapture Reservoir, which seems unlikely this year, despite virtually no runoff from the mountain.
Blanding has also secured $1.9 million to improve water delivery from the tunnel on Blue Mountain and to improve 17 sites around town where current water infrastructure is either non-existant, worn out or existing pipe sizes are inadaquate to service the growing population.
Two main lines will be built, including a 51,000‘ 12” main line from the mountain to Blanding to replace an old 8” line which currently requires constant repairs. This will at least triple the volume of water into the Blanding city system from the mountain sources.
Funding is from two governmental agencies: $1 million from the CIB, of which $750K is grant and $250K is zero percent interest loan; and $900K from the federal government, with $676K a grant and the balance a 2.75 percent interest loan.
Many lesser projects, both private and public are in the works. New homes are being built in the Blanding area and the overall economy in Blanding is better than most small towns in the rest of the nation.
Writers note: We will visit Monticello and rural San Juan Count in subsequent weeks.