New Visitors Center yet to open
by Buckley Jensen
The new multi-million dollar Monument Valley Visitors Center and Trade Center, completed more than a year ago, sits empty and idle with last year’s weed’s waving in the wind.
Located east of the main intersection, across the highway from Monument Valley High School and the nearly complete Monument Valley Health Clinic, the center was built for two principle reasons: (1) to provide Navajo families who sell their hand made art, jewelry and other crafts with a state of the art facility, instead of the ramshackle rows of stalls that used to line the road to the Monument Valley Tribal Park; and (2), to dispense needed tourist information to the hundreds of thousands of visitors who visit the Tribal Park and surrounding area annually.
At the February 25 meeting of the San Juan County Commission, Commissioners asked why the facility still sits unused.
The answer is that NTUA (Navajo Trust Utility Authority) has refused to complete an agreement with the State of Utah on utilities (water and power) for the complex. Both utilities are located nearby. As soon as an agreement is signed, the State will deed the entire complex to the Tribe. County Commissioners seemed miffed as to why this has not happened.
Commissioners say that every benefit created by these modern new facilities will go directly to the Navajo Tribe. Yet, no one knows when it will happen as they enter the third year of wondering.
If anyone would like to clarify what the problem is, many San Juan County residents and thousands of visitors would like to know.