Bloomfield rejected for ball fields

Freebie from school district wins out over private purchase

Despite an offer of a discount

price, a 10-year no-interest loan, and a

swap to unload the old town hall property, the

Pinedale Town Council decided not to purchase

land for ball fields at Bloomfield and

will stick with a 99-year lease from Sublette

County School District No. 1.

All five council members attended the

Nov. 25 workshop and following meeting

including Mayor Matt Murdock, Dean Loftus,

Tyler Swafford, John Paravicini and Judi


Two locations on private property were

discussed. Murdock said owner John Harber

offerred a Bloomfield site. The property

has an appraised value of $1.2 million, but

the owner agreed to donate anything above

$750,00. In addition Harber was willing to do

a trade of the former town hall location on

West Pine Street for $150,000. The remaining

$600,000 price could then be paid over

10 years with an interest-free loan.

In both cases, the town is on the hook to

build either a road on Wilson Street to the

school district location near the bus barn or a

connection to Ehman Lane from the Bloomfield


Swafford said he liked the Bloomfield site

due to the access and better layout with more

room to grow. He couldn’t justify passing the

additional expense for the land purchase to

the Sublette County Rural Health Care District.

He added that typically people playing

softball enjoy alcohol and questioned if alcohol

is allowed on the school site. Murdock

said it’s like Wrangler Skate Park and would

be under the town’s control.

Paravicini said with a lot of “wheeling and

dealing” with the two private locations, any

piece falling apart would kill the deal.

When flooding of the road was mentioned

on the Bloomfield location, the council

reached a consensus. Following the workshop,

approval was give to Brian Gray with

Jorgensen & Associates to begin the Master

Plan for the site.

To date, the council has spent just over

$16,000 on surveys and an appraisal. Another

$211,000 was approved for the Master

Plan. Murdock confirmed the costs were all

included in the original $3.2-million cost estimate.

Elaina Zemple, Western Regional Director

for the Wyoming Business Council, also met

with council members about possibly using

the vacant land at 221 W. Pine St. as a collateral

property for a business grant.

Zemple said one option is a business

readiness grant that prepares the town for

development. Any proposed business would

need to have to pay an average salary of the

median county wage. Typically, that eliminates

restaurants, she said.

“Your land is on prime retail space and Pinedale

has a strong tourism market,” Zemple

said. She said retail space that keeps visitors

in town would qualify for that grant.

A similar project was done in Lyman

where old dilapidated buildings were torn

down and replaced with a building for four

retail businesses. The four businesses that

went into the space had very long-term leases.

A second grant option is for an identified

business, such as the grant used for Enviremedial

Services, Inc. She said they can loan

$100,000 for each job generated.

Council members agreed to put together

information seeking a business that may qualify

for a grant.

Zemple cautioned it should be done sooner

rather than later because predictions are that

state funding will become tighter and grants

will not be readily available.

The next Pinedale Town Council meeting

will be Monday, Dec. 9, with a workshop at 4

p.m. and the meeting at 5 p.m.


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