By David Martin
Editor 

Water opens opportunities in Jamestown

 

August 1, 2018



As Kael Jasperson sees it, a lot of opportunities will open up for the Jamestown-Rio Vista area in the coming years.

The area recently completed a water pump and reservoir project that has been more than 15 years in the making and one desperately needed by residents of the area. A short ribbon cutting ceremony hosted by the Jamestown-Rio Vista Water and Sewer District took place last week at the reservoir and treatment plant, which overlooks Jamestown and Rio Vista, as well as Interstate 80 and the Green River itself.

The facility will provide water to the residents of the area, while increasing fire protection and water service to additional areas nearby. The project consisted of a 600,000 gallon tank, five miles of water transmission lines and two buildings to provide control, metering and chlorination for the water.

Jasperson, the vice-chairman of the water and sewer district, thinks more opportunities will come as a result of the project.

“I think you’re going to see an explosion of development over there,” he said. “There’s no doubt that Jamestown will grow ... it opens up hundreds of acres of developable land.”

Water has been a long-standing issue for the community and one that mired the district in a loan the district ultimately had no way of paying back. Jasperson said the district borrowed money from the state in 1981 to complete a water treatment plant and intake reservoir. At the time, he said land developers were interested in building a truck stop near Church Butte, which would have covered the costs of the $600,000 loan, at 8 percent interest, the district took out to build its new infrastructure.


The truck stop never happened and when the district annexed the Covered Wagon subdivision, where the truck stop would have been built, and assessed it for their portion of the loan, Jasperson said the land owners never paid the district for their tax assessment, putting the district in a position where it could never repay the loan. However, the district continued to pay what it could.

Almost 15 years ago, the district’s water pump was showing signs of its age and needed to be replaced, the loan was a hurdle in securing money to pay for a new water system. With work from Sen. John Hastert and Rep. Stan Blake, Jasperson said the state eventually forgave the loan.

This allowed the board to apply for and win a Wyoming Water Development Commission grant that covered 67 percent of the $6.4 million project. The remaining balance was covered by a USAD Rural Development Loan. The loan’s interest rate is listed at 2.5 percent.


Jasperson said the project wouldn’t have been possible without the two legislators, as well as the Sweetwater County Commissioners and the City of Green River.

 

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