The 2013 community vision plan for future use of the former Atlas uranium mill site is seeking ideas for the property.

The Moab Tailings Pile Steering Committee has instructed the Site Futures Committee (SFC) to update the Initial Community Vision plan for the UMTRA (Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action) property. The update is required every five years by the Grand County and Moab City resolutions approving the vision.

A public involvement and comment process for the 2018 community vision update has begun and will run through June 15, Russ von Koch, chair of the SFC, said.

To foster direct engagement, the SFC will host a workshop in the East room of the Grand Center, 182 N. 500 West, from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 31.

At the workshop, SFC members will describe the Initial Community Vision completed in 2013, answer questions and take comments from the public as a part of the committee’s effort to update the vision plan for the old Atlas Mill property.

“The comments submitted in 2013 were an important factor in shaping our vision for the future use of the Atlas Mill site property,” von Koch said; he was chair of the SFC in 2013. “The initial community vision is a statement of the intent for the property and supports efforts to obtain additional funding to advance the cleanup work at the mill site. Moab and Grand County have experienced a lot of change in the past five years. We also know more about the site conditions as they relate to potential future uses. It is time for an update,” he said.

The 2013 community vision for the mill site includes floodplain areas where only low-cost, repairable uses like trails would be allowed. Most of the hillside areas above U.S. Hwy. 191 and State Route 279 would be managed to retain their scenic values. The existing corridors would continue and also be maintained as scenic buffers consistent with utility uses.

A transit center with information and welcome facilities would serve both visitors and residents in the Moab area. A location was also identified to facilitate future passenger rail access to Moab.

Community park-type uses would include a multipurpose outdoor event and performance venue, exercise and educational trails, an overlook, a memorial for the uranium era, an informal flexible use “play” area, a boat ramp, and a shallow ice-skating pond. When feasible, parking would be shared with that for the transit and welcome center areas.

A commercial use area would provide services and possibly generate revenue for maintenance of the public use areas. Facilities for vendors would support event and park use.

The 2013 vision also identifies space for a combined federal resource agency office and research facility. This development would potentially reduce agency costs by sharing facilities such as parking, reception areas and conference rooms. It would also free existing leased buildings for other uses.

Utility costs would be reduced by separating culinary and irrigation water and also by utilizing site-produced solar energy from buildings. Otherwise, utilities would be arranged to work with existing providers.

“While at the present level of funding the site remediation work may continue through 2034, it is not too early to consider future use of the site,” Lee Shenton, Grand County’s UMTRA liaison, said. “It is better to keep moving forward with our planning than wait until the cleanup work is completed.”

To learn more about the community vision plan and other information about the Moab UMTRA project, visit Grand County’s UMTRA website at Comments on the future vision for the remediation site may also be sent by June 15 to the Grand County Planning Office, Site Futures Committee, c/o UMTRA liaison, 125 E. Center St., Moab, Utah, 84532.

Planning includes use of site for recreation, tourism

“While at the present level of funding the site remediation work may continue through 2034, it is not too early to consider future use of the site.”

– Lee Shenton