The Franklin County Commissioners meeting of November 12 was highlighted by a briefing on the status of the Shoshone Nation’s Interpretive Center being built north of Preston. The center will be built on several acres that the Shoshone have purchased in the area overlooking the Bear River, where the U.S. Army massacred a large number of the tribal members in 1863.
At this time there is a monument erected to the action, and the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation, represented by Bradley Perry, tribal councilman, has been working diligently to acquire land and funding for a more fitting tribute. The major point of the briefing was to bring the commissioners up to speed on the progress thus far, and in particular the access road that will the connect the Interpretive Center to HWY 91.
Perry had a number of aerial survey maps showing the proposed area of the final location of the center, parking lots, and associated structures, which the county officials poured over. He said the project will be finished and open to the public in about two years. It is believed that the center will be a major tourist draw for the area as well as a learning point for all who visit it.
The Franklin Commissioners, as well as Troy Moser, Road and Bridge Manager and Vic Pearson, County Attorney, expressed enthusiasm about the potential of the project.
Also during the meeting, alcoholic beverage licenses’ were approved for Bajarangi Sunstop,Inc., Last Chance #8, Last Chance #9, Last Chance #10, Papa Jays Inc, The Slice, Wellcome Mart, The Owl Club, and Elks Lodge.
Troy Moser received approval from the commissioners to purchase $24,000 worth of equipment to spread sand during the upcoming winter months.
There was a discussion of the addition/remodel project of the courthouse which narrowly missed the required 66.6 percent majority by only about 30 votes. It was noted that the courthouse, which was built in 1938 is grossly out of compliance with federal ADA laws.
“It’s a lawsuit waiting to happen, and when it happens the county will probably have to pay millions in legal judgments and still have to spend millions more to rebuild the courthouse,” said Commissioner Boyd Burbank. The commissioners fear that if the federal government gets involved to force compliance, the county will lose most of the oversight and control regarding the rebuilding and cost control and be forced to allow outside government officials to make the decisions, which may cost county taxpayers more than the current plan.
“It’s going to have to be done (rebuilding of the courthouse), and the longer it’s put off the more expensive it’s going to be. The price of everything goes up, it doesn’t go down. It’s a matter of “pay me now, or pay me many millions more later,” said County Building Inspector Randy Henrie.