Your Voice Your Vote: Emery & Grand County

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CASTLE DALE/ MOAB, Utah (ABC4 News) – It’s another day for Jasper Beason, a Moab resident who’s lived here for 30 years. 

“We deal with massive amounts of people,” said Beason.

With 5 recreational parks, Moab’s a bustling tourist spot for Grand County. 

“It’s hard for people coming into town, but it’s also hard for locals to get out of town,” said Beason.

Beason says locals have to drive out of town to get things they need and she wants that to change. 

“You have to go to Grand Junction which is an hour and 45 minutes away to do any school shopping or you know grocery shopping,” she added.

Another issue residents say they need a solution to, is affordable housing. 

“What we struggle with is, the housing for employees, hopefully they will do something like that in the future,” said Toni Ramirez.

Toni Ramirez runs Fiesta Mexicana, a popular restaurant in downtown Moab. 

“Our town is so famous and after all this that is going on with Coronavirus, we’ve been doing great,” said Ramirez.

Ramirez says the tourists have helped businesses thrive and he hopes they keep coming back. 

“We need to focus more on the locals as opposed to the tourists,” said Beason.

In Emery County, Castle Dale’s Mayor wants more jobs and wants to bring more people into the community. 

We are looking at tourism as being one of those spokes in the hub, we have world class bouldering,” said Danny VanWagoner.

Coal used to be the main economic driver, but many plants are closed. A coal research center is being funded by the state. 

“The power plants are still here, they’ve got 25-30 years, life in them,” he added.

Danny VanWagoner says he wants something else more sustainable. 

“We have to reach out of this niche and we have to do something proactive to get people to come, to get people to stay, and to get people to invest in our community,” he added.

VanWagoner says he wants local leaders to pay attention to and remember rural Utah.

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