CENTRAL UTAH (ABC4 News) – Marinia Ellett is the owner of Marinia’s Country Cafe in Loa.
“Just trying to keep us afloat, it’s been good,” she said.
She says agriculture is the main focus in Wayne County and she relies on locals and tourists for her income at the restaurant.
“It still brings tears to my eyes, it was something very special, we could not have done it without our locals,” said Ellett.
Ellett says she wants to make sure residents are employed by the small businesses here.
“More people coming in, more of that, more people building stuff, which has been great,” she added.
She says she wants to see her community grow.
“Small places need, need that recognition… They need, need some kind of help, they need anybody to put them on the map,” she added.
The infamous Utah outlaw, Butch Cassidy’s house greets visitors entering Circleville.
“We love a lot about this community, we like the smallness and the friendliness but it would be fun to have a few new businesses,” said Deanna Higgins.
This town holds the majority of residents in Piute County. Locals say they would like to see more economic development.
“Fast food where you can just drive through instead of sit when you’re in a hurry to cook your dinner,” said Tara Hinkins.
In Junction, the superintendent of Piute County School District, who is also the mayor of Circleville, says many people purchase second homes here, leaving locals with a challenge.
“But the prices they’re willing to pay are prices that a local Piute resident couldn’t pay for a first home on the jobs they can get here,” said Koby Willis, Superintendent of Piute Co. School District and the Circleville Mayor.
7th grader Jada Westwood says she loves her home town and wants it to grow.
“Um, just have more job opportunities,” said Westwood.
Residents in both Piute and Wayne Counties say are asking local leaders to help their rural communities with a changing environment amid the pandemic.