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Anchor tenants tout plans for JCPenney building


Tami Ursenbach

By Rick Sherman
Sun Advocate Reporter

Carbon County Economic Development Director Tami Ursenbach was all smiles at a press conference Wednesday to formally announce plans for new business ventures at the JCPenney building on Price’s Main Street. The national chain did business in Price for more than 100 years before closing the store in 2016.
Ursenbach said she had prayed that just one company would relocate in Carbon County and give residents hope for the future. She continued, “Today my prayers have been answered. We have not just one company, we have several companies.”
The press conference at the county commission chambers included remarks from Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox and the anchor tenants of the building, which will be called the Opportunity Hub. A similar event, the Governor’s 25K Jobs Launch event was held at USU Eastern’s Jennifer Leavitt Student Center later the same day.
Lt. Governor Cox, who hails from Sanpete County joked, “This is is the longest I’ve been in Carbon County without anybody talking to me about water!” It was a reference to a decades-long water dispute and Sanpete County’s effort to build the Gooseberry Narrows Dam, which would capture some of the water that now flows into Scofield Reservoir.
On a serious note, Cox said creating jobs in rural Utah is critical to keeping the young people of the community from leaving to find work elsewhere. He praised Ursenbach for her hard work, vision and tenacity in bringing jobs to the community. He said, “When we hear 200 jobs, that’s a game changer.”
Cox said the old economy has left rural Utah, and catching up to the new economy requires the innovation that the entrepreneurs bring, and hard work. “And this is where we breed hard work,” he declared.
The new enterprise in the former JC Penney location was first disclosed last month when the Carbon County Commission approved a resolution to provide support and a monetary contribution in conjunction with a federal grant for one of the anchor tenants. The county agreed to an annual contribution of $10,000 for the first three years.
The grant applicant is FutureInDesign, a nonprofit corporation that provides education and technology training for teens and young adults who have been marginalized by socioeconomic forces. Founder and CEO Nicolina Womack said she had the opportunity to meet with local educators, principals and other community members and was impressed with the level of compassion and dedication she found.
Other Opportunity Hub principals and future anchor tenants who participated at the news conference included Joel Smith, CEO of Accelerant, and also representing HealthEquity and Pando Labs; Brian Sather, Blacksmith International; and Clint Betts, Silicon Slopes.
Ursenbach spoke of collaboration in efforts to attract new business and jobs to the area. She said, “We all need to work together, and as we do, that’s going to help us grow.”

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