Planning Commissions Shake Up, Diverge

A resignation, four appointments, and an administration change shake, but don’t crumble, zoning boards

COLORADO CITY / HILDALE – A schism between sister cities further manifests as planning commission boards split. Opening prayers in Arizona ring out in stark contrast to the Pledge of Allegiance in Utah.

The separate planning commission boards for Colorado City, Arizona and Hildale, Utah met for the first time 2 July 2018. The boards have traditionally been technically separate but virtually identical in membership and function.

Citizens gather in Colorado City for the Planning Commission          Photo by Eric Velander

Planning commissions for the twin governments write the general zoning plan, implement specific zoning ordinances, and approve land use permits. While the boards are now divergent in membership, each has made clear their collective intention to implement congruent zoning ordinances.

Nephi Steed Allred, brother to Mayor Joseph Allred and Chairman of both boards, resigned publicly Monday night, pledging two more months of service with each city. Allred cited personal and business reasons for his surprise departure. Additionally, longtime joint Planning and Zoning Director Jim Peterson is no longer working with either city. A replacement has not yet been employed.

Recent appointees to the Hildale Planning Commission include Randy Barlow, Charles Hammon, Brigham Holm, and Jenifer Kesselring. Aaron LaCorti was appointed to the Colorado City board Monday night. Commissioner Hammon is set to be the only member sitting on both boards, serving as a lynchpin in future collaborations between the cities.

Hildale Planning Commission: From the left, Holm, Barlow, Allred, Hammon and Kesselring                        Photo by Eric Velander


Commissioner Randy Barlow is considered radical in his vision for the community. Barlow has expressed interest in concerted zoning for a commercial district, redesigned residential areas and roads, and has been the mind behind the revitalization of Cottonwood Park.

While zero zoning ordinances are currently the law of the land in Short Creek, new drafts are being proposed to each board. A lack of clarity and specificity in previous editions has held back the perviously-joint commission from approving a workable city plan.

“This is the first step, and we still have work to do. This draft is a considerable improvement,” said Hammon, in reference to the unfinished 22-page zoning ordinance proposal for Colorado City. The finalized Hildale proposal is expected to mirror that of Colorado City.

Amid the shakeup, Chairman Allred assured the public, “The cities are in good hands.”

Flood Mitigation Project Begins

Construction of detention pond and drainage projects starts 27 June

HILDALE – A flood control project including a new detention basin and sand-encased drainage pipe began 27 June 2018. Construction for the project will center near Carling Street and North Canyon Street. Work is contracted to take no more than 65 calendar days.

Hildale City Council approved the bid for $482,911 by Feller Enterprises of St. George, Utah on 6 June 2018. The approved bond will cost Hildale City approximately $30,000 yearly, for the next 20 years.

Photo by Eric Velander

Hildale Mayor Donia Jessop added:

“I want to give a special ‘thank you’ to the Utah Permanent Impact Fund Board of C.I.B., and their Program Manager, Candace Powers. They granted $350,000 and loaned the remainder of the costs to Hildale City. We wouldn’t be able to do this project without them.”

City leadership made their intentions very clear; the improvements to the flood control system are for the continued safety of citizens. A tragic September 2015 storm made flood control a priority for Hildale administration.

“It is very hard to talk about flood control without getting emotional because of the 14 lives that were lost in the flood three years ago,” said Mayor Jessop. “Hildale is spending nearly 1 million dollars on flood control to ensure that something like that never has to happen again.”

Photo by Eric Velander

Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona reside in a flood plain, and have a high risk of property damage and potential for loss of life following rainfall. According to the Hildale City Code:

“The areas of special flood hazard [were] identified by the FEMA in a scientific and engineering report entitled, ‘The Flood Insurance Study for Hildale City,’ dated April 4, 2009.”


Online Utility Bill Pay Comes to Short Creek

“Mayor, when, when, when am I going to pay my bill online?” Well, my answer to that question is, ‘Today.'”

COLORADO CITY / HILDALE – Short Creek residents may now pay their utility bills online with XPress Bill Pay. This service, with a small convenience charge, is available to both Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona residents. The twin border towns share a Public Utility Board and utility services.

To sign up, click the red “XPress Bill Pay” button on the Hildale City website. Be sure to use the your personal zip code while setting up your bill pay account.

Colorado City Mayor Joseph Allred said about the convenience, “It’s a fabulous addition. I think it’s great.”

Hildale Mayor Donia Jessop concluded, town administration is “here to serve. If there is something we can do better, I want to know. I encourage you take advantage of this service, and bring to my attention any other needed changes.”

EDIT: Both Colorado City and Hildale zip codes work when setting up your account. I apologize for any confusion. – Eric Velander

Cottonwood Park Sod Project

A photoessay

COLORADO CITY – Over 40 volunteers came out to Cottonwood Park on Saturday to finish laying sod. Good times and tacos were had by all! Lucky for us, the clouds kept the sun at bay, and we unrolled 57 pallets of sod in about four hours. Be sure to enjoy Cottonwood Park’s new grass and playground equipment.

We’ll see you at Cottonwood Park on the Fourth of July! If you would like to donate to the celebration, visit Short Creek Festivities; they’re about 60% funded at the time of this posting.

Truman was out tilling before I got there at 9 AM
Fifty-seven whole pallets had to be rolled out in the park
Volunteers, young and wise, began arriving at 10 AM
The desert sun made the first hour or so VERY hot
Unrolling and placing sod is tough work, made tougher if you’re seven years old
By noon things started to look very green
“It’s a giant green puzzle!”
All biceps, all day
Moist sod is the heaviest, most unwieldy thing
Three generations of Creekers came out to help
The taco line
“I need an action shot of those tortillas flipping.”
Cottonwood is ready for the Fourth of July


A Most Wanted Wall Demolition

“Making this a city about welcome instead of a city about walls.”

HILDALE –  A wrecking crew is taking out sections of thick, 15-foot white walls on Utah Ave today. Remedy Excavating of Hildale, Utah is handling the demolition as well as the now-completed demolition of the walls outside Water Canyon High School.

Willie Jessop, property owner and sponsor of the project said they are improving accessibility to the bed and breakfast grand entry. Major portions of the walls will remain around the property.

Photo by Eric Velander

Formerly the Jeffs Compound, and now America’s Most Wanted Bed and Breakfast, the property was hastily built after Warren Jeffs was sentenced to life in prison in 2007. The mansion sat empty prior to the bed and breakfast, which began operations in 2014.

Jessop went on to say about the recent changes in the Short Creek landscape, “We’re glad to see our community continue to improve it’s image; we’re making this a city about welcome instead of a city about walls.”

Photo by Eric Velander


Primary Election on 26 June

register online or at the polls

HILDALE – Washington County is holding a Republican primary election on 26 June 2018 for Senator Orrin Hatch’s seat in the Senate. The candidates are Mitt Romney and Mike Kennedy.

You can find out how to update your voter registration information at the election timeline and candidate information pages. The final day to register online is 19 June 2018. You may register to vote at your polling station on the day of the election.

To find out specifically where you must vote, reference the map below with the precinct and poll location information provided by Washington County Election Commission. Hildale residents reside in “HIL97,” and vote at Water Canyon School on 250 Newell Ave.

The general election will be held on 6 November 2018, with the winner of this primary contest squaring off against Jenny Wilson (Democrat), Craig Bowden (Libertarian) , and Tim Aalders (Constitution).

Screen Shot 2018-06-14 at 1.10.31 PM.png

Fourth of July Celebration Needs Your Help

Landmark Short Creek observance at 19% funding of $15,000 goal

HILDALE/COLORADO CITY – The Fourth of July celebration is coming up quickly, and Short Creek Festivities needs your help turn the new and improved Cottonwood Park into a party. Short Creek Festivities, started by George and Merriam Jessop, are in their third year of providing breakfast, music, local vendors, a parade, and fireworks to the Short Creek community.

“Short Creek Festivities is a committee of life long residents of the combined communities of Hildale, Utah, Colorado City, Arizona and Centennial Park, Arizona. We are determined to rebuild our communities and see them begin to thrive economically and socially.”

Entertainment this year includes musical acts, dance routines, and of course a fireworks display to cap the evening. YOU can help by donating to the cause, and of course, attending the celebration on our nation’s birthday.

Photo courtesy of Short Creek Festivities

Canaan Mountain Herald and this list of sponsors will see you on the Fourth of July at 6:00 AM for the Mayor’s Walk!

A Chief of Two Cities

Short Creek swears in Chief Marshal twice in one week

HILDALE/COLORADO CITY – Chief Marshal Mark Askerlund was sworn in at the Colorado City, Arizona Town Council meeting 11 June 2018. Chief Askerlund will again swear in as Hildale, Utah’s Chief Marshal on 13 June 2018. Policing the border towns requires officers of all ranks to obtain certification in both Arizona and Utah, though the Marshals are headquartered in Colorado City.

Photo by Eric Velander

A 33-year veteran of Utah policing, Chief Askerlund came out of retirement to make changes in the twin cities’ Marshal’s Office. Askerlund had to say about his three-year Short Creek assignment:

“My overall goal is to take the department forward, and to quote [Colorado City] Mayor Joseph Allred, ‘Push the reset button.’ We start over. We just move forward, from here on, and we put the past behind us, and go out and police the community to the best of our abilities.”

Chief Askerlund also expressed interest in broadening police involvement in the community by assigning resource officers to schools and obtaining K9 certification.

“Moving forward, I’d like to take the core group of officers that we have and provide them training, chances to improve their skills, and to improve themselves as police officers.”

Chief Askerlund’s stated personal goal is to “leave the department better than I found it.” He went on to say, “With proper leadership, proper training, and proper access to those tools we need, I believe we can become one of the best police departments in the state.”

Citizens of Short Creek can expect changes to policing under Chief Askerlund, starting with uniform markings on patrol vehicles and three new patrol officers from within the community. Additionally, Chief Askerlund is interested in hiring an experienced sergeant to assist with administrative and leadership needs.

Water Canyon High School Wall is Coming Down

Demolition sponsored by Washington County School District will last a week

HILDALE – The large concrete wall on the west side of Water Canyon High School is being demolished starting today. The project sponsored by Washington County School District and is being led by Remedy Excavating of Hildale, Utah. According to Royce Jessop, owner of Remedy Excavating, the demolition will last about a week.

Steve Dunham of Washington County School District said about the demolition, “We’re excited to see the wall come down. It’s pretty symbolic for the community.”

Photo by Eric Velander

Dunham expressed excitement in finding a local contractor to demolish the wall for a competitive price. The $21,000 bid was lower than the first phase of the project a year ago, which only cut sections of the wall.

Community members are excited about changes to the scenery, and had expressed concern for driver visibility while exiting the parking lot in the past. Once work is complete, a beautiful view of the mountains opens up to students in Hildale’s only high school.

Photo by Eric Velander