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Western Park in Vernal, Utah

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This is Fred Ball for Zions Bank, speaking on business.

The Western Park in Vernal, Utah was the site for the chamber of commerce meeting that I recently addressed. I was so impressed with this surprising facility that I asked Derk Hatch, the general manager, if he would give me a tour and tell me the history of the complex. Derk told me that in the late 1980s the county commissioners had $3 million that they wanted to invest in a facility that would generate tax revenue, provide job stimulus and generate a positive image for Vernal.

Located downtown, the Western Park complex was completed in 1990 and was one of the first multiple-use facilities. It's a very popular location for concerts, social events, trade shows, rodeos, fairs, conventions, business meetings and national equestrian events.

The Western Heritage Museum there has one of the country's best collections of Fremont and Anasazi Indian artifacts, and an art collection featuring many well-known artists.

The main indoor arena is heated, air-conditioned and seats 4,000. There is an outdoor stadium that boasts a covered grandstand and bleachers for 8,500, and also includes a full pen system and a 5/8-mile race or training track. There are 10 acres of lighted parking, five concession areas, full shower facilities, RV parking with hook-ups, truck parking, 400 stalls with a stall manager, three animal washing stations and an on-call veterinarian. I also saw a huge picnic and playground area for families of participants and spectators. The adjacent amphitheater seats 800, with a lawn area for additional seating.

The park is busy 365 days of the year, hosting 300 to 400 events each year. While I was strolling through the facilities, the crews were busily setting up to host a national sheep and lamb show, as well as a quarter horse show held simultaneously that weekend.

I can guarantee you that the initial investment by those county commissioners to build this facility has generated great satisfaction and a return for the people in Vernal.

For Zions Bank, I'm Fred Ball. I'm speaking on business.

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