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Hundreds of thousands in federal coronavirus money used to build tubing hill in Utah’s Uintah County

Business owners say they need help in one of Utah’s most economically impacted counties.
The Uintah County Commission has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal CARES pandemic relief money to build the Buckskin Hills tubing hill, including $19,999 each for six snow guns, that opened Jan. 15, 2021.
Posted at 7:39 AM, Jan 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-30 00:25:35-05

UINTAH COUNTY, Utah — Uintah County opened its brand new Buckskin Hills snow hill this month, complete with snowmakers, snow guns, a tow rope, and more than a dozen runs for tubing, skiing and snowboarding, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.

The price tag for the Vernal-based attraction could be half a million dollars or more, and it all came from federal dollars meant for the pandemic response. That has some struggling business owners and county residents raising eyebrows.

“A lot of people are just livid about the fact it’s taxpayer funds being spent on an entertainment activity that can only be utilized for three months of the year,” said Amy Farnsworth, a teacher who also runs a tutoring business. “In my opinion, the funds should go back to the state so other businesses in need can use them.”

To date, the county has spent about $322,000 on the hill — but expenses may be coming since the county still has $500,000 CARES dollars left to spend and it was making purchases for Buckskin Hills as recently as last week.

Click here to read the full story from The Salt Lake Tribune.

FOX 13 spoke with the county leaders who made the decision, who said they stand by it. Watch the video above to hear what they had to say.