LOCAL NEWS

Green River Hoping To Draw In More Tourists As MultiMillion Dollar Hotel Opens

Mar 3, 2021, 12:00 AM | Updated: 9:28 am

GREEN RIVER, Utah – Many rural towns across Utah are facing the same question — how to change and attract more visitors for a better local economy. One Emery County town is about to find out, and a new multimillion dollar hotel might be the start of it all.

Change happens slowly if you give it enough time. Not only are the bends and flow of the Green River an example of that, but so is the small town of Green River.

A welcome sign outside Green River, Utah. (Alex Cabrero/KSL TV)

“It’s true,” said Shannon Johnson. “I have seen some changes here in the past few years.”

Johnson is raising a family in Green River and has lived here for several years.

“A lot of people come and say, ‘Why do you live out here in the middle of nowhere in this little, small town?’ but we love it,” she said.

Johnson is also the general manager of a new Holiday Inn Express that opened on the west side of town in February.

“I am betting it is definitely the most expensive building and the largest building ever built in Green River, Utah,” she said with a laugh.

The new Holiday Inn Express in Green River. (Alex Cabrero/KSL TV)

It’s part of the change Green River is hoping for.

City administrator Conae Black said city leaders hired a consulting firm three years ago to try and find ways to get visitors to stop for more than gas and snacks.

Often, those visitors would visit a gas station in town and then get back on Interstate 70, heading to places like Moab or Grand Junction, Colorado.

“We needed to look at what our strengths and weaknesses are,” said Black.

She said the town is looking to bolster its industrial and manufacturing areas, but she also knows tourism is a big part of the area.

Those tourism strengths include Green River and Goblin Valley state parks, the San Rafael Swell and Crystal Geyser.

“We have a lot of hidden treasures in the community,” said Black. “Maybe it’s time we share some of our hidden secrets.”

The city is also looking at new recreational opportunities, like its first mountain biking trail, the first dirt bike rally set for later in March and plans to create something nice along the river.

However, to capitalize on the strengths, Black admitted the city needs to focus on its weaknesses.

Namely, the appearance of the town. There are many older run-down buildings with broken windows up and down Main Street.

Main Street in Green River, Utah. (Alex Cabrero/KSL TV)

Black knows that first impression might keep visitors from spending time here.

“Eventually we’ll get it cleaned up and looking better and make it a place where people want to come,” she said.

With Moab continuing to grow fast, Johnson said she has seen more people looking to stay overnight in Green River because it’s usually cheaper for a hotel room.

Moab is about 45 minutes south of Green River.

“We have seen some of the overflow here,” said Johnson. “We have a lot of guests that come and say it’s a little bit cheaper and less congested.”

Even though the new Holiday Inn Express has only been open for a few weeks, Johnson said it has already attracted people to come off I-70 who might not have normally done so.

“They told us they don’t usually stop here,” said Johnson. “And then when they ask for things, we tell them where to go. We have already sent hundreds of guests to the restaurants, the grocery store, the hardware store. Things like that. So this new hotel is already making a difference for everybody.”

It all starts with a little change.

“I hope great things continue to come here,” said Johnson. “It really is a great place.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

Matt Gephardt being shown the double payments that Terry Hutchings has been getting....

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Get Gephardt helps homeowner being charged two bills for one security system

Billing for a previous home initially stopped when she sold it, but when she got a new security system from the same provider for her new place a year later it started billing for both

37 minutes ago

The Utah State Hospital sign in Provo, Utah....

Daniel Woodruff

A developer has big plans for the Utah State Hospital property

The latest effort to move the Utah State Hospital for a new development plan has failed this legislative session.

46 minutes ago

Utah County residents vote in-person during the 2020 General Election on Nov. 3, 2020. (KSL-TV)...

Daniel Woodruff

Utah Senate rejects effort to end ranked choice voting early

Utah’s experiment with ranked choice voting will continue after a bill that would have ended the pilot program two years early failed to pass.

1 hour ago

The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced February 29 that Heritage Store Hydrogen Peroxide ...

John Towfighi, CNN

Mouthwash recalled nationwide over poisoning risk

One brand of hydrogen peroxide mouthwash is being recalled nationwide for posing a potential poisoning risk for children.

3 hours ago

Comiske riding her stationary bike, something she does every morning....

Emma Benson

Strategies to lengthen your life

The CDC says, on average, women tend to live 5-7 years longer than men because men higher rate of cardiovascular disease, but there are simple, healthy ways to increase your life expectancy.

4 hours ago

A mother holding a newborn in a hospital bed...

Shelby Lofton

Utah family chooses Leap Day for their daughter’s birthday

A Utah family celebrated the birth of their new baby girl who was born on a day that only comes every four years.

5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Green River Hoping To Draw In More Tourists As MultiMillion Dollar Hotel Opens