River Port Industrial Park comes to Spanish Fork

The Verk Industrial Park project is to become an industrial center.

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) Protesters attend a rally before a meeting of the Utah Inland Port Authority Board of Directors in the Capitol on Thursday, May 11, 2023. The Utah Inland Port Authority Monday approved a third inland port project area, the Verk Industrial Park project in Spanish Fork.

Spanish Fork is on track to become Utah’s next transit and logistics hub as the Utah Inland Port Authority approved a new project there Monday.

The Verk Industrial Park project, named after the Icelandic word for “work” in reference to Spanish Fork’s Icelandic heritage, will be a 2,200-acre industrial park featuring warehouses, manufacturing facilities, distribution centers and office space just west of Interstate 15. according to a project draft.

It is the third project approved by the Utah Inland Port Authority as part of the state’s ongoing effort to make Utah an inland port — or a collection of ports.

Board members and supporters said Verk and similar projects will strengthen the community’s economy by creating more and more diverse jobs.

“This partnership represents a tremendous opportunity to drive positive change, fuel economic growth and create a sustainable logistics future for both the local community and the wider region,” said Miles Hansen, CEO of UIPA, in a press release.

The Verk Industrial Park, according to the project design, will be a hub for processing, manufacturing and shipping goods in and out of Utah. According to UIPA, the site could be a simple stop for freight trains coming from California ports, but it would need more rail infrastructure before traffic can be significantly diverted from Salt Lake and Utah County.

UIPA will finance the lion’s share of the industrial park with tax differential funds from increased property taxes. According to a draft budget, UIPA is expected to have approximately US$136 million in tax differential funds to spend over the 25-year project lifespan.

Critics of the port have been concerned about the speed at which these projects are being approved.

“What’s really troubling is the lack of public information about business plans for these developments,” Deeda Seed, a Stop Polluting the Port Coalition volunteer and fellow at the Center for Biological Diversity, told the Salt Lake Tribune in May.

Spanish Fork Mayor Mike Mendenhell said the project “fits perfectly” with the city’s goals “while protecting the rights of property owners and respecting sensitive areas.”

“The Verk Industrial Park will be instrumental in creating an economic focus for high-paying jobs,” Mendenhall said in a press release, “that will enable greater economic opportunity and a better quality of life.”

Justin Scaccy

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