Sweetwater, WY: Green River's College Park Business Center Boosts Opportunity
Center bolsters business in Green River
Green River launched College Park Business Center nearly two decades ago with the vision of encouraging job growth and economic activity inside the city. Today that investment is paying off for the small businesses that are thriving there.
“The Business Center is rapidly developing with new businesses, and offers convenience for our patients and a central location for several health-care providers,” says Dr. Jeff Wilson, who operates Desert View Eye Care.
Desert View, which offers general optometric services including comprehensive eye exams, medical eye care, surgical co-management, contact lens fittings and a full-service optical dispensary with an on-site lab, moved to College Park Business Center in 2016.
Development of College Park Business Center addressed a need for additional space for businesses inside the city.
“The College Park Business Center subdivision was developed by the City of Green River in 1999. I cannot say specific reasons as to the thinking of the elected officials and employees at that time, but if I were in their shoes, it was most likely apparent that Green River just does not have adequate commercial or industrial property within its boundaries,” says Laura Leigh, the city’s director of community development.
Inside the city, just 3 percent of the area is zoned for business and less than 10 percent of the land is zoned for industrial uses. Most of the industrial land is Union Pacific Railroad property and is not readily available for development, according to a comprehensive plan created in 2013.
Over time, the vision of a public-private partnership creating new economic opportunity began to see success.
The College Park Business Center site originally consisted of 13 developable lots and two open tracts. Only one commercial building was constructed between 1999 and 2005. Seeing the need for residential development, the city sold all but five lots for residential development in 2006 and 2007.
The city began to see commercial interest in the commercial lots again in 2014. Today they have all been purchased.
Businesses include the dental practice of Dr. Bryce Castillon, WyoChem Federal Credit Union, Fremont Physical Therapy Group, Complete Chiropractics, Desert View Eye Care and Sixth Lake LLC, which owns two lots, Leigh says.
When Desert View purchased its site in College Park Business Center, “things started picking up again. They were a catalyst that brought in other businesses that had offices in town who were looking to expand (or) redevelop in the new location,” says city administrator Reed Clevenger.
“It is now full, and others have built their buildings that will allow for another business-tenant to come in with them. It feels more like a medical park, except for the bank, because there is an eye doctor, dentist, chiropractor and multiple physical therapy businesses,” he says.
Room for Growth
Creation of College Park Business Center was part of a strategy to create economic opportunity by attracting a call center, says Green River Mayor Pete Rust.
“Communities at that time throughout the nation and certainly Wyoming were trying — as they still are today — to entice businesses, at that time call centers, to come to their state, and having a location already set aside with roads and accompanying infrastructure in place was the chosen method to achieve success,” he says.
Advantages of College Park Business Center’s location include access to Upland Way, a major corridor, and proximity to the Western Wyoming Community College Green River Center.
“Considerable traffic goes by this area now and will expand as the area develops,” Rust says.
Its College Park Business Center location has advantages for Desert View Eye Care.
“We occupy 3,500 square feet of space and have six full-time and three part-time employees. We have been in business since 2006 and have steadily grown each year and offer many eye care services for our patients,” Wilson says. “The location offered room to expand our business and increased visibility and access.”