From the pages of
Pinedale Roundup
Volume 105, Number 14 - April 3, 2008
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Q&A With Eugene Ninnie
Pinedale Town Engineer Eugene Ninnie attended the University of Wyoming and moved here from New York.
by Alecia Warren

How long have you lived in Pinedale?

I came here in town the last week of April of last year, and I started the next week in May with this job.

How do you define responsible growth?

When you look into the future utilizing good planning and engineering studies by experts who do this all the time. Studies can be sponsored by grants, and the people who hold the purse strings, especially in this state, look on you with favor when you have good backup information.

That’s why there are so many studies currently being conducted in the town, because we need good information to make good decisions. Through the planning and zoning and engineering in the town, we need information to steer the town council in a way to make good decisions.

What are the advantages and disadvantages to the growth in Pinedale?

The advantages are that you have a nice economy, as far as cash flow, there’s plenty of it. But the disadvantage is there’s this gap of housing that’s a problem as far as the disparity between affordable and what’s currently out there.

Dishwashers, schoolteachers, sheriff’s deputies — that income class is hard to get into a category of housing.

There’s a hierarchy of how you start out in life. You get into an apartment as a young person, you build up enough money to save for a down payment, move into a manufactured home, then move from there into a nicer home. That’s life, those are things everybody does. And if you can’t get into that process, you’ve got a problem, and that’s one of the disadvantages happening here.

Is BloomField key to further growth in Pinedale?

BloomField will address a lot of these problems. It’s certainly not a panacea, it won’t solve all our problems, but it’s a good example of how good planning can take place.

I know that there’s a lot of people who are upset, who don’t agree with Bloom-Field, and that’s normal, that’s America, we all have our opinions. But from my experience and from what I see here, BloomField has a very good opportunity to have good, controlled growth that most towns can’t.

What I like is what (Matt Harber’s) doing with (planning) the infrastructure. He’s got water, sewer and roads. He’s doing it right. He’s got good infrastructure, stuff you want to see. Anybody who wants to go in there and start to work, they’ve got the water and sewer plugged in, ready to go.

What are the most urgent problems in Pinedale, as far infrastructure?

You’ve got freezing water mains and freezing sewers, that’s a common thing in the wintertime. Why? Well, a lot of the infrastructure’s old, a lot (of mains) have been identified as being too shallow. You have to put in bleeders, and now when you bleed, you’re adding a suction of water, which is really unnecessary.

We’re trying to update the sewers, get ‘em down deeper, those two big projects starting this year will drop the mains, but you’ve still got shallow laterals. Hopefully at some point in time, new construction is going to put ‘em down deep enough where we don’t have to worry about it.

Also, roads, curbs, gutters and sidewalks. Pedestrian access is so important. People in Pinedale say they have a mud season, but it really shouldn’t have to be. You should have good roads that are paved that hold themselves up, drainage that allows water to evacuate rather than lay in pools and puddles.

How do you get people interested in roads, water and sewers?

I think we need to bring it more into the public light with information meetings. Set them down and let them know that “hey, these are the problems we’re dealing with,” and I’m sure a lot of people will come to agree that “yeah, I’ve got a big mud puddle in the front of my house, a big hole, it’s always been there, the city plows snow up onto my property when it really shouldn’t.” The most important thing to remember is, you can have beautiful appliances in your home; you can have granite countertops and great cabinets, but man I tell you, if you walk outside your house and you don’t have a nice sidewalk and don’t have a place to park your car, and everything’s muddy and dirty, where’s your value?

That’s what enhances property value. Not just the amenities inside the home, but everything around it. That’s very, very important.

What do you like about your job — or do you?

I love it. It’s very challenging in the sense that there’s a lot going on, and it exercises a lot of the talents I’ve been trained at. The best thing about working in Pinedale and the state of Wyoming, really, is that you have a lot of cooperation. There isn’t a lot of bureaucracy; you go through and try to solve the problems and you can get a lot done.

What convinced you to move here from New York?

Quality of life. The people. I went to school in Laramie, and a lot of the friends I knew in college are still here in the state. They’re just good people.

Who is your favorite town council member?

They’re all good people. They all remind me of back home where I grew up, a very small hamlet about five miles above the border of Pennsylvania. Everybody knew everybody, and everybody had their own personalities, but it was like one big family. I look at the (council members) all equally. They’re all great to work with and deal with; everybody’s got their own personalities. If they were all the same, it would be boring.

Photo credits:  Alecia Warren

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