Shoshoni is getting ready to grow – a lot.
The town annexed 113 acres of land this month, extending the city limits west to connect with the Wyoming Mushrooms farm.
“We just filled in that gap,” town clerk Chris Konija said. “That’s where development is going to be for housing.”
Shoshoni envisions a mix of housing types for the property, with lot sizes ranging from a third of an acre to 5 acres, he said, as well as some businesses.
One person already expressed interest in opening a restaurant and pub there, Shoshoni Mayor Joel Highsmith said.
“He’s ready to start construction as soon as we sell him the land,” Highsmith said. “And his daughter wants to buy a few acres near there and build a new home. She’s got two small children, and she wants them to go to school in Shoshoni.”
Shoshoni has arguably the “best school in the state,” Konija said, attracting students from throughout Fremont County – even those who live outside of the local district.
The town would “prefer” it if those out-of-district families actually moved to Shoshoni, Konija said, but the local lots that are currently available “do not allow for the construction of a proper modern housing unit.”
Now, Konija said, those modern houses can be built in the newly annexed property west of town, which offers a “beautiful view” of the Wind River Canyon.
The Wyoming Business Council approved a $1.58 million matching grant to extend sewer infrastructure to the area last month.
The project will also extend service to 160 acres of Wyoming Mushrooms land.
The company plans to build 20-40 housing units in the area to support its growing workforce, as well as a grocery store and café.
Konija called it a “catalyst development” that would “spur additional business activity” as well as local housing construction, which is in “high demand.”
“When a housing unit becomes available in Shoshoni that is livable, it generally is under contract within two weeks,” Konija said in his WBC grant application, adding, “Most of (our) current workforce resides outside of Shoshoni due to lack of availability.”
Wyoming Mushrooms donated $50,000 to support sewer expansion the project, which is scheduled for completion by June 2023.
The WBC also approved a $25,000 planning grant to investigate the feasibility of a full-service hotel in Shoshoni.
Konija said the town will use the feasibility study as a marketing tool to generate interest from the hospitality industry.