Kamas Food Bank Closes After its Rent Rose
The Kamas Food Bank has closed.
The 50 or so families who received food supplements there will now have to travel to the Coalville or Heber City food banks until a mobile food truck can be set up.
When Ryan Stark’s family purchased the building that housed the Kamas food bank at 30 South Main St., they offered the organization a month-to-month lease.
But Tom Hogan, COO of Community Action Services, the agency that operates several food banks in northern Utah, says the rent was quadrupled from $350 a month to $1400 a month and it wasn’t something they could swing given the deteriorating condition of the building.
“The building was, there was poor wiring and poor plumbing and no heat and no air conditioning and there were just a number of things that at $350 a month you put up with,” Hogan said.
Stark says his family bought the building housing the food bank — which he says is the oldest building in Kamas — as well as the old firehouse and a storage garage at the back of the property. He says the plan is to rehabilitate two of the three historic buildings. Stark has filed an application with the city of Kamas for a restaurant in the old fire station and possibly a drive-thru coffee shop where the food bank was.
He says since those plans are still a ways off, the food bank could have stayed.
“I reached out to them; they didn't have a lease agreement in place,” Stark said. “They asked me to put a lease together. Just month to month. And so I did that. They were there for a month and then on the next month. They said that they were planning to leave and they didn't give me any reason why. They definitely didn't have to leave because right now, I mean it would be great for me because I don't have anything there why we're working on with the city and stuff on the planning and the development aspect of it.
He said he had no idea why the Kamas Food Bank chose to leave.
“I don't know what they were previously paying that wasn't, like, disclosed to me at any point,” Stark said. “They didn't say if it was too high or too low, they didn't say anything ... they just signed it, sent it back to me. And then the next month they said that they were going to look for another location.”
Further, he said he never heard from the food bank that the rent was too high.
“The one thing I want to make crystal clear is that 100 percent we did not kick them out,” Stark said. “There was no communication about rents being too high or too low or the building — anything like that. If they had come back and said ‘hey, you know it's too high,’ I would be more than happy to have conversations because the last thing I want to do is impact the community.”
Hogan says he has just received funding to bring in a mobile food truck in order to reopen the food bank on a smaller scale.
“I'm in process of purchasing that,” he said. “So, we'll have a mobile food pantry coming online I'm hoping that towards the end of September or first of October. For now, we're redirecting them into the other two locations.”
He adds this is just a temporary fix until he can find a permanent location next year. In the meantime, he says with the mobile food bank, they’ll be able to travel to some more remote areas in Summit and Wasatch County.
Stark says the plan for the old buildings has the backing of the Kamas Action group, a community organization that is helping to lead projects for the revitalization of the Kamas Valley. An application for the redevelopment of the historic firehouse restaurant was before the Kamas planning commission at its June meeting.