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Town of Shoshoni receives funds to address housing issues

Downtown Shoshoni theater in late Winter. (2021)
Taylar Stagner

The Wyoming Business Council awarded grants to the town of Shoshoni this month to help with two projects. A potential hotel for visitors, and an update to the sewer system in the town to further local housing projects.

Currently, many employees at the Wyoming Mushroom Farm and Shoshoni schools live in Riverton and commute to work. The sewer expansion will support local businesses to expand for more commercial and residential property.

Chris Konija, Shoshoni’s town clerk and treasurer, said that the funding from the state will help expand the town's options of where to grow.

“We need to do what we can to make the town attractable to people who want to come here and live here and invest here,” he said.

In recent years, Konija said the town has installed a plaza and bandshell to better the downtown area. He said that the town is moving toward creating a better place to live so that the workforce doesn't have to commute to work every day.

He said that the updates to the sewer system can open up 120 available lots of housing to be developed over the next couple of decades. Updating the town's sewer lines is slated to finish by the end of the year.

Shoshoni received grant funding to also look into options for a full-service hotel. Konija said that their town sees millions of visitors being a centrally located town in the middle of the state. But people don’t stay since many assume Shoshoni to be a ghost town.

“I do believe that we are, the town itself Shoshoni, is on a mission to redefine the perception of what [is] showing because a lot of it is based off [of] people's perception of looks and appearance,” Konija said.

The grants total to around $1.5 million.

Taylar Dawn Stagner is a central Wyoming rural and tribal reporter for Wyoming Public Radio. She has degrees in American Studies, a discipline that interrogates the history and culture of America. She was a Native American Journalist Association Fellow in 2019, and won an Edward R. Murrow Award for her Modern West podcast episode about drag queens in rural spaces in 2021. Stagner is Arapaho and Shoshone.

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